Joey asked in 政治及管治法律及道德 · 1 decade ago

Laws of Contract

Don lost his wallet on Monday. He placed the following advertisement in a newspaper to be published on Wednesday.

"Lost red wallet with my name card inside. Reward HK$10,000. Don."

On Tuesdat, Eva picked up a wallet in the street and by reading the name card realized it belonged to Don. She returned the wallet to Don. Don thanked her but did not give her any reward.

On Wednesday, Eva saw the advertisement in the newspaper.


(a) Is the advertisement placed in the newspaper an offer or an invitation to treat?

Discuss with the help of cases. (13 marks)

(b) Can Eva claim the reward? (8 marks)

(c) Would you answer to part (b) be different if Eva picked up Don's wallet on Wednesday after reading the newspaper but Don told her that the true amount in the advertisement should be HK$1,000? (4 marks)

(Total 25 marks)

2 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    a) Generally, advertisements are invitations to treat, so the person advertising is not compelled to sell to every customer. In Partridge v Crittenden[1968] 1 WLR 1204, it was held that where the appellant advertised tosell wild birds, was not offering to sell them. In certain circumstances however, anadvertisement can be an offer, a well known example being the case of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Company[1893] 1 QB 256, where it was held that the defendants, who advertisedthat they would pay anyone who used their product in the prescribedmanner and caught the flu 100 and said that they had deposited 1,000in the bank to show their good faith, has made an offer to the wholeworld and were contractually obliged to pay 100 to whoever accepted itby performing the requested acts.

    The current facts are more closely aligned to the Carbolic Smoke Ball case, since Don probably act in good faith in promising the reward. The advertisement also requires a single party to act to form a contract (anyone returning the wallet). Hence, I believe that it is an invitation to treat.

    b) In R v Clarke, it was held that a person who, in ignorance of theoffer, performs the act requested by the offeror has not accepted the offer and is not entitled tosue. Hence Eva cannot claim the award.

    c) Yes, I would alter my answer. Since Eva has read the newspaper before picking up the wallet, she has accepted the unilateral offer and when she returned the wallet Don is bound to pay her $10,000.

    Whether Don can pay $1000 only depends on whether his claim can constitute a mistake. If it does, the contract is void. If either one of the parties are aware of the mistake before entering into the contract, it cannot be used an excuse to set aside the contract. Eva should probably realise that $10,000 is excessive for the reward of a wallet. Hence, it probably is a mistake and Don can pay $1000 only.

    2009-01-06 16:08:07 補充:

    sorry, in a, I mean that the advertisement is an unilateral offer, not an invitation to treat

  • 1 decade ago

    a)This would be a unilateral offer as it only requires a single party to act to form a contract (anyone returning the wallet). Which means anyone returning the wallet after seeing the advertisement and willing to get the reward is entitled to claim the HK$10,000, and Don is obligated to pay the HK$10,000 as the person has fulfilled the offer that Don has raised.

    b)Eva cannot claim the reward because at the time she returned the wallet to Don she did not have the intention to claim the reward in the first place, and she was obligated to return the wallet to the owner when she knew who the wallet belonged to, or returned to the police station.

    c)As the answer to a), the advertisement was a unilateral offer, and it requires any person to perform the action by putting effort in finding the wallet for Don, so anyone having fulfilled the offer is obligated to the reward, so if Eva returned the wallet after seeing the advertisement and is willing to claim the reward, Don would have to pay her. (but on the amount matter, I am afraid I don't know the answer.. I think it can be argued, because the action carried out by Eva was not worth $10,000, but Eva could say that she only did that because of the HK$10,000.)

    So it looks like you are facing an assignment? You should read some more books... the questions are not that hard.

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