Consumer Law Essay

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Consumer Law Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co. [1893] Facts: The Defendants manufactured and sold the “Carbolic Smoke Ball” and advertised in the newspaper that they would pay _100 to anyone who uses the medicine as directed and nevertheless contracts a cold, influenza, or other cold disease. The advertisement also claimed that _1000 was being deposited into the bank to demonstrate their sincerity. The plaintiff used the ball as directed but contracted influenza. She sued to recover the money promised in the advertisement. Issue: Does an advertisement to the general public promising to pay money to anyone who does something create a binding contract between the parties? Arguments: The Defendant argued that: • Contract was too vague to be enforced; o No way to check the conditions were met; o You cannot contract with everybody (ie the whole world); o Timeframe not specified; • Acceptance had not been communicated to the offeror; • There was no consideration: nudum pactum; Ruling The Carbolic Company claimed that there was no enforceable contract between it and the user of the smoke ball on the grounds that there was no acceptance of its offer, because Mrs Carlill had never notified the Company that she accepted its offer, nor furnished any consideration, since the Company did not receive any benefit from a purchaser's use of the product once the sale had been completed. The court rejected both arguments, ruling that the advertisement was an offer of a unilateral contract between the Carbolic Smoke Ball Company and anyone who satisfies the conditions set out in the advertisement. Once Mrs Carlill had satisfied the conditions she was entitled to enforcement of the contract; the notification of performance of the conditions formed part of the acceptance. Furthermore, weight was placed on the £1000 bank deposit that claimed to

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