Monday, April 4, 2011

"I want that", "Sorry, it is not for sale"


Pic by Ordinary Malaysian

There is that great pair of shoes tagged at RMXXX.OO  at the display corner of the shop and you must have them. "I want that," you say. "Sorry, they are not for sale," the shop-keeper replies. "What?" you say in disbelief.

Well, is the shop-keeper bound to sell you the shoes? Is there anything you can do?

I am afraid there isn't much you can do, except maybe curse under your breath.

Whether there is or is not a binding contract or agreement, depends on what lawyers call offer and acceptance or what Malaysian lawyers call proposal and acceptance.

Generally, goods on display even with a price tag, are not considered goods for sale. They are what lawyers call ITT or invitation to treat. That is to say, an invitation for an offer. So, when a shopper picks up an item and brings it to the counter for payment, he is in fact considered to be making an offer to buy it and NOT making an acceptance to an offer.  When the shop-keeper or owner accepts your offer for example he takes your your money, then he is considered to have accepted your offer and there is then a contract or agreement.

See the celebrated English case Pharmaceutical Society of Great Britain v Boots Cash Chemist Ltd[1953] 1 QB 401

There are good reasons for the rule. Can you think of some?




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