Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co [] 1 QB advertisement offer not invitation to treat. Sample case summary of Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co [] 2 QB Prepared by Claire Macken. Facts: • Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (def) promises in ad to. Carlill The Carbolic Smoke Ball Co produced the ‘Carbolic Smoke Ball’ designed to prevent users contracting influenza or similar illnesses.

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Under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations [13] secondary legislationpassed carlikl the European Communities Actregulation 5 states that a commercial practice is misleading It is only to be supported by reading it as an additional reason for thinking that they had not come into the relation of contracting parties; but, if so, the language was superfluous.

We were asked by the council for the defendants to say that this vss was a contract too vague to be enforced. The company refused to pay.

Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co

In unilateral contracts there is no requirement that the offeree communicates an intention to accept, since acceptance is through full performance.

Did the plaintiff perform some action in exchange for the promise? It was then said there was no person named in the advertisement with whom any contract was made. It appears to me, therefore, that the defendants must perform their promise, and, if they have been so unwary as to expose themselves to a great many actions, so much the worse for them.

The defendants would have value in people using the balls even if they had not been purchased by them directly. Then as to the alleged want of consideration. He described the culpable advert, and then said.

I think, therefore, that it is consideration enough that the plaintiff took the trouble of using the smoke ball.

Whichever is the true construction, there is sufficient limit of time so as not to make the contract too vague on that account. I apprehend that they are an exception to that rule, or, if not an exception, they are open to the observation that the notification of the acceptance need not precede the gs. The wording was too vague to constitute an offer since there was no stated time limit as to catching the flu. Therefore, the advertisers get out of the use an advantage which is enough to constitute a consideration.


His Lordship rejected this argument, stating:. For instance, Professor Hugh Collins writes the following. The company’s advertisement for the product read, in part:.

If his first reason was not enough, and the plaintiff and the defendant there had come together as contracting parties and the only question was consideration, it seems to me Lord Campbell’s reasoning would not have carkill sound. Roe formed a new company with limited liability, and started up advertising again.

If this is an offer to be bound, then it is a contract the moment the person fulfils the condition. Is it to go on for ever, or for what limit of time?

It provides an excellent study of the basic principles of contract and how they relate to every day life. I do not think that business people or reasonable people would understand the words as meaning that if you took a smoke ball and used it three times daily for two weeks you were to be carbooic against influenza for the rest of your life, and I think it would be pushing the language of the advertisement too far to construe it as meaning that.

But if it does not mean that, what does it mean? It comes to this: In relation to the argument that ‘it would be an insensate thing’ to promise such sums to persons unless it was possible to check their manner of using it, his Lordship stated:. The company’s advertised in part that: Carlill was seeking compensation. After it was patented, the Carbolic Smoke Ball had in fact become rather popular in many esteemed circles including the Bishop of London who found it “has helped me greatly”.


She claimed the reward. By the company had fallen on harder times, and it had to be wound up in First, it is said no action will lie upon this contract because it is a policy.

Then Lord Campbell went on to give a second reason. It is just that if she inhales no more, gives up the walk carbloic York or does sue for her maintenance, she is not entitled to claim the promised sum. The Court of Appeal held that Mrs Carlill was entitled to the reward as the advert constituted an offer of a unilateral contract which she had accepted by performing the conditions stated in the offer. Let us see whether there is no advantage to the defendants.

Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co.

On the issue of the absence of a time limitation, it was noted that there were several possible constructions; it may be that ‘a fortnight’s ball will make a person safe for a reasonable time. It could not be supposed that after you have left off using it you are still to be protected for ever, as if there was to be a stamp set upon your forehead that you were never to catch influenza because you had once used the carbolic smoke ball.

His Lordship considered there were two possible time frames within which the claim could be brought, smkoe preferred the construction that the reward would be open while the smoke ball was still being used: It was intended unquestionably to have some effect, and I think the effect which it was intended to have, was to make people use the smoke ball, because the suggestions and allegations which it contains are directed immediately to the use of the smoke ball as distinct from the purchase of it.