Q&As

Where a seller incorrectly prices goods on a business-to-consumer website can it refuse to make a sale at that price on the basis that it was obviously incorrect?

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Published on LexisPSL on 23/03/2018

The following Commercial Q&A provides comprehensive and up to date legal information covering:

  • Where a seller incorrectly prices goods on a business-to-consumer website can it refuse to make a sale at that price on the basis that it was obviously incorrect?
  • Offer, acceptance and invitation to treats
  • Cancellation clause
  • Unfair terms
  • Unfair commercial practices
  • Mistake

Offer, acceptance and invitation to treats

Whether the seller can refuse to make a sale at an incorrect price may depend on whether a contract has been formed. Sellers should ensure that any goods and services amount to invitations to treat (for more information, see Practice Note: Forming enforceable contracts—offer).

If the display of goods on a website is an invitation to treat, a consumer placing an order will constitute an offer and the seller’s acceptance will take place at a later date; although the time at which acceptance takes place can be complicated and the seller may have accepted the consumer’s offer before the seller realises that the price is incorrect. See LNB News 21/03/2003 41 for an example of such difficulties.

Often the online terms and conditions for the supply of goods (business-to-consumer) will stipulate that the contract is formed when a confirmation email is sent to the consumer. See clause 3.2.3 of Precedent: Online terms and conditions for the supply of goods—business-to-consumer for an example. Having a clause to this effect is desirable since the Consumer Contracts

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