2.6.6. Examples of invitations to purchase

The following are examples of how the information might be provided in differing types of invitation to purchase:

Pencil (a simple product)

A shop has a number of pencils for sale and displays the price. This is an invitation to purchase because the information given in the context of a shop enables the consumer to make a purchase (by taking the pencil to the till and paying for it). The pencils themselves 'indicate' their characteristics (that they are pencils), and the pencils together with the price ticket or label form the commercial communication. In this instance, the material information required is provided on the pricing label or is already apparent from the context. The main characteristics of the product - such as the colour or thickness of the lead - are apparent from looking at it. The trader trades under his own name and is based in the shop (the address), the price is given, and there are no arrangements for payment, delivery, performance or complaint handling that differ from those that consumers would reasonably expect. There are no omissions of cancellation rights or information requirements under other Community law provisions.

Price list in a bar

A licensed premise offers various drinks for sale to consumers. The price list (which is the commercial communication) placed near the bar provides consumers with the information they need to enable them to purchase drinks, in that it tells consumers what drinks are available and their price. In this instance, the main characteristics are the names (and possibly the name of the brand) of the drinks available. The trader's identity and the name of the establishment are given on the price list, and the address is apparent from the context as the consumers are there. There are no delivery or other arrangements which are contrary to the requirements of professional diligence that need noting.

Mail order advertisement

An advertisement in a magazine features T-shirts for sale. The prices and sizes of the T-shirts available are given in the advertisement, and the bottom half of the advertisement is an order form which can be filled in, with payment enclosed, and sent direct to the retailers. This would be an invitation to purchase. Here, the main characteristics of the product are included in the advertisement (i.e. such as the size, material and colour). The trader's identity is stated in the advertisement, as is his geographical address. So, too, are payment and delivery arrangements. The advertisement also mentions the consumer's entitlement to cancel any order and the period for which the advertised price would be valid, given the fact that this is a contract concluded by mail order and the Distance Selling provisions apply.


[65] Taken from Guidance on the UK Regulation (May 2008) implementing the Unfair Commercial Practices Directive, 2008 Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading, Office of Fair Trading, 2008 (http://www.oft.gov.uk/advice_and_resources/small_businesses/competing/protection) page 37.

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