If there are no special circumstances, a newspaper ad that contains an inaccurate purchase price through no fault of the advertiser, and which does not contain any other terms, is not an offer which can be accepted so as to form a contract. Such an advertisement amounts only to an invitation to make an offer.
Defendant advertised a car for sale in the newspaper, but the newspaper mistakenly listed the price lower than requested by the defendant. Plaintiff attempted to purchase the car at the advertised price. When the defendant refused to take the advertised price, the plaintiff instituted the instant action. The plaintiff moved for summary judgment, and the trial court denied the motion. However, the Court did grant the defendant's motion for summary judgment. In ruling on the parties' motions, the Court held that the advertisement was not an offer but merely an invitation to make an offer. Plaintiff appeals from this ruling.
Did defendant's newspaper ad constitute an offer to enter into a contract at the advertised price, which was a misprint?
No, the defendant's newspaper ad did not constitute an offer to enter into a contract.
The appellate court affirmed the trial court's denial of the plaintiff's summary judgment motion and grant of the seller's summary judgment motion, holding that the advertisement was not an offer but merely an invitation to make an offer. The court held that there was neither a meeting of the minds nor the required mutual assent by the two parties to a precise proposition; there was no reference to several material matters relating to the purchase of an automobile, such as equipment to be furnished or warranties to be offered by defendant; and the terms under the advertisement were so incomplete and so indefinite that they could not be regarded as a valid offer.