1 Q.B. 256 (1892).

Defendant was the manufacturer of the Carbolic Smoke Ball which Defendant claimed was capable of preventing influenza.  In its advertisements for the product, Defendant offered to reward £100 to anyone who contracted influenza after using the Smoke Ball.

Plaintiff purchased and used one smoke ball according to instructions, but caught influenza.  Plaintiff sought payment of £100 from Defendant but the latter refused.  Plaintiff sued to enforce the alleged contract.

The court ruled in favor of Plaintiff.  It held that a remote purchaser of a ball who contracted influenza could enforce the promised reward since the manufacturer made her and other consumers an offer of a unilateral contract, the acceptance of the offer and the consideration for the promise consisting of the remote purchaser’s using the Smoke Ball.

The court further reasoned that  the fact that Plaintiff had not notified Defendant of her acceptance of the offer was not fatal to her claim.  It decided that Defendant (the offeror) impliedly intimated in its offer that it will be sufficient to act on the proposal without communicating acceptance.

Related entries