Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball co, Facts, Decision, Issue and Key Points

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This case is concerned with the advertisements in the offer and acceptance chapter of contract law

Facts of carlill v carbolic smoke ball co

The Defendant was the manufacturer of the the carbolic smoke ball. They made an advertisement in the newspaper in which they offered to pay 100 pounds to anyone who caught influenza afer using their product in a specified manner

And to have the trust of their audience they deposited 1000 pouns in the bank as good faith.

The claimant used their ball in the specified manner and caught influenza after that. She sued the defendants for 100 pounds.


Was the advertisement an invitation to treat or an offer?


It was held that the advertisement was not an invitation to treat but a unilateral offer as they were asking their audience to start the performance when they insisted them to use the carbolic ball.

As in unilateral offer the acceptance is made when the performance is started. So as the claimant used the defendants ball which shows that she had performed what was said in the offer and hence the defendant was liable to pay 100 pounds.

Key point to remember about carlill v carbolic smoke ball co

  • – Acceptance is made in unilateral offers when the performance is started
  • – Once the performance is started the offeror cannot turn back

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