HARRIS v NICKERSON
Items can be withdrawn before the auction takes place.
Harris v Nickerson (1873) LR 8 QB 286
Nickerson (the defendant) posted a newspaper advert for an auction. The plaintiff took the time to travel, at their expense, to where the auction was being held in order to put in a bid on some office furniture. The listing of the office furniture was unexpectedly withdrawn. The Plaintiff sued for loss of time and expense. The plaintiff argued that the advertisement amounted to a contract between themselves and the defendant.
The court in Harris v Nickerson held the advertisement of a sale did not mean that there was a contract to mandate that any specific items, such as the office furniture, would actually be put up for sale.
The important principle that can be applied from this case is that something which advertises that items will be put up for auction does not create nor extend an offer to anybody that the items will really be put up for sale. As a result, the advertiser is actually able to withdraw the items from the auction at any time before the auction is set to begin.
The travel expenses are unlikely to be recovered by VC, since they are not a result of a breach of contract. In Harris v Nickerson (1873) LR 8 QB 286 the defendant posted a newspaper advert for an auction. The plaintiff took the effort to go to the auction site at their own cost in order to place a bid on certain office equipment. The listing was taken down suddenly. The plaintiff claimed damages for lost time and money. The plaintiff claimed that the advertising constituted a binding contract between them and the defendant. The court decided that just because an advertisement was posted, this did not imply there was a contract requiring any advertised item to be placed up for sale. The main message from this case is that adverts that announce that objects will be placed up for auction does not make or extend an offer to anybody that the items would really be put up for sale. As a consequence, the advertiser has the ability to remove the products for sale at any point prior to the offer being accepted. Any claim for damages and any effort to sue ELtd would be futile since there was no breach of contract because there was no offer, just an ITT, incapable of acceptance.