Superior Court of Pennsylvania - 627 A.2d 806, 426 Pa. Super. 537, 627 A.2d 806
In Schreiber v. Olan Mills (1993), a man sued a company for breach of contract, stating that the company agreed to pay him $100 per hour for "listening services" during telemarketing calls. The man, uninterested in the company's offers and annoyed by their calls, sent a letter stating that future calls would be treated as a contract for listening services. The company continued to call and the man billed them $300 for three hours of listening.
The trial court dismissed the case, as there was no mutual intent to form a contract between the parties. The appellate court agreed and clarified that the company's calls were invitations to negotiate, not offers. The man's letter was considered a rejection and counter-offer, not an acceptance.
The case highlighted the distinctions between offers, acceptances, invitations to treat, and counter-offers in contract law. An offer creates the possibility of a contract upon acceptance, while an invitation to treat invites further negotiations. Silence or inaction can be deemed acceptance or rejection, depending on the circumstances and prior interactions.
The case demonstrated the difference between an offer and an invitation to treat, with offers creating legal obligations when accepted and invitations to treat being preliminary communications for further discussions.
The court dismissed the complaint of the plaintiff, S. Allen Schreiber, against the defendant, Olan Mills, a corporation that operates a nationwide chain of family portrait studios. The plaintiff had sent a letter to the defendant's representative after receiving a telemarketing call, requesting to be removed from their telemarketing list and warning that any further calls would be considered a contract for their listening services. The plaintiff billed the defendant for services, but the court found that there was no mutual intention to contract, and the defendant's preliminary objections were granted.
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