Case Facts of Esso Petroleum Co Ltd V Commissioners of Customs and Excise

This case looks in to a dispute between Esso Petroleum Ltd V Commissioners of Customs and Excise. Esso is a large petrochemical company that has hundreds of petrol forecourts across the UK. During the 1970 Football World Cup they ran a promotion for customers that bought petrol. Each time a person bought four gallons of Esso petrol they would receive a coin to commemorate 1970 Football Wold Cup. Each coin was designed with the picture of a member of the England Football team on one of  the sides and the other carried branding for Esso. Esso ran adverts to create awareness of the promotion. The Customs and Excise Commissioners decided that the coins given out in the sales promotion were liable tax, purchase tax to be precise. They claimed that the Wold Cup coins were produced in numbers for general sale under the 1963 Purchase Tax Act. Esso did not agree, the claimed that the coins were free gifts for loyal customers meaning that there was no sale with the intention to create legal agreement and produce a legal effect.

Case Issues

The main issue of the case between Esso Petroleum Co Ltd v Commissioners of Customs and Excise and question in the case was that was it did Esso’s intention manufacture the coins for general sale. If this was the case then they were sold with a legal obligation by Esso and thus meaning that they entered in to a contractual agreement with the customer.

Case Outcome – Held

The court held that it was Esso’s expectation to make a legitimate commitment in the supply of the World Cup coins. With a specific end goal to get the coins an exchange occurred between the oil organization and a client in a business setting. They likewise held that for a deal contract, there must be an exchange of products for cash. The Court held that, in spite of Esso’s aim to make a legitimate assention, there was no thought for the exchange of the 1970 World Cup Coins as they were given to the client under the different contract to offer of the petroleum. In like manner, the Court held that there was no agreement of offer by Esso, there was an agreement to make the dedicatory coins as “merchandise for general deal.”