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What is the law regarding incorrectly priced items?


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Old 07-11-2008, 17:45
Farscape888
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I need a new jacket and I was thinking back to July when i bought a great new one from Zara, id seen it and loved it before but at the time couldnt warrant sending 80 quid. Along come the sales and i find one listed as 30 quid, I think yup having that. take it to the desk "Oh this is priced wrong theyre actually 50. Decided against buying it for 50 but put it behind desk till later. Came back later and asked for it, paid 50 and took it home only to find theyd given me the wrong one (o buttons and wrong size) anyone long story short i sent it back and got a refund.

My question is, what is the actual law regarding this? should I and could I have said "No hold on you priced it at 30 so im having it for 30" or what?

Cheers
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Old 07-11-2008, 17:49
ardwark
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They are not obliged to sell you anything I don't think.

Having said that, I got a great jacket from Zara for 20. Obviously it was incorrectly priced. The rest on the rack were 70. I knew that, the assistant didn't and the till didn't pick it up
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Old 07-11-2008, 17:55
PIDGAS
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They are not obliged to sell you anything I don't think.
You are right. The customer can't insist on it being sold at the price that's displayed. The shop can just say it is not for sale. I believe the term for it is 'invitation to treat'.
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Old 07-11-2008, 17:57
Steve Pearce
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There is no contract until they have accepted payment, so they can simply refuse to sell it to you. However some retailers will honour the incorrect price if they realise its wrong, but they are probably in the minority.
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Old 07-11-2008, 17:57
holymozes
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In the shop's favour i'm afraid, if they claim it was an error, they can chose not to sell the item at that (or any) price.

Only if a shop/store has a history of doing this, TS will intervene.

Same goes for public advertising, wrong price quoted on TV/Media adverts etc.
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Old 07-11-2008, 17:58
jodpent
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It's an invitation to treat, so not binding on either party.
Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invitation_to_treat
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Old 07-11-2008, 18:45
spikydog
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I bought a DVD with my shopping at Tesco. As I was leaving the store, I checked the receipt to find the DVD had been charged at a higher price.

I took the DVD with the receipt to their customer service desk, and after they'd checked it out, I was given a full refund for the DVD AND the DVD for free!

There had clearly been an error on their part as the DVD had been sealed in a security box. I was delighted.

If I had spotted it as it was being scanned at the till, I reckon it would just have been corrected.
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Old 07-11-2008, 19:37
dreamypuma
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A store also has no obligation to give a refund if the consumer changes there mind.
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Old 07-11-2008, 19:48
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If the OP had bought the jacket it would have been different.

If it was priced at 30 but the customer was charged 50 (without the retailer saying so first) then that would be a breach of contract.

The retailer might just offer to give a full refund to set things right, usually they will give the difference back and let the customer keep the item for the wrong price.

But that doesn't apply here of course!


The "moral" of the story is: If something seems too cheap to be true then don't ask if the price is right, wait to be overcharged and then kick up a stink
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Old 07-11-2008, 23:10
Gracehater
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Most decent retailers will accept their error and sell it at the price stated on the ticket or signage, but this is only a goodwill gesture aimed at maintaining a high level of customer service and as previous posters said, not a legal requirement.

I worked for a large music retailer for 10 years and I lost count of the times I had to use the "it's not longer for sale, sorry" line because customers had changed the bloody tickets thinking I wouldn't realise. It was easier to do this than accuse them of any wrong-doing (althoug I KNEW they'd done it) - not saying OP has done this though obviously
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Old 07-11-2008, 23:13
j-la
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Yeah if you see something with a price tag it is an 'invitation to treat' in other words they are saying here is the good, would you like it at this price, but we do not promise to give it to you for this price. It is only when you go to the till and offer the money do you then offer the contract. The till person can then choose whether to accept the contract or not.
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Old 07-11-2008, 23:33
BooBoo_kw
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I'm not too sure on what the law is behind paying what was displayed if the price was displayed in error..

But my mate bought a BMW Z3 a couple of years ago as they saw it for 10K... After a lot of umming and arring.. They decided to buy it.. When they asked to buyit the person realised that whoever put the sign up had put it for their purchase price rather than what they wanted to sell ti for which was 12K..

My mate and his wife argue and said that they saw the sign for 10K and wanted it for 10K.. and so the owner of the garage decided to see it to them for the 10K which is what he bought the car at and had to lose out on profit..
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Old 07-11-2008, 23:33
Acornati
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I work in a shop, and if an item is priced wrong then I usually just change it to the price on the ticket. Not to stupid prices though, 0.01 for example! Its usually only things that have recently gone up a few pounds that we haven't got round to re-labeling yet. It saves the arguements , and I've never been told otherwise . TBH I wasn't sure about the legality of it all.
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Old 07-11-2008, 23:38
Veni Vidi
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You go up to the sales assistant and you say
"Give me all that you have if you don't I will steal it
All the things that you've lost I will reel them in
I'm falling apart every minute of every hour but you're there to put me back together again"

And if they don't give you the coat for 30 then there's something very wrong.
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Old 07-11-2008, 23:52
Cornucopia
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The law in this area is quite complicated, and a lot of shops' policies vary.

Bottom line is: [LIST][*]If the error is spotted and corrected before money changes hands, there's not much you can do. Always complain to the manager, though, they often have discretion to honour misleading prices/descriptions.[*]If the error is spotted after money has changed hands, then you should be able to insist on a refund of the difference. At the very least, you'll be offered a full refund, if you give the purchase back, as long as the store has been negligent in their labeling.[*]Some stores (Tesco's is the main one) have defined policies on incorrect charging. Tesco's has changed recently to be less generous (now they give you 110% of the difference, or something).[*]If you think a trader is being deliberately misleading or unduly negligent, complain to Trading Standards.[/LIST]
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Old 08-11-2008, 00:13
radiosgalore
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It's an invitation to treat, so not binding on either party.
Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invitation_to_treat
as a consumer that sounds scandelous. the price on the shelf is the price you pay imho. In fact I would class changing the price false advertising. Mistakes can and do happen but the customer should not have to be the victim
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:30
cnbcwatcher
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It's an invitation to treat, so not binding on either party.
Here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Invitation_to_treat
You're right, an invitation to treat is basically similar to an offer but it's not a legally binding contract unless both parties agree to it. I think the Sale of Goods Act 1980 or the Consumer Information Act 1978 also mentions something about misleading prices/incorrectly priced items. I'm doing contract law at uni at the moment so I'll check it up in there and come back with more info.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:36
ForestChav
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as a consumer that sounds scandelous. the price on the shelf is the price you pay imho. In fact I would class changing the price false advertising. Mistakes can and do happen but the customer should not have to be the victim
But no contract of sale is made until money changes hands. By putting a tag on the retailer is inviting you to make an offer on the goods at that price. It is down to them whether you accept that - and if you are not willing to pay the extra then you are not obliged to buy it at the price if it is different.

Basic contract law.
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:42
radiosgalore
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But no contract of sale is made until money changes hands. By putting a tag on the retailer is inviting you to make an offer on the goods at that price. It is down to them whether you accept that - and if you are not willing to pay the extra then you are not obliged to buy it at the price if it is different.

Basic contract law.
pardon my ignorance as i'm no legal expert but the price displayed isnt up for an offer of payment like ebay or something. It's a statement of how much you must pay to buy the goods. At least thats what my consumer mind say
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Old 08-11-2008, 01:51
ForestChav
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pardon my ignorance as i'm no legal expert but the price displayed isnt up for an offer of payment like ebay or something. It's a statement of how much you must pay to buy the goods. At least thats what my consumer mind say
No, it is an invitation for you to make an offer on the goods. It is down to the seller to accept this or not, and no, they don't have to, and they don't need to give a reason why not either.
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:42
Dr.Phlox
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as a consumer that sounds scandelous. the price on the shelf is the price you pay imho. In fact I would class changing the price false advertising. Mistakes can and do happen but the customer should not have to be the victim
Doesn't quite work like that I'm afraid. In this country (and others in the EU I believe) the law is that the price on the shelf is what you pay (including all taxes) *unless* the retailer has made a genuine error. If they spot the error before accepting payment you can refuse to buy the item. If you've paid however then you get home and realize you've been overcharged then they have to refund the difference as they've broken the sales contract. As other posters have stated, some refund the full price and let you keep the goods but don't actually have to.

In the most states of the US, the price on the shelf is the retail price for the item WITHOUT taxes etc added on. These are then added at the register/till and you then pay the combined total. I say most because some (I know Delaware is one) have no sales tax. However in NY for example something priced at $10 is actually nearer $11 once the 7% sales tax is added on. If the retailer makes a mistake on the price in your favor and notices it before they ring it up on the till, like the UK they can refuse to sell, however I don't think they're obliged to give refunds if you've accidentally been overcharged by a certain amount, although a lot of larger stores do for customer goodwill. Smaller stores have a "buyer beware" attitude as they're often run on a low profit margin and can't afford to give out refunds willy-nilly. There's also more people to use stores there, so they're not so worried about one or 2 customers not coming back.

DP
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Old 08-11-2008, 08:59
KaptainKitten
 
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You would think that after all these years the law would be on the side of the customer, but it really isn't.

Perhaps in theory it is but in reality the retailer can get away with anything because there are no consequences for criminal behavoir.

They can pass a deliberate deception off as "mistake" and they are protected.


The law needs to change so that "computer error" is no longer a defence in law for over-charging.

It's mostly supermarkets that do this since it's so easy to get away with it.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:51
boozer3
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I work in a large, really busy, under staffed retailer where price changes happen daily. Some customers are animals and the place is a mess which means things are never where they should be making the price change on every single item nigh on impossible. 9 times out of 10 I'll amend it so they pay what's stickered, even though we are not supposed to.
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Old 08-11-2008, 09:57
Cornucopia
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You would think that after all these years the law would be on the side of the customer, but it really isn't.

Perhaps in theory it is but in reality the retailer can get away with anything because there are no consequences for criminal behavoir.

They can pass a deliberate deception off as "mistake" and they are protected.


The law needs to change so that "computer error" is no longer a defence in law for over-charging.

It's mostly supermarkets that do this since it's so easy to get away with it.
It's more complicated than that. You're right that the law is not on the side of the individual consumer. But it is on the side of consumers collectively. Large retailers are fined large sums of money (up to 10,000) for infractions of retail law - misleading descriptions, incorrect price labeling, weights & measures offences.

Ultimately, though, consumers need to be wary, and understand that the way that supermarkets operate means that it is less likely that errors will be spotted. On the other hand, once money has changed hands, the law is on the consumer's side.
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Old 08-11-2008, 10:13
jodpent
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Put it another way - if the price on the ticket was the legally binding price there would be no room to negotiate on price. Probably not going to happen if you buy a tin of baked beans, but if you're buying a car in a showroom, you'd never be able to make a lower offer to the salesman - they'd have to sell it at that price or not at all. Works both ways.
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