Opinion required re online purchase issue.

  Al94 21:41 31 Jul 2008

Grateful for some input on an issue with an online purchase. To cut a long story short, I spotted an item on a major player webside which I thought was exceptional value for money. I ordered the item on Sunday 27 July and received an acknowledgment email confirming receipt of the order to be passed to their processing team and saying that I would be refunded if they could not complete the order. Yesterday, Wed 30 July I got a phone call apolgising that there was a misprice on the website and they were cancelling the order and would send me a £10 voucher as compensation. I then discovered that my account had been debited with the full purchase price and delivery charges on Tuesday 29 July. I pointed out to the retailer that in my opinion a contract existed between us when they took payment - they are pointing to their T & C's which state that no contract exists until the goods are dispatched. I believe this to be an unfair clause and very likely unlawful in contract law.

Any views out there?

  MAT ALAN 21:53 31 Jul 2008

I thought that the same would apply if you went into a shop and saw an item wrongly marked up, as long as there is a sense of reasonableness...

click here

the thread is an example...

  DieSse 22:30 31 Jul 2008

If you want a proper legal view, rather than just an opinion, why not ask your local consumer advice centre, or citizens advice bureau - or even a lawyer.

However see this for a very similar case.

click here

If you making of an offer includes accepting the contract T & Cs, then what their T & Cs say will likely be the legal position.

Of course they are also bound to make a full and complete refund to you in a timely fashion, of all the money they took.

  spuds 22:49 31 Jul 2008

This is another of one of those 'grey area' agreements, which would require a court decision, as to what is right or wrong. Perhaps very similar to the Kodak camera saga, that happened a number of years ago!.

Their terms and conditions stated certain things, and it would seem that you accepted that. The only thing that might balance the scales in your favour, is the fact that they took payment for the item, and as such confirmed a legal contract of acceptance.

Get in touch with Consumer Direct click here or your local Consumer Advice Centre- Law Centre- Trading Standards.

  Forum Editor 00:01 01 Aug 2008

and I'll move it now.

  Forum Editor 00:11 01 Aug 2008

a retailer must sell at the advertised price, once you have confirmation that your offer to buy at that price has been accepted, but.....

If the retailer claims that the advertised price was so low that it would have been reasonable for you to know that there had been a mistake, it is very unlikely that any claim you make would be upheld by a court.

Courts proceed on the basis that commonsense must prevail, and will test cases like this with one simple question:

Would an average person seeing the price you paid say "that can't be right, the item is worth far more than that"? If the answer is 'yes' the retailer's defence will succeed, and in this case it sounds as if that's what would happen.

  laurie53 07:40 01 Aug 2008

The operative point here is that they took the money.

From that point on the contract existed and is enforceable.

The fact that they say the contract does not exist until the goods are despatched could work in your favour, since the normal convention is that the money is not taken until goods are despatched.

  Al94 08:19 01 Aug 2008

Interesting point FE. The website still advertises that many items are on sale at up to half price so an item originally priced at £169.99 (original price wasn't quoted on the product) and offered for sale at £59.98 isn't so ridiculously low that you would say it was totally out of the question.

  spuds 09:20 01 Aug 2008

I purchase many items that are heavily discounted, and in each case I never consider the fact that the supplier 'as made a mistake', especially if the item is still being advertised a day or two later, after they have provided a confirmation letter and taken my money.

In this case the supplier as offered a £10 gesture of goodwill voucher (which I assume as conditions of acceptance!).Also in this case, and as the law stands, the supplier as a time span (30 days) in which to provide a refund. Not very good if you are in an overdraft position perhaps!.

You haven't provided information as to the price advertised, and the price the supplier is now demanding.Did the £10 voucher cover the difference!.

Going back on my earlier posting, I was one of the many people who was caught up in the Kodak saga. Top Legal people from both sides of the pond, plus the UK Trading Standards and other consumer organisations all became involved, and it became very concerning as to the opinions and interpretations these highly professional people were providing, regarding consumer law and consumer rights. Even the UK Trading Standards were providing conflicting advice, depending on the regional office that people were seeking advice from.

I and a small group of other people, went through the process of informing Kodak and their agents, that we would be taking necessary legal action, so as to challenge Kodaks action in refusing to supply an item, after they had accepted payment, and confirmed that they had received payment, so making a legal contract to supply. Kodak, for whatever reason, decided to honour all the letters of confirmation. I ( and many others)received the camera, at the on-line advertised price.Apparently, this action by Kodak cost a small fortune, both in obtaining (conflicting!) legal advice, and eventually supplying the item.

By undertaking the action Kodak undertook, and not letting law take an hand in resolving the issue, it as still placed a burden of prove, and as such, the issues are still regarded as a 'grey area', that requires challenging and correction.

Perhaps its worth mentioning, that a number of PCA forum members including myself was informed of the 'Super Bargain' via a members link to the offer. There was also a fair discussion as events were taking place.

  Forum Editor 09:43 01 Aug 2008

for that's what it was, came about because of a human error, and in the end the company saw the sense of avoiding the additional adverse publicity that would have ensued, had a class-action been brought to court by the 2000 people affected. The company agreed to provide cameras at the advertised price of £100 instead of the £329 that should have been advertised.

The matter being discussed here appears to be somewhat different, although I have no knowledge of the value of the item involved. It may be that the £10 goodwill voucher represents a small proportion of the difference between the advertised price and the 'real' price. The similarities between then two matters notwhithstanding, I stand by my earlier opinion that unless you can persuade the retailer to change its mind you would find that any court action would fail if the price advertised was so low that you must have believed it to be the result of an error when you placed the order.

If, on the other hand, it would not have been reasonable for an average person to guiess that an error had occurred you might find that a court would uphold your claim. The thing is, you would have to go to court to find out, and if you lost you would be out of pocket to the tune of the small claims fee. The game might not be worth the candle, as they say.

  Al94 09:56 01 Aug 2008

As I said above, the item was advertised at £59.98 plus delivery whereas it apparently should have been £169.99. They told me on the phone it should have been £249.99 and offered 10% discount plus a £10 voucher which I declined. They later conceded I had been misinformed and it should have been £169.99. I think the issue is more around the point at which a contract exists, at the time they take payment or when the goods are dispatched. You make a valid point about whether or not it would be worth going to court, on balance the lsrge retsiler might just not defend though.

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