Payment for goods not in stock

  Mo82 20:50 19 Apr 2006

I ordered a PDA on 16th April after selecting a retailer on pricerunner. The pricerunner website stated that the goods were in stock.
The following day i received an email advising that the goods were not in stock but next delivery is expected within 14 days and option to cancel order. I am happy to wait this time but have noticed that full payment has been deducted from my credit card immediately. Is this normal practice or should payment not be taken until the retailer has my PDA to send me.
Incidently pricerunner website still states that this item is in stock for this retailer

  ayrmail 21:06 19 Apr 2006

I would doubt if the pricerunner website would be updated that often.
So on that basis you would be better checking the retailers web site. Many retailers online or store take our money before sending our goods.

  puma22 21:08 19 Apr 2006

I was just about to post for adivce on a similar issue. I ordered a phone on the internet last Saturday. It stated on the site that it would be 5 working days before delivery. OK, but the money was taken out of my account immediately. I often order on the net and usually find that money is not taken until dispatch, so would also appreciate advice given on this.

  Stuartli 22:43 19 Apr 2006

The seller should not take the money until the goods are about to be or have been despatched.

If they are not in stock then, again, the money should not be taken from your card or bank account.

The problem with such websites as PriceRunner is not the means/convenience of finding out low cost outlets or where products are in stock, but the fact that they cannot cover every potential supplier.

Using several such websites gives a better idea overall.

  spuds 22:56 19 Apr 2006

There are no laws regarding taking payment before dispatch, that is the option you and the seller need to agree upon. I hope that you have paid by credit card, and not by other means!.

Most price comparison sites tend to have some abnormalities, so it always pays to check the actual sellers site for confirmation of stock levels, prices, terms and conditions.

  aveylee 09:34 20 Apr 2006

Spuds is right there are no statutory limits on when payment is made.
The time of payment will either be specified in the contract. (For example I recently purchased an item from PCSpecialist and their T&C’s state that payment is taken at time of order not dispatch, this is a standard practice), or it is inferred by standard rules of contract which will allow payment to be taken at anytime following the formation of the contract, i.e. when you order has been accepted by Pricerunner).
You should note that if they have taken payment and then cannot provide the goods as they are out of stock then you can sue for breach of contract.
As far as stating that an item is in stock while it is not, this could be construed as false advertising, although the OFT or Trading Standards won't be particularly bothered.
Why companies do this is clear. If they said that the item is out of stock you would have gone elsewhere to buy, but once they got your money you face some inconvenience in cancelling the contract and will likely wait AND the company claim interest on your money whilst it sits in their comapnies account.

  spuds 09:49 20 Apr 2006

Further to aveylee's posting. Some companies may use this practice of payment before dispatch, as a means of keeping the companies cash-flow solvent, hence my remark about credit card payment.

Personally, I try to steer clear of companies that make a regular practice of taking instant payments, unless I am 98% sure of receiving the item, or easy access of return of funds.Once bitten twice shy!.

  Stuartli 10:19 20 Apr 2006

If a company takes money for a product which it knows it does not have in stock then it amounts, as far as I am concerned, to theft.


click here

  aveylee 12:14 20 Apr 2006

Definition of theft is ‘dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it’.
In this case it would not be theft as there was no act of appropriation by the Company, after all you willingly gave the money to them.
However you can argue that a company that deliberately takes money knowing that they cannot fulfill the contract could be said to be ‘Obtaining a pecuniary advantage by deception’ (s.16 Theft Act (1968)).
However you would need to prove that the company knew that it could not provide the goods when specified with the intention of , which is practically impossible.

Bottom line is this is a standard practice (sharp practice admittedly), as Spuds says always pay be credit card (or linked finance loan) where goods are worth £100 - £30,000. After all Natwest, Lloyds etc are unlikely to go bankrupt and leave you without your money, the same can’t be said for small internet shops.
Or only shop at stores that only charge when goods are dispatched (Amazon is one I believe).

  Mo82 21:28 20 Apr 2006

Thanks everyone
I did pay by credit card so i am covered by that.
The retailers website has no indication of stock availability. Therefore the first indication of this is after they have accepted the order and taken the money, they send an email. In hindsite i should have rang their telephone enquiry line first to check - but surely that defeats the object of on line buying.
Their terms and conditions state that - "We process Your order straight away in order to ensure prompt delivery" however there is no mention that payment will be taken immediately and how can prompt delivery be made on an out of stock item.
I am confident that i will receive the goods as the retailer has reasonably good reviews and is a member of both trust uk and safebuy.

  spuds 23:18 20 Apr 2006

No administration process is 100%, and in some cases it is a third party who may take payment for a seller, especially if the goods are dispatched from centralised distribution warehouses.

This thread is now locked and can not be replied to.

Elsewhere on IDG sites

Samsung Galaxy S9 review: Hands-on

The art of 'British' pulp fiction

Best password managers for Mac

TV & streaming : comment regarder le Tournoi des Six Nations 2018 ?