Rubbish retailers rise again

8 October 2010
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Finding a wide-screen plasma state-of-the-art telly for a mere £79.99 must be the stuff of dreams. Or maybe not, if the price is actually £799.99 and said retailer has simply misplaced the decimal point.

Last night, a colleague ordered a Samsung 40 inch LCD TV from entertainment retailer Play.com at the advertised price of £79.99. Everything seemed above board: he placed the order and got a confirmation email. While it was a stupidly cheap price, he hoped the website would honour that price.

Then, this morning, he received another email stating:

“We are writing to inform you that your recent order for the Samsung series 5800 UE40C5800 40" LCD TV was incorrectly listed. Unfortunately we will not be able to supply you with this item at the incorrectly advertised price and your order has been cancelled.”

Yet there was no return email address or number given in the email for customers to call. The TV was only on offer for about 45 minutes, during which time only a couple of orders could have been made.

There’s a huge autumn sale going on at Play.com at the moment – so there was no reason not to think that the cheap price wasn’t a sale price.

And when he eventually found a number on the website and phoned it, Play.com simply responded that it wasn’t obliged to sell a product at an advertised price. I wasn’t sure that Play.com was right, but having done a quick Google search, it turns out it is. Apparently, no retailer is legally obliged to sell a product, and no consumer is legally obliged to buy it.

I can’t help but think this wouldn’t have happened on the high street. If something is wrongly priced in a shop (and this happens a lot) usually the shop has enough foresight to offer the customer the product at that price. While it might not legally have to, it’s the epitome of customer service and ensures good relationships.

And so he’s back to the drawing board with no TV and little patience for his lack of rights.

Has this ever happened to you? Let me know below.