Deliberate Mis-pricing...? - HotUKDeals
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#1
roddamm
Hi there everyone,

This is my first post so go easy on me! :p

I was wondering if there was any laws against deliberate mis-pricing of goods to gain publicity and/or user subscriptions. I'm starting to see more and more high profile companies with massively discounted items which end up being a "mis-price". These companies generally have well written terms and conditions meaning that they don't have to supply at this price. More often than not, these items happen to be out of stock (hmmmm).

My question is: do hotukdeals do anything to prevent people posting their own mis-priced goods, or, do any kind of follow-up into massively mis-priced goods? I'd rather hotukdeals wasn't littered with bogus deals.

I for one (stupidly) got caught up in the whole Littlewoods Laptops fiasco and realised that even though I phoned afterwards to get my details removed from their system (not straighforward!) I am still registered as a customer with them (somehow!) and even received a credit agreement from them to sign last week! Have I been conned into signing up?......

With thanks

Martin
There's been no evidence of people posting their own misprices, also most of them tend to be from massive companies who could never be caught doing such things.

As for deliberate mispricing the vast majority imo are just mistakes but they are perfectly legal. Every offer for every product you see online is just that, an offer, an invitation of an offer, only when the merchant takes money, sends the goods and they are received has a whole transaction contract taken place under UK law afaik.

Until all those conditions are met, it is still an offer under progress, where orders can be cancelled and monies refunded. I know this from personal experience after 2 dozen orders cancelled from Dixons and at least a dozen more cancelled from various other companies

I also ordered the Littlewoods laptop, the transaction on my credit card no longer exists as money was charged to it, then replaced and the transaction cancelled so it never appeared on my online banking or my statement, but does exist on the far more extended information the issuer has. The money was refunded, nothing more I can do.
1 Like #2
Its really a grey area roddamm... :roll:

Welcome to HUKD :)
1 Like #3
HUKD doesn't want to get involved too much in following up, but if we were to start up a wiki then there would be mis-price advice on there.

As for self-promotion, moderators are actively seeking self promotion. The mods removed 40 self-promoting posts today. We try our best not to let the site get abused by retailers, and most offers you find on here will be 100% genuine.
#4
Perhaps saying that they're posting their own mis-prices is a bit far fetched - these companies are large enough to simply let someone else spot it.

I just wanted to see whether people felt that these were happening a little too regularly and could potentially be a deliberate mis-price on the sellers part.
#5
Well, if you think some larger retailers may have thousands of items inputted to the site each year, and if only a couple of misprices slip through by a dodgy typo then that's not a bad misprice-to-normal ratio lol.

I have a lot more trouble in shops with offers which have been left out even when they are over...
#6
I think most are genuine mis-price items, but some are to attract customers. Such as the recent amazon one, which stayed at that price for days even though the product suddenly became so popular - dont you think that someone would of picked up on it earlier???
#7
i think most are genuine mis-price items
#8
I think these are deliberately mispriced items, like the hmv Star trek dvd boxset yesterday, why would anyone working for HMV go in and edit the dvd boxset price from its normal £449 to £16, for no reason, no sale, and no change to the product description etc, as it has been on sale since 2005 without change.

Seem like they are deliberately trying to catch people into their websites. If a product for example was on sale and was being re-priced for that then one could expect a typo, but when products are changed for no reason at all it looks dodgy, as there would be no reason to touch that product within their databases.
#9
Haha! Just had my Alfred Hitchcock DVD boxset cancelled by Woolworths. For some strange reason the supplier couldn't provide the item at a 90% discount... ;-) Now woolworths have all my details... ah well, I'll just click the 'Delete Account' button and remove my details... no, wait, there is no button... great!
#10
Ha just had my hmv dvd order cancelled, and the reasons they gave included i cancelled the order or the order had been inactive for 4 months. Neither of which are true. Something very fishy going on with these companies.
#11
roddamm
This is my first post so go easy on me! :p


Good first post btw, interesting topic that always seems to come up on the deal threads when this happens, nice to have somewhere for people to battle it out
#12
Thanks!

I don't want people to think I'm some bitter and twisted conspiracy nut who went mad over missing out on an obvious mis-price. I just usually think "oh it's worth a shot". But recently I've seen so many of these deals and they all have a predictable end - you get your order cancelled and end up with your details registered on their site.

The fact is: whether it's happening or not, this is a very good way of (a) getting lots of people to register on your website, and (b) getting people to look at other products and gain publicity.

Take Littlewoods for instance - in my opinion, most of their products were and are overpriced. The laptops I mentioned earlier could have been bought elsewhere online for £100+ cheaper. In fact, until that day I didn't even know they had an online store!! Job done.

Anyway, hope someone is finding this post interesting.

Thanks to hotukdeals!!! I've had loads of bargains through the site and always check here first for discount codes and deals before I buy anything now. Wish I'd had the idea first!
#13
Some could be using it to gain more customers etc.
But snail-junk-mail doesn't bother me and if anyone has any sense they will not be using their personal e-mail address to register on commercial/spam-likely sites [url]www.gmail.com[/url] is free now, so there is no excuse.
#14
Perhaps a better question would be, what do members think is an acceptable course of action for online retailers to take when dealing with a misprice?

Being somewhat a veteran at the hands of misprices I've come to accept not getting the items, even though I don't always appreciate the reasons i'm presented with.

I will be incredibly annoyed however if an insider does eventually speak out against one of the online giants, and spills the beans on 'misprices' being considered an effective form of marketing and site testing. I'd feel very much like an angry guinea pig :)
#15
I'm not to sure that this works very well as a marketing strategy. Most people only buy the misprice item which is normally being sold at below cost price, Also when the cancellation notice comes through it puts people off revisiting the site.

Possibly successful as a way of increasing mailing list, but I'm sure most people opt-out of those anyway (at least for sites they won't visit very often).
1 Like #16
Aggy
I'm not to sure that this works very well as a marketing strategy. Most people only buy the misprice item which is normally being sold at below cost price, Also when the cancellation notice comes through it puts people off revisiting the site.

Possibly successful as a way of increasing mailing list, but I'm sure most people opt-out of those anyway (at least for sites they won't visit very often).


With amazon some people will buy something else to qualify for free delivery

plus the hope is that you will notice other stuff while you are there

Doesnt really put me off using that site in the future, I will go wherever the price is cheapest
#17
kelly_o_fanatic
With amazon some people will buy something else to qualify for free delivery
plus the hope is that you will notice other stuff while you are there
Doesnt really put me off using that site in the future, I will go wherever the price is cheapest


To be honest I think 'Kelly O..' has pretty much said all with this post.
Amazon know you'll buy extra to get free P&P & as for all these 'mis-prices, for all the shouting about "I'll never use this/that site again", come the next HotDeal we'll be right back there!!!

I can't believe that a lot of these are genuine purely due to the INCREDIBLEY slow reaction time of these multi-million £ businesses. Amazon particularly, continue taking orders as DVD's soar from obscurity to no.1 in their chart & nobody at Amazon notices...this can go on for days (Stargate..Futurama) & still no-one notices???

Not all, but a lot of these are scams....supply a few units to a selected few, knock back the rest knowing that legislation on E-transactions is VERY wobbly & increase the traffic & knock on sales through the roof.
The unlucky ones will moan & whine on forums, but the ones that got lucky will make more people think "Maybe next time I'll be quick enough"...almost no-one ever GENUINELY refuses to return to a site over something like this & the the E-tailers know this.

My vote for the worst mis-price scamming have to be....
1. Amazon
2. HMV
3. Woolworths
(Maybe a top 5 will be the next vote?!?!)
#18
CHARLIETHIRTYTWO
To be honest I think 'Kelly O..' has pretty much said all with this post.
Amazon know you'll buy extra to get free P&P & as for all these 'mis-prices, for all the shouting about "I'll never use this/that site again", come the next HotDeal we'll be right back there!!!


Thanks :)
#19
Charlie try adding all of the DSG to that :P

"As for deliberate mispricing the vast majority imo are just mistakes but they are perfectly legal. Every offer for every product you see online is just that, an offer, an invitation of an offer, only when the merchant takes money, sends the goods and they are received has a whole transaction contract taken place under UK law afaik."

A contract takes place once there has been

An offer
Acceptance of this offer including ALL of the terms.
Consideration
Intention to create legal relations..

For the most part of e commerce online shops are invitation to treat as per fisher v bell (the flick knife case).
Placing your order is an offer - acceptance takes place once they communicate it has been accepted - NOT the generic 'we have recieved your order' thing. However if you have an email stating your order has been processed or shipment has been made clearly it is accepted.
Consideration must be adequete but need not be sufficient ie both sides must give something of value but it doesnt need to equal (privity of contract).
Intention to create legal relations is simply that seen objectively a contract is formed - would a reasonable person believe that the actions created a contract?
If you think, as a reasonable person, that an email saying your order has been accepted is creating legal relations, and you fulfill the aforementioned conditions, then voila you have a contract.
#20
I think most misprices are genuine human error.

However, the odd one or two here and there may be to pull the punters in with a few 'priveleged' buyers being able to buy at that price before the price mysteriously goes up again.

Before visiting this site I didnt realise that Amazons prices fluctuated so much - up and down:w00t:

Never had problems with HMV but, Woolworths appear to be employing muppets when pricing their online goods:giggle:
#21
In addition I forgot to mention that where companies are involved in 'dynamic' pricing there are potentially errors waiting to happen if someone programs the 'dynamic' pricing system incorrectly.:?
#22
dkellas
Ha just had my hmv dvd order cancelled, and the reasons they gave included i cancelled the order or the order had been inactive for 4 months. Neither of which are true. Something very fishy going on with these companies.


i understood the buying and selling contract works like this...

seller sets a price to sell at and shows this price for the good

buyer agrees to pay this price

seller agrees to accept this price and that is the basis of a legally binding contract... then seller takes money and buyer takes goods

in the case of the internet it would be similar

seller sets a price to sell at and shows this on the website

buyer agrees to pay that price

seller agrees to accept payment (by sending an email saying your item will be dispatched on a certain date). Making both sides in agreement and forming a legally binding contract. Then seller dispatches goods and takes money

maybe i'm confused :)
#23
@ duneindex, yes, that is the basis of contract law, but we haven't had any major case law to set precedents in offer and acceptance in the area of internet purchases yet, as far as I am aware.
#24
It's all a conspiracy,(trust me I'm a doctor) to get new customershttp://e.deviantart.com/emoticons/p/plotting.gif
#25
fox2020
trust me I'm a doctor)http://e.deviantart.com/emoticons/p/plotting.gif


I'm glad i don't go to your clinic :giggle:
#26
emasu
I'm glad i don't go to your clinic :giggle:

clinic? now what clinic wouid that behttp://i66.photobucket.com/albums/h276/DianneOnly/wink3.gif
#27
I think it's naive to think that any retailer big or small would not use mis-pricing for whatever means.

High St. retailers, in fact ALL retailers, have been using every tactic possible for as many years as I can remember to get people into their stores. Loss leaders, sales that don't exist, products which don't exist or if they do in extremely small quantities etc etc. You name it they have done it !

Online retailing is still in it's infancy and I wouldn't expect anything less from any company to gain a customer database. It's just the cyber equivalent of getting potential customers through the front door.

I don't think it's a conspiracy theory at all, just harsh reality. :)
#28
emmajk42
but we haven't had any major case law to set precedents in offer and acceptance in the area of internet purchases yet,
[COLOR=royalblue]Maybe sometime soooon, it is slow, but it could be that straw that breaks the camels back, I can't see a company send a £400/hr professional to defend a £100 product, game on. The law is an ass, rules are set to be broken. It's the thick people who catch the smart ones out :giggle: sometimes better to be dumb than shouting :whistling: [/COLOR]
#29
Crazy1
[COLOR=royalblue]Maybe sometime soooon, it is slow, but it could be that straw that breaks the camels back, I can't see a company send a £400/hr professional to defend a £100 product, game on. The law is an ass, rules are set to be broken. It's the thick people who catch the smart ones out :giggle: sometimes better to be dumb than shouting :whistling: [/COLOR]


i doubt any major retail would contest the case in a small claims court. Mainly because if it was deemed that but sending an email giving a delivery date they actually sealed the contract. Then that would set a precident and all retailers would have to complete the contract or lose in court.
Then the only way round it for them would be not to send the comfirmation email until everything has been rechecked (common sense really)

Either the hmv or the woolworths deal mentions been security checked.. I'm glad they ain't guarding my money :giggle:
#30
I know someone (and the only person in the UK so far) who took on Volvo Cars and actually had his money refunded, even though Volvo say they are not to blame. Only problem is nobody else has done the same thing but a precedence has been set there. Volvo sent a letter to the court and the court did not like their response, so the claimant won. It only needs one to set the precedent.
#31
seancampbell
Charlie try adding all of the DSG to that :P

"As for deliberate mispricing the vast majority imo are just mistakes but they are perfectly legal. Every offer for every product you see online is just that, an offer, an invitation of an offer, only when the merchant takes money, sends the goods and they are received has a whole transaction contract taken place under UK law afaik."

A contract takes place once there has been

An offer
Acceptance of this offer including ALL of the terms.
Consideration
Intention to create legal relations..

For the most part of e commerce online shops are invitation to treat as per fisher v bell (the flick knife case).
Placing your order is an offer - acceptance takes place once they communicate it has been accepted - NOT the generic 'we have recieved your order' thing. However if you have an email stating your order has been processed or shipment has been made clearly it is accepted.
Consideration must be adequete but need not be sufficient ie both sides must give something of value but it doesnt need to equal (privity of contract).
Intention to create legal relations is simply that seen objectively a contract is formed - would a reasonable person believe that the actions created a contract?
If you think, as a reasonable person, that an email saying your order has been accepted is creating legal relations, and you fulfill the aforementioned conditions, then voila you have a contract.

Thanks for clearing up the legality of my dribble :whistling:

Unfortunately, I have ordered several items, been told my order has been accepted, had monies charged with 1 of the following happening:

1) I get zero notification for ages, then get told weeks later, under 28days from monies taken, the order is cancelled and they have refunded me

2) I get notification pretty quickly my order has been cancelled with monies be refunded being refunded always before the 28day limit.

Going by what you said that means they have all breached their contract with me by not fulfilling the order, however from what I understand they only need deliver goods within 28days of taking monies (refunding if needed delivery surcharge if goods are late) giving any retailer 4 weeks to halt any order early just in case and 4 weeks to cancel any order taking their sweet time...
#32
First of all it is a question of whether the acceptance was communicated in a manner that makes it objectively clear you have had your offer accepted?
Ie does it say "terms and conditions apply" "binding in honour only"
"contract subject to dispatch" or anything along those lines?
If not prima facie you have a case.
Delivery need not be 4 weeks - if they give you a date failure to deliver on that date is a breach. Otherwise its down to their delivery schedule - if they say "Delivery in 2-5 working days" it's up to them to abide by that however they almost always state that these are estimates so rad the small print carefully.

The 28 days is often a corporate policy such as with virgin - they aren't saying they have accepted your offer - they are saying they will if stock is met. The cancellation is due to what is termed 'failure of a pre-condition' ie a requisite that the item is there to sell.
#33
Clever lawyers exploiting consumer ignorance and vagaries of law it seems.

I suppose it doesn't matter for small items, but anything large enough and it's worth reading the small print of the hidden Terms and Condition on orders I imagine.

Hopefully EU or UK law might eventually come in to make delivery promises far more clearer and concise, credit card terms were forced to become more clear, can't be hard to enforce the same for anything mail/internet ordered which is fast growing in it's percentage of sales...
#34
CC needs to be clear - you don't get mispriced rates.. but you do get unfair terms.

Not really unfair to reject an offer that is far too low for your item.. if you were privately selling and missed a 0 off a poster you put up selling your car you'd turn em down - simple itt at work.

Can't see the law changing too much - we have pretty good rights in the UK, and there are always holes in the terms and conditions of websites.. eg HMV's "obvious misprice" .. What's obvious? I don't think selling an item for £4.99 when its available elsewhere for just over £10 is obvious.. do you?
#35
The surprising thing about most of these companies is that products are being edited and reduced that required no changes. A product that is not being altered for sale purposes, and is not a new product but has existed in many cases for years within their databases, suddenly gets offered at a reduced rate. They then claim it is a pricing error and a typo and cancel the order, how can it be a typo if you never needed to touch that item at all. Even the stock levels remain unaltered.

Clearly this could be a ploy on the companies part to catch customers, as a typo on a new product or sale item one would understand, but someone has deliberately had to change a product that required no change and then make a huge mistake on it. Decidedly dodgy I feel.
#36
dkellas
The surprising thing about most of these companies is that products are being edited and reduced that required no changes. A product that is not being altered for sale purposes, and is not a new product but has existed in many cases for years within their databases, suddenly gets offered at a reduced rate. They then claim it is a pricing error and a typo and cancel the order, how can it be a typo if you never needed to touch that item at all. Even the stock levels remain unaltered.

Clearly this could be a ploy on the companies part to catch customers, as a typo on a new product or sale item one would understand, but someone has deliberately had to change a product that required no change and then make a huge mistake on it. Decidedly dodgy I feel.


The argument they'll put forward is that all prices are updated from one wholesale - cost list so that it's all automated. Might not work but often gets them out of honouring a mispriced item.
#37
seancampbell
CC needs to be clear - you don't get mispriced rates.. but you do get unfair terms.

Not really unfair to reject an offer that is far too low for your item.. if you were privately selling and missed a 0 off a poster you put up selling your car you'd turn em down - simple itt at work.

Can't see the law changing too much - we have pretty good rights in the UK, and there are always holes in the terms and conditions of websites.. eg HMV's "obvious misprice" .. What's obvious? I don't think selling an item for £4.99 when its available elsewhere for just over £10 is obvious.. do you?


The "obvious misprice" that most people refer to is an item which gets reduced by anything more than 75%. A good example was the recent Alfred Hitchcock box-set that was something like 90% reduced to £7.99 at Woolworths.

I do think it would be unfair to make an honest mistake and then be punished for it by having to sell goods for much less than you can actually afford. The big question is 'Are SOME companies creating these "mistakes" deliberately to get hold of your personal details and for publicity?'. If so, how can this be dealt with? I'm quite annoyed that it's very easy for these companies to accept your details, but very difficult for you to then get your details removed.
#38
roddamm
The "obvious misprice" that most people refer to is an item which gets reduced by anything more than 75%. A good example was the recent Alfred Hitchcock box-set that was something like 90% reduced to £7.99 at Woolworths.

I do think it would be unfair to make an honest mistake and then be punished for it by having to sell goods for much less than you can actually afford. The big question is 'Are SOME companies creating these "mistakes" deliberately to get hold of your personal details and for publicity?'. If so, how can this be dealt with? I'm quite annoyed that it's very easy for these companies to accept your details, but very difficult for you to then get your details removed.


Agreed, it seems very easy to get customer details for "deals" that then never materialise, and then that seems to be it, an immense amount of trouble to get your details removed if you are then subsequently unhappy with being listed with a company that doesnt fulfill orders. I personally hate receiving excessive amounts of spam, even with a spam filter not everything gets caught and so removing ones details from an online store would be handy. Hence i agree it appears in most cases to be very difficult to do this after they have "caught you".
#39
roddamm
The "obvious misprice" that most people refer to is an item which gets reduced by anything more than 75%. A good example was the recent Alfred Hitchcock box-set that was something like 90% reduced to £7.99 at Woolworths.

I do think it would be unfair to make an honest mistake and then be punished for it by having to sell goods for much less than you can actually afford. The big question is 'Are SOME companies creating these "mistakes" deliberately to get hold of your personal details and for publicity?'. If so, how can this be dealt with? I'm quite annoyed that it's very easy for these companies to accept your details, but very difficult for you to then get your details removed.


75%? There is no set figure - I could start with an insanel overpriced item.. most dvds sell nowhere near RRP. 30% off other websites imho is nowhere near an obvious misprice.. Obvious would be slipping the decimal point for example.
It's also fair to consider that some items are loss leaders just designed to get traffic.. be it foot traffic instore or webtraffic. It's not easy for the average consumer to see the differance.
I honestly think that in using automated systems to save costs you accept that misprices do happen and that customers will go elsewhere if you do it repeatedly.
#40
Dear xxxxxxx,

Thank you for your Email.

I can confirm that SUM OF ALL FEARS/PATRIOT GAMES/HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER/CLEAR & PRESENT DAY was cancelled from your order due to a pricing error on the HMV.co.uk website. You may have already been aware of the following as stated within our terms & conditions:

HMV are entitled to withdraw from any contract in the case of obvious errors or inaccuracies regarding the goods appearing on our web site. If an error or inaccuracy is discovered with regards to the advertised price of the goods that you have ordered, we will contact you as soon as possible by email.

Regarding the breach of privacy, I can assure you that this was a genuine accident on behalf of HMV and no harm was intended by this action. Head Office will be issuing a statement today concerning this matter. If you are in any way unhappy with the information you have been provided with you are free to write a formal complaint to our Complaints Department at the following address:

Internet Customer Service
HMV UK Ltd 2nd Floor
Princess House
50-60 Eastcastle Street
London
W1W 8EA

Please accept our most sincere apologies for the disappointment and inconvenience caused by all of this and if you require further information please don't hesitate to contact us.

Kind Regards

Sarah Guest
Customer Service


This is the response I have received.... what a load of old balloney! I have said I am not accepting this and will be writing to head office and takling legal action if they do not honour the deal. they are in breach of the data protection act and as such should honour the deal concerned.

will let you all know....

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