Retailer Error (description)

27
Found 22nd Mar
Hi. Just after a bit of advise

I made a small technical error on a website description - nothing major, just stated that it had two USB ports instead of one.

The customer contacted me once he received the order - and upon noticing the error - I offered to replace the item with the correct product (upgrade) or opt for a full refund.

The buyer is being very difficult - and appears wanting to take me to court as I "falsely advertised the item". I can assure, it was just an oversight.

What is the legal side of advertising? Are retailers allowed to make small errors
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Yes, of course you make an error, there is no obligation on your part.

If you don’t have a contract and someone realises they’ve told you the wrong price, they can cancel your order.

citizensadvice.org.uk/con…ce/
You offered a full refund or a free upgrade, what exactly is he going to sue you for.

he can of course try and take you to court but you will be able to demonstrate that you have acted reasonably in trying to resolve it and that the claim is nothing more than a nut job trying his luck
He might be able to sue for the difference in cost as the buyer thought he was purchasing the other item, which as you have stated it exists. If the buyer did not know it was a genuine error, I believe your contract between yourself(retailer) and the buyer has been formed at the point of dispatch, as this has already happened then the contract can not be revoked as it is in force. However, as you have sent an item which does not match the items description, the buyer has effectively received the incorrect item as it does not match the description. If an item with two ports did not exist the court may be more inclined to say to the buyer to accept a refund, which is completely reasonable. However as it does exist the buyer may be able to claim the difference in price for the two items.

If the buyer knew this was a genuine error for whatever reason, i.e. pictures/model of the item, and you can prove that the buyer should have been reasonably aware, or the reasonable person would have been aware then the claimants case would be thrown out.

I hope it helps

EDIT - My post is with the assumption, you have offered the buyer an upgrade for a cost.
Edited by: "godfather999" 22nd Mar
Seriously. Let him/her take you to court. It will them a minimum of £35 and they will need to appear in a court near to you if you wanted to take it to the nth degree. People who threaten to take court action rarely do. Ensure everything is in writing. Courts frown upon cases being created without any effort on both parties to resolve the matter. You have quite clearly demonstrated that you have tried to be reasonable.
^^ the image does actually show One USB port. Both models are the same price.
sounds like he is trying to push for a full or partial refund.

You haven't done anything wrong it's not even a court issue.
peter_griffen3 m ago

^^ the image does actually show One USB port. Both models are the same …^^ the image does actually show One USB port. Both models are the same price.


You made a mistake and are happy to rectify it to the best of your ability in a reasonable manner. A court would frown on a case being created over that. You have little to fear. Put your offer in writing. What are your normal t&c's on returns?
peter_griffen8 m ago

^^ the image does actually show One USB port. Both models are the same …^^ the image does actually show One USB port. Both models are the same price.


If thats the case, then he has nothing to sue you for, no court will favour the buyer as the buyer has effectively nothing to sue you for. He can't sue for pecuniary damages as thats the only thing he would be able to and as they are the same price(and you have offered to swap it), false advertising would not be something he could claim for as you've stated it was a genuine error, and its more of something that the ASA will look at. Even IF they could prove there was a mass amount of deception being caused by false advertising, it would be something you would be funded for by the ASA. A court would not consider payment of any losses to the buyer as you have done everything you could to sort the situation out for the buyer and put the buyer back into a position they would have been had this error not occurred, i.e. refund or the correct model. I wouldn't worry about this if I was you.
Edited by: "godfather999" 22nd Mar
Tio establish a contract there must be 'Consensus in Idem', i.e. a 'meeting of the minds'. If two parties enter into an agreement both parties must have the same understanding of the terms used in the agreement or contract, including description. Where one party is mistaken as to the nature of the contract and the other party is aware of the mistake, or the circumstances are such that he may be taken to be aware of it, the contract is void.

Suggest you offer him his money back, but thats all.
Edited by: "Gordonc1960" 22nd Mar
OllieSt27 m ago

You made a mistake and are happy to rectify it to the best of your ability …You made a mistake and are happy to rectify it to the best of your ability in a reasonable manner. A court would frown on a case being created over that. You have little to fear. Put your offer in writing. What are your normal t&c's on returns?



Normal returns policy - if not wanted, a full refund with original postage. Return postage not refunded

faulty or misdescribed items are full refund, return postage is covered by us. Usually a pre paid returns
peter_griffen12 m ago

Normal returns policy - if not wanted, a full refund with original …Normal returns policy - if not wanted, a full refund with original postage. Return postage not refundedfaulty or misdescribed items are full refund, return postage is covered by us. Usually a pre paid returns


Cool. I would suggest you state your offer in writing to resolve the issue and reiterate your returns policy (including cut off date). I make mention of this because it crosses t's and dots i's with the issue, otherwise you might find in 3 months time you're still dealing with a grey area or the person now asking for an exchange stating that's what you have offered. Just point the buyer to the citizens advice bureau if he/she feels they are being treated unfairly. I wouldn't want to waste any more time than that on this issue. Without stating the obvious don't send anything further to buyer until you have return goods.
Too late - he already went to trading standards. And apparently someone looked at my description - and said it's wrong and to put a claim in. I didn't know they were that fast...
You've offered a full refund, he has no grounds for a claim so let him go to hell. Make sure you keep copies of any email comms between you, put your offer to him in writing and keep a copy of it on the off chance he takes it further. Seriously I doubt you'll hear any more about it.
Probably going to cost him more to take you to court than the item may be worth. Stand your ground and take no notice of his bully boy tactics.
thankyou for all the comments guys

I offered all the options - apologised countless times, so see what happens.

Dont you just love people :-)
peter_griffen1 h, 5 m ago

Too late - he already went to trading standards. And apparently someone …Too late - he already went to trading standards. And apparently someone looked at my description - and said it's wrong and to put a claim in. I didn't know they were that fast...


Ok, then put in writing your offer and tell him to go down the Trading Standards route. I personally do not believe what you are being told.

From their website

Citizens Advice Consumer Service which can be contacted on 03454 04 05 06


When a consumer and trader come into dispute over goods or services bought from the trader, the law now requires that the trader supply the consumer with details of an alternative dispute resolution (ADR) body capable of dealing with the complaint.

The trader is not required to actually use the services of the ADR body but they are required to indicate, to the consumer if they will do so or not. Although not generally required to use ADR many traders recognise the benefits in customer relations in doing so. Others are required to use ADR through the terms of their membership of a Trade Association or by operating in sector regulated by government.

Although traders are required by law to provide this information, they are not obliged to engage in the ADR process except where they operate in a sector which is mandated by statute or by membership of a trade association to do so.

The option to use ADR usually begins when the consumer has exhausted the trader's internal complaints process and they have been unable to satisfactorily resolve the dispute between themselves..

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) is a quicker and cheaper alternative to court, where consumers and traders can resolve their disputes. It is a voluntary process and parties can still choose to take further court action if they do not reach a mutually acceptable solution through ADR. There are various types of ADR processes and depending on size, complexity and value of claim; parties can decide to use whichever of the available methods would most effectively resolve the dispute.

If you would like to use an ADR body to resolve your complaint you should first ask the trader for details of an approved ADR body and whether they are willing to use them to resolve your complaint. For more advice on accessing ADR, if your complaint is with a trader in the UK contact the Citizens Advice Consumer Service on 03454 04 05 06

If you are a consumerIf you are a UK consumer who has a dispute with a UK trader and have exhausted the complaints process of the trader then you may be able to use ADR to find a resolution. Please call the UK ADR Helpdesk on 03454 04 05 06 for further assistance.

If you your purchase was made online you may be able to submit your complaint through the Online Dispute Resolution (ODR) platform. The ODR platform was launched for the resolution of disputes arising from online transactions between consumers and traders across the EU. For further information on how to submit a complaint on the ODR platform, please visit the odrcontactpoint.uk.website. You can also contact the ODR contact point on 0345 608 9579 or by email odr@tsi.org.uk.

If you are a traderClear information on what you need to do to comply with the law on Alternative Dispute Resolution can be found on the Business Companion website or from the BEIS guidance for business
Edited by: "OllieSt" 22nd Mar
OP. Changing tact. Have you asked the buyer what he would like you to do to resolve the situation?
You have his address right, post some turds!!!! Sounds like he deserves them.......
#If you have in writing you have offered to provide the item that meets the description, or refund in full, you can demonstrate to the court that you have attempted to put the customer back in the position they would have been if were not for the error. A court would dismiss the case and refer to mediation in most cases, where by the claimant would be advised they are not entitled to "compensation" or betterment and should accept your offer. you would not have to pay their legal fee then either.
sadly its a case of "i am determine to get something from nothing".

Good link Ollie - I will have a nose at it.

Farmlama - it wont be the first time I have been tempted with this.

In all fairness, most customers are nice - easy transaction etc. But its always the odd one that really my back up.
peter_griffen1 h, 32 m ago

Too late - he already went to trading standards. And apparently someone …Too late - he already went to trading standards. And apparently someone looked at my description - and said it's wrong and to put a claim in. I didn't know they were that fast...


I find that very difficult to believe, I reckon he's just a blagger trying it on. I don't honestly believe that trading standards would actually tell anyone to put a claim in for something that is quite obvious (to any reasonable person) a genuine mistake.
if this was one of the major shopping companies,there would just apologies and offer refund, lol , anyone would think u refused a refund,lol some ppl
Also a trading standards story for you....

in october 2016 my mum and stepdad employed a builder to make an extension on their house, they stupidly paid him almost all money upfront (I could kick them for that). The job was meant to take 3 months, it’s still not finished. A few months ago they (me on their behalf) reported it to trading standards. A lady came to ask about everything and then said, sorry but although this is terrible for you, there isn’t anything we will do other than contact the builder and ask him to hurry up (he turns up for half a day every few weeks so hasn’t officially run off) as it isn’t a big enough case for us to take on and we only pursue the big serious stuff.

A mistake about an extra port on an advert for a small business (I assume you aren’t head of pc world or anything) isn’t going to be worth them getting out of bed for really
well - I offered the three solutions: Refund, Replacement or a part refund if he wants to keep as a gesture.

Anything else - sue me.
farmlama12 m ago

Also a trading standards story for you....in october 2016 my mum and …Also a trading standards story for you....in october 2016 my mum and stepdad employed a builder to make an extension on their house, they stupidly paid him almost all money upfront (I could kick them for that). The job was meant to take 3 months, it’s still not finished. A few months ago they (me on their behalf) reported it to trading standards. A lady came to ask about everything and then said, sorry but although this is terrible for you, there isn’t anything we will do other than contact the builder and ask him to hurry up (he turns up for half a day every few weeks so hasn’t officially run off) as it isn’t a big enough case for us to take on and we only pursue the big serious stuff.A mistake about an extra port on an advert for a small business (I assume you aren’t head of pc world or anything) isn’t going to be worth them getting out of bed for really


sorry to hear about it

It appears "that is life today" - the real crooks get away with things. The innocent person suffers.
What a chancer! He just wants you to refund the item and let him keep it. As others have said, put your offer of rectifications in one concise email, with a reasonable deadline. Never in a million years is he going to take you to court (and never has he gone to Trading Standards). Stop apologising to him, as although it was reasonable to, its giving him a glimmer that you will cave. You've got evidence of being sorry, now correspondence can turn formal.

Your buyer is making me angry...
I've had dealings with Trading Standards for a product where our Marketing Department had wrongly described it's benefits - we described a product "Solvent Free" when in fact it was "Low Solvent."

Trading Standards met with us and were very fair. We told them that we were in the process of recalling stock to relabel and they were immediately satisfied with that. They were more interested in the future and what we would do to prevent similar future errors than 'punish' us for the error we had made.

They are well used to dealing with "chancers" and will recognise what your customer is trying to do. Stick to your guns - I would make sure he/she gets nothing for nothing!
Edited by: "Van1973" 22nd Mar
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