Buy from Littlewoods today, because you can never pay too much

25 February 2010

Thanks to avid Bitterwallet reader mizzle for this bargain from Littlewoods. See how long it takes you to spot the issue with it:

Bitterwallet - Diesel at Littlewoods

Well, it's obviously a case of Littlewoods entering the wrong RRP, isn't it? Except the RRP appears to be correct - order the trainers through Very (also part of the Shop Direct group) and you'll pay the RRP. The catalogue number is one digit different between the two products, even though the trainers are identical - that suggests the trainers were deliberately given different numbers so they could be sold at a different price.

It's not just this pair of trainers - there are at least another two pairs where there's a discrepancy in pricing between Littlewoods and Very. Perhaps it's just Diesel products? Nope. Compare the prices of these jeans - there's the Littlewoods price and there's the Very price:

Bitterwallet - jeans at Littlewoods

Bitterwallet - jeans at Very

And it's not just clothing - Littlewoods will charge you £100 more for this sofa, compared to the price through Very. And if you want to buy a TV through Littlewoods or Very:

Bitterwallet - Sony Bravia TV on Littlewoods

Bitterwallet - Sony Bravia TV on Very

We'll ignore the fact that the same model costs £300 less than the Very price when bought at a Sony dealer.

Now the fact is that Littlewoods allow the buyer to pay in installments - however, you'll still pay the ramped-up prices if you choose to pay immediately. In the case of the Sony Bravia TV, it cost 20 percent more if you buy from Littlewoods, even if you pay in full when you order. Remember; Littlewoods and Very aren't competitors - they're the same company.

So are you paying more to account for Littlewoods offering credit to other customers? No. Customers taking long term credit have to pay interest on top of these over-inflated prices. In the case of the TV:

Bitterwallet - Littlewood charge extra and interest on top

So why do Shop Direct charge up to 20 per cent more (or higher, perhaps - we haven't checked everything) for exactly the same product, depending on which brand you buy from? Perhaps it's easier to get an account at Littlewoods with a lower credit score. Or perhaps they want to appear to offer 'interest-free' payments for up to a year, by rolling the interest into the price of the product. That would mean a credit agreement over long term would see a customer effectively paying interest on top of interest.

Whichever way you look at this, it's a poverty tax; Littlewoods is attractive to tens of thousands of consumers because there's flexibility in the payment options - how many realise that even if they don't take the credit option every time, they're still losing out?

TOPICS:   Credit Cards

18 comments

  • Michael H.
    Littlewoods/very/additions direct/choice/marshall ward all have varying prices - which ever one you get an account with depends on your credit score - poor credit get choice accounts, and their prices are much more than very...
  • Spark
    I order from Very whenever there is a decent deal going, usually involving a voucher code or two, but I wouldn't deal with them otherwise.
  • jesua
    Funny, when misprices go the other way, they still take your money! except they strangely never get sent!
  • Jeeves
    They've done this for years, it goes back to when Very was LXDirect. It's done so that they can offer interest free payments. Most idiots fall for it.
  • Ste
    Always gives a possible argument in the future if you are asked to repay any vouchers...? I've got an account with most of their trading names then when a £10 off £10 spend voucher comes along, I take full advantage - and a charity I work for gets a nice load of raffle prizes to boot
  • Lel
    Littlewoods embed the cost of all of those usual 'hidden extras' like interest and postage etc. Very is better on price but you have to pay extra to spread the cost and pay for delivery etc- seems fair to me.
  • F. F.
    @Ste Is the the bank of Ste a charity :)
  • dude
    Ohno! 'Catalogue' retailers charging more than RRP - really?!!! /irony off
  • goon
    if they cant afford it dont buy it simple as that its not a poverty tax its a business
  • Codify
    'Poverty Tax'? More like a Chav Tax. The more money these dole-scroungers have prised out of their grubby hands, the less they have to spend on cider and going down the bookies. Good on Littlewoods.
  • Brian
    Hi, My name is Brain and I'm a Chav
  • PewPewPewLasers
    This isn't news. Wake up Paul, this has been going on since the dawn of time. PLUS, if people buy from Shop Direct stores through YOUR HotUKDeals links, then you make MORE MONEY in commission if they use the MORE EXPENSIVE site, don't you....
  • dunfyboy
    Dude beat me to it.
  • KateyS
    At the end of the day, any shop, whether they are a division of shop direct or not, can sell at whatever price they want. They can sell a £45.00 pair of trainers for £1000.00 if they want to - if your stupid enough to fall for it that's your look out. As for the same products having different prices, it could be that one is last season and one is current season hence the similar (but not the same) product code. If items are repeated season to season they nearly always increase the price. If they were clever enough they'd re-price all the old ones up to the current price.
  • Larpy
    What you fail to mention though, is that you get 10% to 12% of the price back in rewards at Littlewoods.. which means for example, if you buy that TV you mentioned, then once it is paid for you will have 119.99 on your account to spend on whatever else you like. Of course, you are still paying over the odds, but it does mitigate it somewhat, and brings the Littlewoods and Very prices closer together. What I cannot forgive LW for though, is their consistently atrocious customer service, but that's another story. ..
  • Charles B.
    Some electrical goods on the littlewoods site are almost double the price of other sites like Ebay or Amazon...interest free or not. Only buy if you REALLY want something and are totally skint. As for customer service the represensitives I spoke to over the phone seemed poorly trained and were quite vague about answering my question and the email support was again a bit poor.
  • Matt
    Sadly, this is all based on credit score. Littlewoods is Shop Direct's baby, the original linchpin in the online catalogue store. However, think of it like this, Very & ISME are aimed at middle to upper class, whereas you'll never see an advert for LW Direct. It's very hush as if you've got a credit score of less than 300, you're looking at LW Direct and you'll be paying at least 10% for the privileged. Shop Direct isn't even the same practice anymore either. At least 40% of all stock isn't actually with them in the first instance, they just re-sell it on behalf on someone else. E.g.: knifes & candles -- they're coming from a warehouse somewhere else, completely unrelated to Shop Direct, a bit like Amazon Market Place, but of the back alley, rip-off type.
  • Karen P.
    They do pay rewards (10% back), but did you know, if you order something at the "sale" price, the rewards don't count, and most of the stuff on the website, has an inflated retail price, so that it looks like it's in the sale - even though the price is still more expensive than everywhere else. So you're paying over the odds for their "sale" price and not getting the rewards with it, very crafty!!

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