Can a retailer make you pay for a misprice once you have the goods?

Bitterwallet - interesting dilemma cropped up in the HotUKDeals forums yesterday. HUKD member deeppockets tells the tale of placing an order on that was later revealed to be a misprice.

It happens all the time, as we're all aware. But in this instance, the website processed the order, charged for it and then dispatched it.

And then asked for the rest of their money:

Thank you for placing your recent order with We have identified a discrepancy in the order process that has inflated the value of discount that you have received on the Price Matcher. I’m sure you will have recognised that you received a far higher discount amount than you had anticipated.

The price match that you had requested would have presented:-

Order Value - £139.80

The incorrect price you received was £25.20

Difference to be collected - £114.60

Should you wish to retain the products in this order, I will reduce the amount payable by 10% as a gesture of goodwill. To this effect, a further payment of £103.14 is required and I would be grateful if you could contact me to make payment at your earliest convenience.

Alternatively, we will arrange to collect the products back from you at a convenient time and location. Please accept our apologies for any inconvenience and I look forward to hearing from you in due course.

There are two points at which contracts are usually formed between the seller and buyer; either at the time of purchase or the time of dispatch. Online companies usually insist goods are paid for upfront and that the contract is entered into only at the time of dispatch - making it easy to spot a pricing error and stop the goods being sent.

So what happens when the company accepts your order, processes the payment and dispatches the goods? Nothing, as far as we can see.

The fact that the customer has the goods in their hands means a contract has been formed and agreed by both sides - we're not sure have a legal leg to stand on, which is probably why they're not forcefully demanding the money back. The only company we've heard of successfully beating more money from a customer than initially agreed is Littlewoods, on the basis that their discount codes were circulated online and used 'fraudulently' (y'know, the same codes they could easily be assigned to specific customer accounts to prevent the 'fraud' but, um, never are).

We can't recall any aspect of consumer law that means the difference must be paid in this instance. As other HUKD members have pointed out, the only dilemma is likely to be a moral one. What would YOU do, avid reader?


  • Daniel Z.
    Tell them I ate it all and send them a picture of one of Arnie's biceps as proof... On a serious note though, I believe there is a law that states if you receive an incorrect order, you can keep the delivery as a gift... My guess is that would apply (somehow) here...
  • Joff
    "Earliest convenience" - well it won't be convenient for me until at least 2015, so get back to me then. Thanks.
  • Liam G.
    Utterly crazy! Daniel Z: It's not about receiving an incorrect order, it's being charged the wrong amount - the moment payment is taken, the contract is formed. So simple.. i hope no-one will actually give them any money back - And myprotein learn the art of a software testing..
  • The B.
    "why they’re not forcefully the money back" I'll have what he's drinking.
  • Daniel Z.
    True Liam, but I suspect their next play will be that a contract wasn't agreed... what ever way you look at it though, there would be no chance on earth of me coughing up the money or the goods! lol
  • Peter D.
    Well let's see this blog is a product. It costs time not money to acquire - frankly there's too many posts here. Any new visitor or recurring one likely won't scroll down all that much to the other stories. On Dirty Garnet I aim for 1 or 2 stories a day; with a very rare maximum being 3 short ones. Why doesn't bitterwallet better 'price' and present itself by being in a magazine format like or The Poke? Pete, editor at
  • The B.
    I tried reading Peter's very insightful and interesting comments but they're utterly irrelevant and take themselves way too seriously/are pompous so I gave up, his blog must be a laugh a minute, if anyone deems to read it, don't bother letting me know.
  • Jonny S.
    @ Peter - because Bitterwallet can post anything from completely random crap to very important and pertinent information. How much do you read this site? Is yours a serious e-publication? Also surely if you're interest is to improve the content of the website you would talk to the posters/editors of the site via e-mail rather than post on one of the content pages with your own website splattered all over it?
  • Richard
    Spamtastic Peter, Spamtastic.
  • Nobby
    I wouldn't contact them or reply at all. The contract has been made and fulfilled, the company cannot amend it later for their own benefit.
  • Jonny S.
    The Real Bob that's a nasty comment to make about Peter's Dirty Gusset!
  • Mark
    I'd be inclined to give the money back, given that people who work for a protein supplement company are all probably steroid-crazed monsters who make the Hulk look like Lloyd Grossman, and any refusal to pay would likely lead to an army of meatheads in jogging pants and overly tight pink crop tops coming round to pull all your arms off.
  • digriz
    Zavvi are my pet hate, instead of admitting the mistake of a misprice they blame their suppliers and cancel the order. The blatant lie is what stops me from using them and I won't post a Zavvi deal anymore, much like CDWOW. C-list companies run by greedy morons.
  • A R.
    The mistake is clearly theirs. As a gesture I would offer to look into the matter for them and present them for an invoice for the time necesary at whatever hourly rate I deemed fit. If they were willing to compensate me for my time and effort then I would be happy to pay the difference should I find myself in agreement with them. I would also invoice them for the initial letter replying to their utter nonsense. People like this should be exterminated.
  • Paul S.
    Liam - there's room in consumer law for the contract to be formed at time of dispatch rather than payment, but even then in this instance, the seller really doesn't have any comeback. Peter Demain - thanks for the advice! Always appreciated from the editor of Alexa's 3,333,982nd ranked site.
  • Cc
    Ignore the request. Contract formed and relied upon at time of offer/acceptance. LL.B ((hons)
  • dvdj
    Liam - You're wrong sorry. But as said. Long distance selling the contract is formed upon dispatch on the order (usually). Just ignore them. Contact CAB for reassurance if needed.
  • PokeHerPete
    Ha ha this is a first! I know the ususal routine of sellers cancelling incorrectly priced orders, however requesting additional money after the purchase is ridiculous! Its like asking someone who you sold something to on eBay for more money as you meant to sell it for £10 more. @Peter - What site do you write for again? I couldn't find it amongst your shameless promotion of putting your name to link to your site (sometimes), taking about your site and your added 'signature' in your comments, incase anybody actually gives a fuck who you are. @Paul - We're waiting for your breakfast sundae! Pete, editor at Alexa’s 99,432,982nd ranked site.
  • pauski
    @ The Real Bob. Please look at his website / blog (whatever). It is the most complete utter shit that I have ever seen. The bloke is a cunt. *shakes head in despair*
  • dvdj
    P.s - Keep us updated though. I'm curious as to how far they'll try and take this!
  • crap
    what a cunt
  • Jimbo
    what a fox bumming cunt face.
  • Mr M.
    "Why doesn’t bitterwallet better ‘price’ and present itself by being in a magazine format like oh… or The Poke?" Why doesn't Peter Demain fuck off?
  • Bunk
    i update my blog 100 times a day minimum so i'd say BW had better pull their finger out Bunk of
  • PaulH
    Check out the defending of Bitterwallet - secretly, you all love it - Real Bob, Pokeherpete, Nobby, Johny Spendex...
  • The B.
    Pauski, I'm tired hung over and trying desperately not to do any work but I'm not that desperate.
  • Mark H.
    It's probably just human error and if it's a small company they may not be able to afford to make such a big loss on a sale (or multiple sales if the Hot Deals crowd jumped on it). Morally I'd pay up. They're giving a further 10% discount which isn't bad. If I only purchased the goods because they were such a bargain then I'd give them back.
  • A R.
    @Paul H They are the ones that make the damn site worth reading anyway. Just imagine what they would get up to if they were not spouting their vitriol here. Makes a fox shudder at teh thought of it. uuurggh
  • misterp
    Opportunities (as a minimum) to prevent this : # 1 : When updating the site #2 : Dispatch # 3 : You got two hopes.....and one of 'em is Bob.
  • Nobby
    I reckon you should leave that dirty garnet bloke alone. Look at his site. The staff has a woman! Imagine, one of them has actually met a woman. Or maybe they just downloaded a photo of a lady of the web. Who are they? "We satire, lampoon, can be snarky but try to maintain a dignified air in about three quarters of our work." So similar to BW, but replace 75% with 25%. Do they have senses of humour? "We like to think we have senses of humour." If they have to tell people they have senses of humour, then they haven't. How old are they? "We act younger than we are, and try to keep our minds as malleable as Play-Doh for the work we do…" So similar to BW staff (and their readers). What are they? "Dug up, uncut news". Bollocks, we all know it is cut and paste.
  • Ben
    weirdly, I'm unable to comment at What a shame, as I had wholly ignored "Brian Nuclear"'s tiresome expose of some bollocks or other, and was all set to copypasta Brian's comments. Spoilsports.
  • PokeHerPete
    The guy has probably had a 400% increase in traffic today thanks to all you guys looking at it!!
  • Paul S.
    PokeHerPete - as of this afternoon, I have the ingredients. Tomorrow will be a well documented breakfast of champions!
  • Louise
    I had a look at Dirty-whatsit but found it so dull I soon wandered off (after tutting at the spelling of "resplendant"). "Senses of humour"? Someone set an English teacher on them, preferably with some charisma and wit. I want the 2 minutes of my life I wasted back. Still, you post a .com and you KNOW that most people will look, just in case it's something really sick a la goatse..
  • Louise
    Oh yes, and everyone deserves a freebie now and then (Amazon once refunded me for trainers that went missing in the post, and they appeared in the back of the delivery depot months later). Their muck-up, not yours. On the bright side, at least they may get a few people clicking from the cheap publicity just like Dirty and desperate..(what was it called again?).
  • Andy D.
    I'll see Peter's Dirty Garnet and raise him a and a
  • digriz
    On the topic of the vendor realising the mistake post sale they didn't used to be able to take money without consent, which is why an old manager of mine at Our Price sold a Playstation for a tenner instead of a hundred quid and was told to feck off when he called the lucky sod that bought it. I would imagine if you have the original mail at that price then they don't have a leg to stand on. My guess is if they take anymore and you report it as fraud the bank will back you. Imo anyway.
  • Hugh R.
    Apparently this happened previously the company sent there collection department to Mr Chris Browns house, when he refused to cough up the collection enforcement officer shot him dead for non payment. This in turn sparked a massive police man hunt for the collection officer. The full details of the story are yet to be made public, but the killings made the news
  • 3,5,7,9
  • Darren
    there is a similar thing on the internet of a Louis Vuitton store, a french business man bought the complete set of travel luggage for his partner at the cost of £48,000 but the sales assistant put it through at £480 by mistake, the gentleman left and 2 months later his statement showed the difference being charged, he took Louis Vuitton to court for this and won, it was the retailers mistake.
  • The B.
    Paul, I'm still thinking about this, I think layers from bottom to top: Hash browns, black pudding, mushrooms, bacon, fried egg, beans, sausage.
  • Paddy
    It was Myprotein's cockup, therefore they should pay for it. To be honest, I've used Myprotein quite a few times for supplements and have never had any snags with them-they're one of the better supplement sites.
  • » f.
    [...] a popular 43 comment thread, Pete Demain – an ever-arrogant interloper - stepped in to criticize the coventional blog format: 3 to 5 posts a day meaning lots of tedious scrolling to see content: He was impressed by torrents [...]
  • Nobby
    There are now 44 posts. You website is factually incorrect. And isn't that more than the total number of replies to all threads on your website?
  • Ten B.
    [...] a retailer make you pay for a misprice once you have the [...]
  • Hilary
    I paid for airline tickets from the Flight Centre and had the full money debited. Then a few days later was informed that the price was erroneously posted below the true value and they cancelled the tickets and refunded the money. Apaarently under cintract law I was unable to enforce the deal. I missed out on other deals as prices had gone up during thr few days.

What do you think?

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