Can a retailer make you pay for a misprice once you have the goods?
An interesting dilemma cropped up in the HotUKDeals forums yesterday. HUKD member deeppockets tells the tale of placing an order on myprotein.co.uk 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 Myprotein.com. 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 myproteins.co.uk 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?