Currys plug the gap in their own price promise

11 December 2009

Avid Bitterwallet reader Liam wants to see one company awarded our Worst Company 2009 award, and one company only - Currys:

"I saw the brilliant offer for a Sony 37W5500 at Sainsbury's on HUKD for £599. With a Currys around the corner and being a savvy shopper, I thought I would take advantage of their price promise to get the TV even cheaper."

Liam popped into his local branch of Currys in Ashton-under-Lyme and waited 20 minutes while a sales assistant checked the price, only to be told that the Sainsbury's price was too low to match. She referred up to her manager who referred up to head office, after which Liam was promised a phone call that was never made. When he complained, Currys dished out a helping of excuses soup to Liam. It was watery and thin like bathwater, and tasted of onions and filth:

"Having checked I can see that the model that Sainsbury's are selling is slightly different to the one that Currys are. The model sold by Sainsbury's is the Sony KDL37W5500U and the one Currys stock is the Sony KDL37W5500. As there is a difference the store can refuse to match the price of the item."

Fair point, well made. After all, you can't price match on different products. Because they are different products, aren't they?
Bitterwallet - spot the difference at Curry's
If you're thinking they look identical, that's because they are. There is no difference whatsoever between the two. Well, to be agonisingly fair, there is one. According to the experts at HDTV Test:

"The specific model we tested was the Sony KDL37W5500U (which denotes the 3-pin-plug United Kingdom version), but the terms KDL37W5500, KDL-37W5500 and KDL37W5500U may be used interchangeably throughout this article to refer to the same LCD television."

So in fact the products are identical, but one is seemingly shipped with UK plug attached at source. Both are widely available from retailers across the UK and retail at similar prices - a fitted plug gave Currys enough wriggle room to squirm out of their own price promise guarantee. A+ for ingenuity, Z- for customer service.


  • Mick T.
    DSGi in retarded customer service non-shocker.
  • Mike R.
    A bit like the Lisbon Treaty, non?
  • Tammy
    Richer Sounds do the same thing!
  • blagga
    As with many Currys (sic) - seems like a good idea at the time but frequently leaves you with an empty wallet, a nasty taste in your mouth and a very sore ringpiece in the morning.
  • Nick J.
    I have never understood this. Why do a price promise? Why not just buy it from the retailer offering the best price?
  • my2p
    I've heard that Comet sometimes use model numbers specific to them for products sometimes to avoid any price matching responsibility... so it's not just Currys...
  • Mark C.
    A lot of companies do this to make seemingly different models. Barstewards.
  • WBR
    DSGi have been doing this for years...and years ...and years. Their price match policy is practically worthless. Many/most of their white goods are the same, it is a great way of creeping out of a price match if they don't want to do it. It never hurts to remind people and inform any who may have missed it though.
  • Steven
    They all do the same thing, it depends what store you go to what sort of service you get. If its anything like the company I work for the store manager will be rewarded for keeping his markdowns low and as such will wriggle out every price promise he can.
  • Matt
    I bought Modern Warfare 2 from PC World on launch day, with a price match on Asda. They then point blank refused to give me their further 10% discount on the price promise because the difference was too high. So what was this huge difference in price?......... £13! Twats.
  • Andrew
    To their credit, I did once manage to get a pricematch at PC World: their price ~£240, £130. It took about half an hour and I had to correct their arithmetic a few times, but got there in the end :)
  • Dean C.
    I don't know what you expected to happen. It doesn't matter if they're the same TV, they are different model #s and the terms and conditions are final. End of discussion.
  • Ted S.
    Dean - I think there's someone to your left that's interested in a breadmaker. Better go to it, son. I reckon they'll probably need a copy of Norton Antivirus too. Y'know to protect again bread viruses and the like.
  • Richard W.
    Dean it's one letter out and that doesn't make it a new model that U means it comes with a UK power lead nothing else it's the same model
  • Mark M.
    going down to the wire of a different plug is an extreme i've never seen before.. normally, it'll be a number or a letter difference and a silver bezel here or one specification slightly worse (always worse), which will warrant a higher price from DSGi... so... maybe, just maybe they will win worst company of the year....
  • t-bone
    y ya bother price match, you would have got nectar points in sainsburys and your milk n bread.
  • Robert
    @ t-bone - The price policy gives 110% of the difference,
  • MattWPBS
    Being quite honest, the only company I've found who really seem to honour the spirit of a price promise is John Lewis. Recently got a Sony KDL40W5710 matched with a KDL40W5500. John Lewis site says: "Please note: Based on the same high specification as the Sony KDL40W5500, the Sony KDL40W5710 features in addition a gunmetal grey speaker grille." So a REALLY easy one for a company to wriggle out of. Didn't have a problem getting it matched at all, they transferred it to an easy store for me to pick it up from, got the free 5 year guarantee that wasn't there from the other retailer, and outstanding service. Amazing company. Anyone else has been pretty much worthless.
  • Cheap T.
    I get this question all the time about "what does the U mean". It just means its a UK model. So are Currys selling an import?
  • Simon
    I think Currys need to retrain their staff a bit then, because I asked about the extra letter when enquiring about a price match on a Samsung LE32B450 and was told that the letter just meant it was from a different store and that it was still the same tv. Useless Idiots!
  • the r.
    price promises are always store discretion. items must be in stock, available on that day and within a certain radius of the store. as in this original case the store again doesnt have to match as yes it has a different model number, unfortunate this may be but all retailers have terms and conditions.
  • Dumbfek
    If one tv is showing bbc 1 and the other is showing itv then of cause they are different! Holy Jebus how stupid are people?
  • i f.
    I can see the letters of a item making a price difference but this is extreme and petty. I often see a price difference on a colour letter. ie b for black or s for silver in which case i can understand the problem. b is usually more expensive as they try to move the backlog of unsold silver ones. Wasnt phoned back was one of the problems so the shop should have just given the deal anyway. Dont really want to call them retards but the people involve in this cars seem to be.
  • Robin
    Have to agree with MattWPBS there. John Lewis rocks! Bought a tv off them a few years back with a price match. After only 2 weeks of receiving the tv from them, I found an even cheaper price and they gladly honoured it because it was within the 31 days (a month) of price match purchase.
  • Guybrush T.
    If we all stuck together and told them that we aren't going to play along with their preice promise they would try harder knowing they are not going to get a second chance. When I cancelled my broadband they offered me all sorts of deals to keep me. I told them that in that case I was definitely leaving since all of this time I had been paying well over the odds and they had in fact been ripping me off. (I was under contract so had to wait to leave- it wasn't actually too bad, just the fact that they could have made more of an effort really) If we all had more principles they would have to be fairer in the first place and we'd all win.
  • Nobby
    You should get someone else to go in and ask if they sell the Sony KDL37W5500U, and say that this is the TV he wants to buy. When they try and sell him the KDL37W5500, he should say the model number is different and that he doesn't want to buy the one they have as it is clearly a different TV. If they say it is the same model, he should ask for written confirmation it is the same model.
  • bob
    This is fairly common practice in Currys/Comet/Dixons etc. They use different model numbers to stop price matching - I thought everyone knew that by now.
  • Wanking H.
    I think Dean likes turtles.
  • Paul
    It's almost as laughable as the John Lewis "Not knowingly undersold" joke - Takes them 3 days minimum to price match, and then the one that i picked was apparently "different" despite the model number being the same! The feeble excuse?? "we had the rep in this morning (Toshiba rep on a saturday - yeh rite) who said that theirs was better. Woman wouldnt be budged. Con merchants - "never knowingly undersold my ass" - just when it suits!
  • hank
    I've always found the price match works OK from John Lewis. I bought a TV from them and said that a shop nearby was selling it cheaper - they phoned them and dropped their price for me on the spot. So I got it from John Lewis, with their free delivery and everything. I also got a dishwasher from John Lewis. The sales person showed us two Miele dishwashers - "Here's our basic Miele dishwasher for £400 and here's the top-of the range one for £400" - "Hmm?" - "We're price-matching someone else at the moment".
  • Bob
    @Paul Well, they apparently always reply within 2 days, and the match is based on main model numbers. And yea, they do have Toshiba reps in on Saturdays sometimes, but they aren't undersales team and aren't consulted on matters other than product specs. So basically, it'd have been a very different model number.
  • yeah
    NEVER EVER COME ON THIS WEBSITE AND SLAG OFF THE BELOVED JOHN LEWIS. THIS IS PUNISHABLE BY DEATH. At the end of every rainbow is a john lewis store handing out lifetime warranties on price matched goods (which should be a reasonable price anyways so they dont have to) their stuck up sales 'partners' arent just in it for the commission like DSGI, they're doing YOU the favour by allowing you white trash shitbags to buy from The Queen's Haberdasher.
  • goon
    i think you should all let this john lewis fellow butt sex you all
  • Lew
    'their stuck up sales ‘partners’ arent just in it for the commission like DSGI' how many times must people come on here spouting DSGi's commission-based sales hounds without realising that for a large part of the decade, there hasn't been one single sales person paid on commission? they're minimum wage workers. shelf stackers at asda get paid more, go in their and ask their colleagues all the specs of their electrical goods, and see how far you get
  • shocker
    Re Lew That is extremely funny that you and others keep saying that DSGI are not commission-based sales. I have worked with this company, just last year, and can say without a doubt that they DO have commissions.... they may call them CAB's or some other name but it still amounts to extra pay for selling very specific products.
  • lol
    EERRMM most of you need to get your facts right because DSGi staff are NOT paid on commission!!
  • sam
    I work there and i can assure you that there is no commission at all. I get paid a little over £5 an hour wheather i sell coverplans or not!

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