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back to article Tesco blunder prices 64GB 4G iPad at 50 quid

Tesco tantalised online shoppers yesterday after a pricing error left punters thinking they'd snapped up Apple's latest iPad for just £50. The Twitterscape was alight last night with braggers who thought they'd got the bargain of the century. The Tesco Direct website was offering advance orders for the new Apple iPad Wi-Fi 4G …

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Anonymous Coward

WELL

You've got to ne a muppet to think you'd get one for £50.

And the law is on the side of Tescos.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WELL

Yup, and same muppets will be threatening them with the Citizens Advice Bureau if my experience is anything to go on. Never heard anything back from them after that, funny ....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WELL

Or be a muppet to pay more than £50 for one..

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WELL

Still too much money. The iTunes requirement means that Apple would have to pay me to take one of their hands.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: WELL

What would you want one of their hands for?

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Coat

Re: WELL

the law is also on the side of the customer....

If they had actually taken payment, then that is contract of sale agreed and completed. They would have had to supply at the bargain/rip off (depending on your POV) price of £49.99.

as it was a pre-order and proberbly had not taken payment, just card details, then your not getting your bargain

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jai
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the real trick would have been to get John Lewis to price match it before Tesco corrected their mistake

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Oh great, so you'd rather bankrupt a real high street asset with motivated staff, than the "every little hurts" bully?

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Facepalm

@Jan 0

Oh shut up and get a sense of humour you plonker!

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Anonymous Coward

Is it really even worth that?

Personally no...

All that content lock-in, you would soon waste any saving...

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Meh

Law on their side?

It is a long time since I worked in retail and the intertubes didn't exist then. However, if a price was wrongly displayed we were required by law to sell it at that price. I remember someone got a £30 bottle of wine for a fiver that way. Does the same apply to online transactions?

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Re: Law on their side?

IANAL

I seem to recall one of those "Know your Rights" type programs on the BEEB or such like saying that it depends on when the error is spotted. If the error is spotted before the transaction is complete then the merchant is not compelled to complete the transaction - although they must fix the ticket price near enough immediately. However, if you get you mitts on the goods and payment has been completed then it's yours and there's nothing that they can do about it.

The wrinkle with distance selling is that the money has been taken - but you don't have the goods. So is the contract complete at that stage? One for those legal eagles.

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FAIL

Re: Law on their side?

Not unless you were working for that shop pre 1961 when the case of Fisher v Bell stuck it into case law that prices in store are a mere invitation to treat, not an offer. No offer = no chance of acceptance = no contract to sell. Your boss should have read up on contract law.

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Re: Law on their side?

Anyone remember the £100 3.1 megapixel Kodak digital camera fiasco back in 2002?

They gave in and let people buy them at the advertised price instead of the full price of £329, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2002/01/31/kodak_surrenders/

I was one of those that managed to get one, it was an 'ok' camera, didn't think much of the picture quality though and eventually sold it on eBay for £100 a year or two later, however I do remember at least one person had bought 10 or more then used the profits from their eBay sales to buy a decent DSLR.

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Re: Law on their side?

I think you can sue based on "loss of bargin"

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Law on their side?

When I worked in the off-license trade and an item was wrongly priced, we could refuse sale of item at that price (before transaction), if the customer kicked up a fuss then we had to remove all of that particular stock from the shelf until it was priced correctly and put it all back out again. This, apparently, was the technical way round not having to sell it to the customer at the advertised priced. Plus if they argued even more it was always a pleasure to say "do one, your barred".... ah the heady days of retail power ;-)

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Headmaster

Re: Law on their side?

"...it was always a pleasure to say "do one, your barred"..."

What if they didn't have a barred to do one with?

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Headmaster

Re: Law on their side?

from my experience of retail it was if you sell it you have to sell it for the price listed. otherwise whats stopping you from walking in to Harrods with some 99p labels and buying up the whole shop?

most companies will honor the mistake as policy but i don't think they legally have to they can refuse to sell and then correct the error which is what tesco have done

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Law on their side?

It's been round before and people have been told to honour the mistake and other people have been let off.

It's not an invitation to treat because the offer remains throughout the transaction, according to the law it should stand.

Ordinarily I'd say worth a punt, but given it's Tesco and this is UK plc...

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Thumb Up

Re: Law on their side?

Managed to get 2 of those Kodaks myself. I don't even take photographs but at the time it seemed too good a deal to miss, and in the youth of online shopping the risk of setting a bad reputation for customer service probably swung in our favour. No company would be that naive these days.

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Wouldn't surprise me if they did this on purpose.

Tesco is well known for putting the odd item in a large shop or two to get on HotUKDeals and get customers in the store the next morning hoping to get lucky.

Allegedly, obviously.

Disgruntled beer-bargain-hunter.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Wouldn't surprise me if they did this on purpose.

not alleged, I got ground coffee for a penny, told the person next to me who dumped the whole shelf into their basket...

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IT error?

How could that be an IT error? Do they have shelf-stacking robots setting the prices? Sounds more like an error between chair and keyboard to me

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Anonymous Coward

Greed

With every misprice deal you get...

a) the greedy gloaters claiming they bought 10+ units

b) the indignant outrage of the shopper who believes it's their right that the deal be honoured

get real people!

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Re: Greed

c) Somebody punting the unobtainable bargain on fleabay.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Greed

d) someione posting "I placed an order then phoned to check that it would be honoured and they checked there system and said 'sorry, we've made a pricing error - we'll cancel all the orders' closely followed by loads of responses saying 'why did you phone - you've spoiled it for everyone else'"

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Back in the mists of time, Amazon made the same glaring mistake with the top-of-the-hill version of the iPaq (model number escapes me) and had them listed brand-new for a ridiculous price of £5.49 instead of most likely £549. I ordered two, completed the card transaction, got the order confirmation and headed for a coffee to celebrate my smug purchase....

Amazon, noticing their blunder, promptly cancelled the order hours later citing a "pricing error" and cheerfully informiing me if I would like to reorder the goods they would be more than happy for me to reorder them. Refund received days later. Rug and chair pulled from under me!

Bought, paid for but no an electronic leg to stand up. Pah! Not sighted an iPaq being used for years.... funnily enough

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Anonymous Coward

The Amazon case came down to their terms, they had provision for such an event. Sadly we still have a government which has no problem with corporates rewriting the law as "terms" or "privacy policy"

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Anonymous Coward

I would have thought

that *if* they had taken money on your Credit Card then that formed an offer and and an acceptance since the consideration had been taken, thus establishing a legally binding contract that they could be held to.

If they hadn't taken the money, then they would definitelty would have been able to walk away from it.

So check your credit card statements to see if there have been any transactions that have been reveresed out and if so you've probably got them by the goolies.

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Re: I would have thought

They don't _take_ the money at the time of ordering, they generally pre-auth the amount on the card and then actually take the payment when they ship the product.

So technically, the transaction doesn't actually happen until that point.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I would have thought

... unless a transaction and reversed transaction pair appears on your credit card statement.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I would have thought

T&Cs generally say now that contract isn't formed until the item is dispatched .... taking the money from a card would, I think, be deemed part of your offering to buy the product by demonstrating you had the funds to complete the transaction and as they then refund this when they decide not to agree to the transaction I think they get away with it.

N.b. with some T&Cs you even agree that if you've used a discount code and the seller determines later that you were not eligible to use it then they can claim the discount back at any later time!

Anyway, I assume there will be a highly amusing thread on hotukdeals where lots of people try to argue that they have a right to buy 20 iPads for £50 each and how they were expecting to make a tidy profit on eBay! Gets very amusing when they start to explain how they assumed that £50 was a genuine price and not an error (after all, "a new iPad has just come out and I thought this must be Tesco offloading stock of the old one") - One of these threads went on for days after the Argos Lumia mis-price last month!

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Anonymous Coward

Re: I would have thought

I think the contract is formed at the moment the offerer takes the money, irrespective of what their T&C's may say. English Law should prevail over unenforcable terms.

(Rather like Shrink-Wrapped software licenses).

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Re: I would have thought

[quote]They don't _take_ the money at the time of ordering, they generally pre-auth the amount on the card and then actually take the payment when they ship the product.

So technically, the transaction doesn't actually happen until that point.[\quote]

once the payment has been authorised they in effect have taken the money, you have no way of stopping the payment from that point onwards.

with this pre-authorisation, although they haven't taken the money, you cant actually stop them taking it. its just a matter of if / when they take it.

Legally its a dodgy place to be, its a hard job fighting against the corps. but I have to say, if the amount had been debited from your account, and your bank can confirm it, then its deal done. If they just refund the money and cancel the transaction, its akin to the shop assistant putting the money back in your wallet after sale agreed..... If the bank can confirm the money left your account, then its a fair bet that sale is agreed and you could win in court for them to supply said goods at the agreed price. but its likely to cost a lot more than a ipad is worth, and you may end up loosing...

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Well I guess they advertised it at a reasonable price for a drinks tray!

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Anonymous Coward

£50

I'd have thought that was about right - who would pay more for an electronic etch-a-sketch.

On that note...when are Etch-a-Sketch going to sue Apple for patent/design/copyright breach - they look spookily similar to me? :-)

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Anonymous Coward

payment

On the BBC new website they quote a Tesco spokesman saying that no money will be withdrawn from people who placed the order at the wrong price. So sounds like no contract was formed.

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Mistake....

....my arse!

Calculated marketing stunt to get Tesco in the headlines and "remind" the iPad buying public that Tesco will sell the latest shiny-shiny (and you'll get club card points too!)

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Re: Mistake....

My thoughts exactly. Adding what some might consider the most important tech product of the year and not double checking it? Surely their shop system has some sanity checks in it also - e.g. IF priceEntered < whatWePayForTheDamnedThings THEN atLeastQueryItFFS().

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Re: Mistake....

^This.

It's an obvious marketing ploy, and a good one. I personally wouldn't have thought to look in tesco if I wanted an ipad.

I mean, I don't want one, but you know: if I ever suffered a lapse of judgement or an excess of cash.

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Anonymous Coward

Tesco T&Cs

From the Tesco website

"4. Payment and acceptance

If you buy an item from the Tesco Direct Catalogue on the phone, in-store or online you will be charged for an item at the time you place your order. After this time, you cannot amend your order (but please see our cancellation policy in section 6 below).Your order is an offer to buy from us. Nothing that we do or say will amount to any acceptance of that offer until we actually despatch an item to you, at which point a contract will be made between us. At any point up until then we may decline to supply an item to you. If we decline to supply an item to you and you have already paid for it, we will give you a full refund of any amount already paid for that item in accordance with our refund policy in section 7 below."

So, if you've ordered from them you've agreed that there's no binding agreement until the package is handed to the delivery company and any payment being taken is irrelevant as they'll refund it. If you don't like that then don't buy from them.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Tesco T&Cs

Bollocks to that. I'm pretty sure that that is not legal and is an unfair T&C caught either by the Unfair Terms and Conditions legislation or else under equity.

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Re: Tesco T&Cs

Agreed. Once you have taken the money you have effectively accepted the sale regardless of terms and conditions. They don't trump the law.

Before that point, it is an offer and no more.

One of the risks of automated sales I guess, but the law is the law.

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Facepalm

That's right...

...just blame it on the IT guys.

Yeesh!

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Why is there never a friendly, helpful lawyer around when you need one to explain the fine points of contract law?

I'm sure all of us here at El Reg comments would welcome them with open arms...

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Anonymous Coward

here is a link to a boring but factual explanation of the law.

http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/sale-of-goods/your-rights-pricing-disputes/your-rights/

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Very clear

"The trader could try to argue that it made a mistake with the pricing which could make the contract void. But it would have to show that the price was so low that you must have known it was not genuine: for example, a new leather jacket with a price tag of £2 on it."

Or, say, a new iPad with a price tag of £50...

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Re: Very clear

The paragraph is not really very clear at which point this judgement becomes moot or by which law this is asserted.

Can the shopkeeper really run after you down the street claiming that the price was a mistake after you have handed over the money and received the goods? I think not. At some point after you hand over your moolah, the contract must be assumed to be binding. Perhaps after you get a receipt and the goods. Who knows?

The internet is a very different environment that the law was not built to cope with. In practice, if you went to the counter with this iPad handed over your 50 quid, they ring it up and give you the receipt and the item, I suspect that is that. How this translates to a website where they have your money for a low priced article is ambiguous. They can argue about T&Cs until the cows come home but the law should be made clearer as to when a contract is made electronically.

Of course, it's their website so that can pretty much do what they want in practice, hoping that they won't get sued by anyone.

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Re: Very clear

"The paragraph is not really very clear at which point this judgement becomes moot or by which law this is asserted."

As often, the final say is left to the courts. However, with a price tag less than 1/10 tof the usual list price, Tesco will have no trouble at all claiming the "obvious" part. Even though they may have done it on purpose, but that a completely different complaint, it should probably go to ASA with a history of previous "unfortunate errors" from the same vendor. Maybe. IANAL.

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