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Can Websites Change Prices Once Ordered?

By: Lucy Debenham BA (hons) - Updated: 15 Aug 2019 | comments*Discuss
 
Advertising Code Rights Online Sale

Q.

I've just ordered a Nintendo Wii online and when I placed my order it was advertised at £159.99. After an hour or so went by, I contacted them as I hadn't received any confirmation e-mails back from them.

They said they hadn't confirmed the order because they had just changed the price to £169.99 and were refusing to sell me the item for the advertised price when I ordered it. It is now showing the updated price of £169.99 on their website, can they do this?

(Mr Darren Kendrick, 9 October 2008)

A.

On the high street, if an item is advertised at the wrong price, the company selling the goods or services has to remove the items from the shelf. There is no obligation to 'honour' the advertised price and therefore no binding contract for sale. However, as a goodwill gesture it is not uncommon for larger companies to allow the consumer to pay for the item at it’s mislabelled lower price.

The same ‘no obligation’ principle applies to websites and online shopping stores in the UK. If the price advertised on the website turns out to be incorrect, then the seller does not have a legal commitment to complete the sale. Remember that an advertised price is not a contract of sale. It is therefore acceptable that the seller can refuse to complete the transaction if the price has changed.

It is probably right to assume that the company that you tried to purchase your games console from consider the information to have been ‘out of date’ or in the process of being updated, and was not deliberately deceptive in their advertising. The fact that no order confirmation was sent through means that the company did not accept or acknowledge a sale, and the goods remain their property. The company has the right to decline your order.

If the company you were trying to buy from was based in the UK, they will be under the regulation of the British Code of Advertising, and the Control of Misleading Advertisements Regulations. The British Code of Advertising “requires all forms of non-broadcast advertising to be legal decent, honest and truthful and to be prepared with a sense of responsibility to both consumers and society”.

Therefore, if you have any complaints, you can always try contacting the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) in writing if you feel that the matter should be taken further. You can also try contacting Trading Standards. However, you should be aware that it is unlikely that any action will result in compensation, especially as technically the product was not sold. It is also unlikely that the advertised price was deliberately misleading, and so the likelihood of any action being taken by Trading Standards or ASA is fairly minimal.

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My comment is not quite the same as others. I regularly buy digital products on iTunes, if you do beware that some films, especially Christmas or valentine movies, which can cost up to £13.99 for a hd copy, can also be found in the TV section of the store at the price of £2.49 for hd and £1.89 for sd. This is a massive price difference, as you can see, I, luckily, found this out before I purchased any, and own many movies from iTunes I have bought for under £2.50 that are advertised, on their own site, at the same time as nearly £14. My advise if you buy from iTunes, check the TV section for movies, to see if they also list there, generally they do not list running time in TV, like they do in movies, but if the description fits, it generally is the same title. I have personally saved a fortune like this and hope you do. I don't know if this practise by iTunes is legal as you can by, whoever you are, at both prices, so it's worth a look, next time you buy.
Demonize - 15-Aug-19 @ 5:06 PM
On the company dealership website i paid a £250 deposit to reserve a car via Paypal. The price of the car is £8290. They said it has been listed incorrectly and should've been £22,490. They won't sell it at the lower price and have said they will refund the deposit. Do they nave to honour the original price displayed as i paid a reservation deposit with a view to seeing and purchasing the car? Thankyou
Robinson905 - 14-Apr-19 @ 1:45 PM
Bgbgbg - Your Question:
I ordered a rug from the range yesterday for £19.99. I received my confirmation email. I then received an email saying my order had been cancelled as the item is out of stock but when I checked the website it is back in stock but now listed for £59.99. I called customer services and was told sorry and that the rug was in stock but I had to email a different department for information. My email was ignored so I called again and I’m now being told the item is out of stock, when I can see on the website that it is in stock. Do I have a right to the rug at the lower price as they have emailed me false information?

Our Response:
No, you're not entitled to the rug at the error price but you are entitled to a refund if you've already paid.
OnlineShoppingRights - 29-Jun-18 @ 3:47 PM
I ordered a rug from the range yesterday for £19.99. I received my confirmation email. I then received an email saying my order had been cancelled as the item is out of stock but when I checked the website it is back in stock but now listed for £59.99. I called customer services and was told sorry and that the rug was in stock but I had to email a different department for information. My email was ignored so I called again and I’m now being told the item is out of stock, when I can see on the website that it is in stock. Do I have a right to the rug at the lower price as they have emailed me false information?
Bgbgbg - 29-Jun-18 @ 11:05 AM
Hi I hsve preordered an item on a retailers website and paid the relevant price with a dispatch fate of later this month which as I'm not on a rush for the item was Acceptable. I now notice that the item has been reduced further with a not in stock tag line. Can I truest that the reduced price is honoured on my order?
Lb - 11-Jan-18 @ 11:53 PM
I recently purchased a game online it then turned out they had priced the item wrong. I was awaiting a download code, the order status was confirmed but then changed to cancelled. Is there anything further I can do?
Dave - 21-Dec-17 @ 10:14 AM
I recently purchased an expensive tap online for around £30 but it clearly should have been around £400 as that is what others were selling it for. I paid and they accepted payment then I received an email saying please accept this as confirmation an re stating the low price of £30. At this point I feel they were legally obliged to supply it. Today I received an invoice which just showed a credit and a note that this was due to pricing error. Clearly they messed up and are hoping I go away. I don't want hassle but legally, surely they have to provide the item now. What do you think?
Strider - 2-Oct-17 @ 3:46 PM
I ordered a case of 3 wine through amazon, paid and got order confirmation. When the goods arrived there was only 1 bottle. I emailed the vendor through the correct route via amazon who said it was a mistake and they won't send any more. Can they do that?
Wardy - 3-Dec-16 @ 9:51 PM
Jo - Your Question:
Hi, I payed and placed an order on line for an electric fire on Black Friday 2016. I received an email confirming payment but no email with regards to delivery.After waiting several working days, I rang the company. I was advised they would get back to me. After waiting a day. I phoned again and was told they would enquire and get back to me. I later received an email explaining that the item had been wrongly priced due to human error. I was very understanding and appreciated the honesty. I rang them up to discuss the matter and explained that I understood and not to worry. I could not afford the payment update and the person said she would personally go to the warehouse, take some photos and send them to me of suitable alternatives. After waiting several hours, I received 4 photos with no information about the products. I rang once again to enquire about energy output ect, and decided to choose 1 of the fires. I asked before placing the order, could she send me confirmation of the fire details. Several hours later, I received an email advising me of the price-£250 more! So disappointing. I had explained that I could not afford much more than I had already spent and that I had already freecycled my current fire! Now, when I have once again rang, the person dealing with me is busy and will contact me later. What are my rights?

Our Response:
You should be given an immediate refund for this as it was the retailer's mistake.
OnlineShoppingRights - 1-Dec-16 @ 2:45 PM
Hi, I payed and placed an order on line for an electric fire on Black Friday 2016. I received an email confirming payment but no email with regards to delivery. After waiting several working days, I rang the company. I was advised they would get back to me. After waiting a day. I phoned again and was told they would enquire and get back to me. I later received an email explaining that the item had been wrongly priced due to human error. I was very understanding and appreciated the honesty. I rang them up to discuss the matter and explained that I understood and not to worry. I could not afford the payment update and the person said she would personally go to the warehouse, take some photos and send them to me of suitable alternatives. After waiting several hours, I received 4 photos with no information about the products. I rang once again to enquire about energy output ect, and decided to choose 1 of the fires. I asked before placing the order, could she send me confirmation of the fire details. Several hours later, I received an email advising me of the price-£250 more! So disappointing. I had explained that I could not afford much more than I had already spent and that I had already freecycled my current fire! Now, when I have once again rang, the person dealing with me is busy and will contact me later. What are my rights?
Jo - 1-Dec-16 @ 9:22 AM
Hi I ordered a nursery furniture set advertised at 188 I paid for it and awaited its arrival But never heard anything so emailed them they advised me I would receive this in two weeks I was contacted by the supplier telling me I could receive the cot and the rest next week but I asked for it altogether I have been told today that it was priced wrong and now I have to pay more to receive it what can I do!!
Mand - 28-Jul-16 @ 6:34 PM
Jaq - Your Question:
I have been sent an email from Victoria bathrooms with a SALE price for a bathroom set of £119.95 I have looked for this specific set and o. The picture the set is approx ?400 plus because this email has been sent directly to me can I insist on the set at the special SALE price I have contacted them and await a reply Thank You

Our Response:
You need to establish whether it's a mistake or whether it only applies for a limited time etc. If you feel this is misleading marketing, you might consider reporting them to the Advertising Standards Authority
OnlineShoppingRights - 25-May-16 @ 10:15 AM
I have been sent an email from Victoria bathrooms with a SALE price for a bathroom set of £119.95 I have looked for this specific set and o. The picture the set is approx ?400 plus because this email has been sent directly to me can I insist on the set at the special SALE price I have contacted them and await a reply Thank You
Jaq - 24-May-16 @ 9:28 AM
I have ordered 4 tyres online for a reduced price. I have received a confirmation email with the correct sum. The next day the supplier has sent me an email with tracking information and a confirmation again but the price went up nearly 3 times. The tyres came this morning but I have refused to take them so they went back with the courier.I have contacted the company selling them and they said there was an error on website and the prices where wrong. They have cancelled the order. Can I claim those tyres at the price I had the confirmation for?
Seb - 11-Apr-16 @ 11:22 AM
hutz - Your Question:
I ordered some stuff on a Black Friday Deal. I paid for it, received a confirmation email for both the order and the payment. I went back in to the company to check delivery address the next day and the order had disappeared. When I rang the company they had no order confirmation, I emailed them mine and the chap then found a print out of mine but no electronic copy.Now the person I spoke to said they order was removed due to a pricing error. I was not informed and they still have my payment. My big gripe is that under normal circumstances I would have questioned the price, however due to these items been advertised on a Black Friday Deal Page of their site I am furious.Will this come under a mistake in advertising or a misleading advert?

Our Response:
As this is a mistake, you should receive a refund. There is not much esle you can do unless you think the company was deliberately misleading people by promoting prices for non-existent items or incorrect prices in order to persuade people to buy at a different price.
OnlineShoppingRights - 1-Dec-15 @ 12:27 PM
I ordered some stuff on a Black Friday Deal...I paid for it, received a confirmation email for both the order and the payment.I went back in to the company to check delivery address the next day and the order had disappeared.When i rang the company they had no order confirmation, i emailed them mine and the chap then found a print out of mine but no electronic copy. Now the person i spoke to said they order was removed due to a pricing error.I was not informed and they still have my payment. My big gripe is that under normal circumstances i would have questioned the price, however due to these items been advertised on a Black Friday Deal Page of their site i am furious. Will this come under a mistake in advertising or a misleading advert?
hutz - 30-Nov-15 @ 10:35 AM
istar - Your Question:
Hello, I would be very grateful if you can give me an advice: I booked accommodation , paid both the deposit and the rest of the price and got the authomatised confirmation in between the payments. The company refuses to honor the price stating that it was a pricing error, and it really could be. They want ME to cancel my booking. I wrote them several times and they only say that I can accept the new price (many times higher) OR cancel on my side. Can they force me to cancel? Why don´t they just cancel it on their side, which allows them their TaC?

Our Response:
You should just cancel it from your side if that's what they require.
OnlineShoppingRights - 5-Nov-15 @ 1:54 PM
Hello, I would be very grateful if you can give me an advice: I booked accommodation , paid both the deposit and the rest of the price and got the authomatised confirmation in between the payments. The company refuses to honor the price stating that it was a pricing error, and it really could be. They want ME to cancel my booking. I wrote them several times and they only say that I can accept the new price (many times higher) OR cancel on my side. Can they force me to cancel? Why don´t they just cancel it on their side, which allows them their TaC?
istar - 5-Nov-15 @ 8:25 AM
Ryan - Your Question:
My partner purchased a car seat from mothercare online. Made payment, received confirmation email and a delivery date. The second following evening we received an email saying that they have cancelled the order due to an error in pricing online and we should see their t&c etc. checked them and they are contradicting. Where do we stand?

Our Response:
We don't have the Mothercare Terms and Conditions but in general the trader is under no obligation to sell you the product at the mistakenly publicised price in cases like this.
OnlineShoppingRights - 18-Aug-15 @ 1:55 PM
My partner purchased a car seat from mothercare online. Made payment, received confirmation email and a delivery date. The second following evening we received an email saying that they have cancelled the order due to an error in pricing online and we should see their t&c etc. checked them and they are contradicting. Where do we stand?
Ryan - 17-Aug-15 @ 10:08 PM
@richard. If the company has advertised a single traveller holiday atcertain price but then say the price is not accurate because of a single person supplement you would have a good cause to complain. Misleading information like this can be followed up and prevented by both Trading Standards and the Advertising Standards Authority.
OnlineShoppingRights - 2-Jun-15 @ 2:31 PM
I wanted to book a holiday online for one person for £2594. Got a message to ring office as no flights available.This message was for every date I tried.I rang and was told the holiday was over £3000.I was told this was due to the single supplement but the online price was given for a single traveller and was higher then if I entered two people.One week later I entered my details again and got the same result. Do the company have to honor the online price given that they have had a week to change the details online.
richard - 31-May-15 @ 11:32 AM
I the same as the post before bought the Samsung tab from very in the "black friday" sales. They have taken the money from by bank account but cancelled the order saying that they will only reinstate it if I pay an extra £150 otherwise I can opt for a refund which will take 10 working days. I know that if a genuine price mistake was made they are under no obligation to honour it but I truly believe it was either a ploy to generate buzz around their sale and get people to buy other goods or to entice people to open credit accounts to pay for it. I after numerous attempts managed to pay using a debit card instead of using the "open a credit account" option page it kept taking me to, only to find out today they still opened a credit account in my name!
chelle63p - 30-Nov-13 @ 10:35 PM
Hi I ordered a galaxy tab 3 from very in there black Friday lightning deal at £129 ,got an email confirming and then got an email with tracking number which I checked saying order accepted and was being delivered on the 5th of December .I then received a telephone call this morning saying the price was wrong and should have been £269 but they would take off £20 could you please tell me what my rights are.
tarab - 30-Nov-13 @ 12:14 PM
Have just been searching online for a holiday next year.On the holiday providers website I have had a ridiculously cheap holiday price quoted on screen (and have printed a hard copy), but I can't go ahead and book as the website is experiencing technical difficulties.My question is - are the company liable to sell me the holiday for the price quoted on screen (for the total party price including taxes, charges etc), or is the price only a guide until you hit the final "book now" button?. Thanks
Kermit - 14-Aug-13 @ 8:53 PM
Do holiday companies ever honour these 'so called' obvious pricing errors or am I just forced to get a refund.What rights do I have to insist they fulfil their contractual obligation.I've paid a large deposit but wasn't required to settle the whole amount.Is it adrawn out battle and likely to cost me money to fight them. Is that how they get away with it. This is a big company, trading mostly online so I'm sure they go through this alot.I booked this in good faith & had no idea they would cancel it, having called them to check it out first.
Kim - 15-Jan-13 @ 8:37 PM
Booked a holiday for £2,000 for 3 people. Paid the deposit, got a confirmation email and invoice etc. Phoned the holiday company before I booked it.They have now cancelled stating that as it was an 'obvious' pricing error they are justified in asking for a further £1,500.As I've entered into a contract with them do I have any rights? They've offer a full refund or £100 pp off the £1,500.
Kim - 15-Jan-13 @ 8:12 PM
We think the fact that you have paid in full and received a confirmation of such, that the contract is therefore valid. If you were informed before the payment was accepted or before the confirmation was sent out the seller may have been under no obligation to uphold the prices. Check this out with the CAB, Watchdog or a solicitor though for further advice.
OnlineShoppingRights - 13-Nov-12 @ 10:07 AM
Hi we also have booked2 holidays over the weekend with haven online we payed in full and got acomfermation email saying holiday was booked and payed in full and we have now another email with price changes due to error,do we ave any rights to tell haven we should not pay what they are asking for now.regards graham
Please help...... - 12-Nov-12 @ 7:45 PM
I recently booked a holiday with Haven online and received an order confirmation which also read total holiday price (which was £31) and paid with thanks in full. I have now received an email from them saying that there was an error on their system and the booking price was incorrect. Where do I stand now? Do they have to honour the holiday at the price I paid, or do they have the right to cancel the holiday or expect me to pay the difference? Look forward to hearing from you. Mant thanks.Marsha Hayes
marshah - 12-Nov-12 @ 3:31 PM
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