Wrong price? You might not get what you paid for...


21/06/2018 What are my rights if a firm has mispriced something that I’ve purchased?

BA are in the news for cancelling airline tickets they mistakenly sold cheaper than they intended. Some of our biggest high street stores have mispriced everything from TVs to sofas and sparked a feeding frenzy among canny shoppers as word spread on the internet.

Every time a business makes an error with a price but refuses to honour it we get a flurry of enquiries at Resolver Towers. But what are the rules?

Well, it’s complicated…!

Laws and fakery

Pop on to the internet and you’ll find all kinds of stuff about contract law, obscure rules and regulations and some good old-fashioned fake news. Have a healthy dose of scepticism.

In simple terms, if an item isn’t priced correctly, the business doesn’t have to honour it until it’s made a ‘commitment to contract’ with you. So that TV on sale for £10 not £1,000 might not make it past the till, no matter what the sticker says.

If you buy something online, you’d think that as soon as you’ve clicked ‘purchase’ then the contract exists between you and the firm. And it does. Kind of. What this comes down to is what the terms and conditions on the website - and more importantly, your confirmation email - says. If there’s something in there covering when the firm ‘accepts the order’ then this is when the contract begins. If it’s not clear or deliberately misleading you can complain.

But hold on, I hear you say! How come a travel firm can say it doesn’t have a contract with me and then charge me if I want to cancel?! How is that fair?

It isn’t. So the rules need to change.

But in the meantime, you do still have the right to complain if you’ve incurred expenses as a result of the business’ error.

So if you’ve booked accommodation after your mispriced flights and you can’t get the money back, you can argue that those costs only occurred due to the airline’s error and they should refund you. Be prepared to prove it though! And none of this takes away from the fact that your holiday has gone out of the window. That sucks.

Lots of businesses get hung up on what their legal obligations are. But what matters is doing the right thing by your customers. So we’d expect any business, no matter what the industry, to refund any expenses that you’ve incurred due to their error.

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Furniture ombudsman Ombudsman services Financial ombudsman service C e d r Gambling commission Consumer dispute resolution ltd logo Transport focus logo

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