DVD Talk
What do you think should happen when an etailer makes a pricing error? [Archive] - DVD Talk Forum

PDA

View Full Version : What do you think should happen when an etailer makes a pricing error?


Heat
02-04-02, 01:04 PM
We run across posts here regarding misprices. Do people think that stores should be "forced" to honor those misprices, or that if they honor them, great, but don't hold your breath?

The following is from a column in the Chicago Tribune. Basically, a man found some $170 soccer shoes for $1. He ordered two pairs of these shoes, then told his friends. His friends also ordered some shoes. Well, the etailer realized that there was a mistake and canceled his order, though offerering the shoes to him at $140 with free shipping. He is apparently still trying to get the shoes for $1.

To make the matter a little funny, his friends received the shoes for $1.

What do you think?

Personally, I believe that she is being unreasonable on his quest for the $1 shoes. A pricing error is a pricing error, in the online world. Now, if the etailer honored the price, then great, but to insist that he is somehow "entitled" to the shoes is absurd.
The e-shopper
Little recourse if online retailer makes honest mistake

Denise Flaim
Published February 4, 2002 (Chicago Tribune)

Q On Dec. 31, my oldest son went to Eurosport's Web site (www.soccer.com) and started to "fill his cart," mostly with dreams. However, he came across a pair of expensive soccer cleats that were marked down to $1 a pair. A bargain hunter, he tracked me down to perhaps get this dream over the goal line.

I took one look at the page and promptly ordered the shoes for him and his brother. They took my credit card info and issued an order number. The total: $11.99 with shipping.

Afterward, I shared this bargain with friends. They, too, went online and entered orders for the exact same shoes for $1 a pair. On Jan. 2, I received an e-mail that said the site had the wrong price and that they had placed the order on hold because the shoes cost $169.99. A quick check of the Web site showed that the shoes were still marked $1 a pair.

There are no terms and conditions on their Web site covering these issues. A few e-mails went back and forth, stating they wouldn't honor my order. They offered a compromise on the price ($139) and free shipping.

Now the really good part: On Jan. 7, both my friends who ordered shoes after I alerted them to the bargain received their shoes at $1 a pair.

What is my path of effective options here?

A. A call to Eurosport founder Mike Moylan confirmed all of the writer's facts: Yes, the shoes were priced $1, although it was a "computer glitch," not an intentional markdown. Yes, some lucky folks got the $1 shoes before Eurosport got wise to the mistake. And, yes, it took several days for this small Hillsborough, N.C.,-based business to get its Web master to correct the site's automated prices.

All that said, Moylan doesn't think it's a "reasonable expectation" to demand that the site sell the shoes at such a huge loss.

Shirley Rooker, president of Call For Action, a consumer-advocacy organization based in Bethesda, Md., agrees. "If someone made an honest error, and that error was corrected, that's the important thing," she says, pointing out that Eurosport did offer a sizable discount and free shipping. The fact that some people's orders "got through the cracks"--and this writer's didn't--doesn't entitle the writer to capitalize on what was clearly an illogical price, she adds.

"To a certain extent, his persistence is admirable," concludes Moylan. "But it's just not reasonable."

We'd have to agree.

KyleB
02-04-02, 01:29 PM
Well, obviously some people need to double-check their price databases more closely! :)

But, I think retailers are within their rights to correct pricing errors. If they are smart, maybe they offer a coupon or something to those who placed the order as a goodwill effort. Whether they just honor the price for those who placed the order, that's their business & depends on the circumstances. $1 for $170 shoes is one thing. But what if instead of $1 the price had shown up as $100? Anybody should know the $1 was a mistake, but if it's simply a low, but not ridiculously low, price, I don't think there's an automatic basis for the consumer to assume that the price is wrong.

The one thing I think is important is that all customers who place an order for the item with the incorrect price should be treated the same. Either cancel all of the orders, or honor all of them, or whatever, just don't honor the bad price for some people but not others.

renaldow
02-04-02, 01:51 PM
I'm of the 'If they honor it great, if not oh, well,' faction of online mispricing.

People who feel they are entitled to something annoy me. A mistake is a mistake. 40% off when it should've been 10% is one thing, but when you see something like the Mad Max DVD selling for .14, the Hitchcock box set for $13, you know there's a mistake and if you believe you will get it, you are a fool. If you believe you are entitled to it for some reason, or that it is owed to you, you are a bigger fool.

Copenhagen
02-04-02, 02:00 PM
Originally posted by renaldow
I'm of the 'If they honor it great, if not oh, well,' faction of online mispricing.

People who feel they are entitled to something annoy me. A mistake is a mistake. 40% off when it should've been 10% is one thing, but when you see something like the Mad Max DVD selling for .14, the Hitchcock box set for $13, you know there's a mistake and if you believe you will get it, you are a fool. If you believe you are entitled to it for some reason, or that it is owed to you, you are a bigger fool.

I am in total agreement with this. There is a fine line to walk here. Sure we would all like to take advantage of a great deal, but when they are as obvious as the ones above it could lead to higher prices in the future or even causing a smaller company to close its doors. Should they check the accuracy of their pricing more, yes. Should they honor misprices, maybe to a point. There should be some sort of compensation like 10%, free shipping, or something similar, but to expect them to honor something like the Hitchcock set is insane.

Thespian68
02-04-02, 02:27 PM
Originally posted by renaldow
I'm of the 'If they honor it great, if not oh, well,' faction of online mispricing.

People who feel they are entitled to something annoy me. A mistake is a mistake. 40% off when it should've been 10% is one thing, but when you see something like the Mad Max DVD selling for .14, the Hitchcock box set for $13, you know there's a mistake and if you believe you will get it, you are a fool. If you believe you are entitled to it for some reason, or that it is owed to you, you are a bigger fool.

Perfectly stated renaldow.

My stance with any retailer who has made a pricing error, large or small is simple....if I really want the item, I concede there was an error, and politely ask if a fair compromise would be to obtain the item at the retailer's wholesale cost. Most times out of goodwill storeowners will do this.

There are stores that continually seem to have "pricing errors" which are never honored. Its their right to do this, just as it will be my right to opt not to shop there for any items. For places that have made good faith efforts to amend a mistake (either by honoring the misprice, providing a generous discount off the correct price, or providing a generous future discount) I accept that fact and likely will do business there again assuming the products and service warrant a return trip.

msharkm
02-04-02, 09:11 PM
The one thing I think is important is that all customers who place an order for the item with the incorrect price should be treated the same. Either cancel all of the orders, or honor all of them, or whatever, just don't honor the bad price for some people but not others.

KyleB, while honorable, your request for 'fairness' is probably impossible in the real world. It probably takes a little time for word to be disseminated to the troops that a particular item's price is jacked up. A few orders may slip through. The fact that this woman knows some of the people who got lucky doesn't matter.

The question is: What did her friends do for her for getting them the great deal?

JohnPhoenix
02-04-02, 11:06 PM
if a e-tailer has a policy about pricing errors, then they can do whatever they want (we agree to those policies when placing an order). however, with sites that have no policies, they should honor the mis-price until stock runs out.

With that said, I'm of the "hope they honor, but oh well if they don't" group for the most part.

J-Dubya
02-04-02, 11:34 PM
If I was that guy, I would have waited until the order came before telling anyone about it. Why risk losing out on an obvious error?

jason978
02-04-02, 11:47 PM
Give you the item at cost

LBPound
02-10-02, 06:46 PM
When a site makes a pricing <b>error</b>, that is their error, and they should not be able to just apologize to customers and wish them a nice day. Amazon does this all the time, bringing in free publicity when the item is not usually available elsewhere and people will often just keep the order and agree to the higher price since it is easier.

In this case, selling a pair of shoes that cost $169 for $1 is a big problem, and a company can lose a lot of money that way. But it certainly is unfair that some people could keep the $1 shoes and others not.

I believe that a more favorable compromise could have been reached, such as a previous poster mentioned, selling at cost. That way they lose no money, and they are not gaining money to cover their error from this person.

Amazon will usually do nothing though. And then there was Barnes and Noble and Flooz.

Rainman15
02-11-02, 10:39 AM
Originally posted by LBPound
When a site makes a pricing <b>error</b>, that is their error, and they should not be able to just apologize to customers and wish them a nice day. Amazon does this all the time, bringing in free publicity when the item is not usually available elsewhere and people will often just keep the order and agree to the higher price since it is easier.

In this case, selling a pair of shoes that cost $169 for $1 is a big problem, and a company can lose a lot of money that way. But it certainly is unfair that some people could keep the $1 shoes and others not.

I believe that a more favorable compromise could have been reached, such as a previous poster mentioned, selling at cost. That way they lose no money, and they are not gaining money to cover their error from this person.

Amazon will usually do nothing though. And then there was Barnes and Noble and Flooz.

This is precisely why I refuse to do business with Amazon. They frequently make pricing errors, especially on pre-orders. After a period of time, they notify customers of the corrected price. Smells of bait and switch to me.:johnwoo:

D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB)
02-14-02, 02:22 AM
It should be like at a regular retail store...If an item is marked at a lower price, than the retailer is required to give it to you at the lower price.

Deke Rivers
02-14-02, 08:20 AM
They should honor it..anytime Ive encountered this situation in a b&m they honor the mistake-just cuz the store is on the internet they shouldnt get out of it

diacritic
02-14-02, 10:36 AM
Originally posted by dpham00
It should be like at a regular retail store...If an item is marked at a lower price, than the retailer is required to give it to you at the lower price.

Yes, but a retail store may have five or six copies of the said misprice. It would not affect their business at all, even if they gave those five copies away for free. But if 30,000 people order Mad Max for fourteen cents, I think it would mean bankruptcy for the online store to fulfill their offers... Let's be reasonable here.

D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB)
02-14-02, 10:46 AM
Originally posted by diacritic


Yes, but a retail store may have five or six copies of the said misprice. It would not affect their business at all, even if they gave those five copies away for free. But if 30,000 people order Mad Max for fourteen cents, I think it would mean bankruptcy for the online store to fulfill their offers... Let's be reasonable here.

Yes, but for example, if BB had a HDTV labeled for $1, the B&M would be required to sell it at that price.

diacritic
02-14-02, 11:14 AM
Originally posted by dpham00


Yes, but for example, if BB had a HDTV labeled for $1, the B&M would be required to sell it at that price.

You are right, but two or ten HDTVs would not even make a ripple in their bank account . . .

I am not criticizing you by the way, I would be more than happy to see these large corporations be forced to honor misprices and lose some money... my only fear is that once the little guys who cannot absorb misprices go out of business, we will be left with one or two giant corporations who can sell at full MSRP if they like.

D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB)
02-14-02, 01:10 PM
Originally posted by diacritic


You are right, but two or ten HDTVs would not even make a ripple in their bank account . . .

I am not criticizing you by the way, I would be more than happy to see these large corporations be forced to honor misprices and lose some money... my only fear is that once the little guys who cannot absorb misprices go out of business, we will be left with one or two giant corporations who can sell at full MSRP if they like.

well, my thing is, they should have good programmers so they wouldn't come into this problem. the system should not allow a person to add a $.14 item to his/her cart and check out with it. they should put like a $2 minimum or something. even on clearance, i haven't seen dvds below that price (even the crappy ones).

Al Simmons
02-14-02, 02:58 PM
Having good programmer fix the unseen problems that users make is like having god talk to you. I've been doing contract work for software development for more than 7 years and soon will retire from it. One thing I have learned is the you can always predict what the CPU/OS will do but you never can predict what a user will do, sure you can build a smal AI or set of "If else statements" to safe guard against the human element, but if the customer wants cheap then the customer will get cheap. Not all programmers do this in fact most won't unless told to do so.

I think you have to think of online sites like the print adds for a B&M store, what if BB had Shrek for $1 in it's weekly ad would they honor it or not. It they did horor it how would that make up for the loss, buy raising prices on other products or doing less discounts for new releases and don't forget they also own the Media Play's and Suncoast's that sell their products near or at retail prices. Still this is only one Ad in one city and BB would only need to increase in prices by 0.1% to make up the loss, however a website is worldwide and could see more traffic then all of the BBs in one city. BB could always hold the product back until the ad goes out of date. I know big corps can handle that kind of set back but one thing every business will do big or small is maxamize that bottom line. Small businesses do not have the operating capital to overcome such mistakes.

If a customer comes across such a mistake in pricing then they should feel obligated to tell a business of the mistake not try too take advantage, like telling everyone you know, in the end everyone will loose, by prices either going up or the business itself no longer being around. Of course this applies only to small businesses which I'm sure is 90% of the e-tailers out there are.

D.Pham4GLTE (>60GB)
02-14-02, 05:30 PM
Originally posted by Al Simmons
If a customer comes across such a mistake in pricing then they should feel obligated to tell a business of the mistake not try too take advantage, like telling everyone you know, in the end everyone will loose, by prices either going up or the business itself no longer being around. Of course this applies only to small businesses which I'm sure is 90% of the e-tailers out there are.

question is, what constitutes a pricing mistake and what constitutes a sale. If Frys had a HDTV that's normally $1000, but tagged at $300, who knows? it could be a clearanced item, or maybe a manager's special. And then, it could also be a misprice.

batjann
02-15-02, 07:29 AM
Usually when e-tailers have sales on, they come right out and advertise the fact that it's a sale. They don't just put a product up on site at a rediculously low price and not say anything.


Content Relevant URLs by vBSEO 3.2.0