Sale of Goods
A few weeks ago, my favourite sandals broke. They were few years old and had been to the US and to Menorca, but looked as though they were much newer than they were. Since I don’t mind recommending good products, the manufacturer is Birkenstock and the model is the “Ramses” (I discovered that today – of which, more later). These sandals were incredibly comfortable and had also doubled up as slippers for round the house. Then the T-bar came away from the sole and they weren’t fixable. They were bought in a sale and I had more wear from them than I expected and so I bid them farewell.
And they look like this:
Today, I was at Bluewater Shopping Centre in Kent and I saw, in a shoe shop (of all places), the excat model and colour of my sandals. Great, I thought, normally the model is withdrawn after a year and something else is put in it’s place. I went in and saw that they had my size and they were labelled for Â£34.99 (63.62USD, 86.96AUD, 71.48CAD and 50.87EUR, according to http://www.xe.com). So I told the shop assistant to get me the other shoe (the left one) and went to pay for them.
I put all of that detail in not to bore you with the minutiae of my life, but to impress upon you how happy I was that this was to be a straightforward easy transaction. I hate going to Bluewater, it’s too noisy and too annoying. I was to be in and out of this shop in ten minutes. Or so I thought.
When I arrived at the cash desk, the cashier asked me for Â£39.99. This gave me pause and I queried the price on the grounds that the label said something entirely different. He then said something absolutely ridiculous and wrong: “if the label says a lower price, we have to charge the higher price.” Now, having spent the first 5 years of my working life in retail, I know that the legal term for what he said is “bullshit” – the law states, and has done for years, that if this happens the retailer has 2 choices: the first is to sell the item at the marked price, the second is to withdraw the whole line from sale and to reprice all the items at the correct price. I explained this to him and then to his manager. They both stood by their stories. Yes, that’s right, they told me a story.
I wanted the sandals and didn’t want to lose it in a shop over a fiver, so I gave them my patented filthy look and left with my sandals. And then, because I have the internet on my computer, decided to look this up.
The Department for Trade and Industry (DTI) has the law on this matter:
The Code of Practice for Traders on Price Indications provides advice on how to avoid giving a misleading price indication, which is an offence under the Consumer Protection Act 1987.
Basically, the trader can ignore the legislation, but it looks very bad for them in court if they do so.
The FAQs state:
Q1. I was charged a different price for an item at the till to the one that was shown on the shelf, what are my rights?
The Consumer Protection Act 1987 makes it an offence for a trader to give a consumer misleading price indications. In the first instance speak to the trader about the differing prices, if you are not satisfied with the response, contact your local authority trading standards department who enforce the Act and who could bring a prosecution against the trader.
Q3. A local trader is giving a misleading price indication, what should I do?
Contact your local authority trading standards department, who would look in to the matter and take any necessary action.
I must say that I have never had cause to contact the Trading Standards people and really don’t know if I can be bothered to do so. It’s Â£5 and, to be honest, I would have paid the higher amount without a thought if it had been marked as such.Â On the other hand, the store is completely in the wrong and tried to baffle me with bullshit.Â It would be satisfying to do something about this.
The Trading Satndards Office say this:
If the seller is in business (rather than a private seller), he may have committed a criminal offence if he:
advertises a misleading price
That’s from this page. Â So, again, the trader is in the wrong.Â I think I’ll start the ball rolling by contacting the customer service department.Â And if I get no joy there, I’ll be in touch with Trading Standards.
The store, by the way, is Schuh.Â So be careful if you shop there.