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 Great, I thought, normally the model is withdrawn after a year and something else is put in it’s place.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 £34.99 (63.62USD, 86.96AUD, 71.48CAD and 50.87EUR, according to 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 £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 £5 and, to be honest, I would have paid the higher amount without a thought if it had been marked as such.  On the other hand, the store is completely in the wrong and tried to baffle me with bullshit.  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.   So, again, the trader is in the wrong.  I think I’ll start the ball rolling by contacting the customer service department.  And if I get no joy there, I’ll be in touch with Trading Standards.

The store, by the way, is Schuh.  So be careful if you shop there.


Posted on 24 June, 2006, in Generalities, Rants. Bookmark the permalink. 42 Comments.

  1. Right, I’ve written to them. Let’s see what happens.

  2. what’s with it with sandals? I had a much beloved (and travelled) pair of sandals give up the ghost, and had to go and buy new ones- great, to find a sandal that I actually like again. “Hey look! they are a slightly different colour, but those are my sandals! cool!”

    You’d think that companies would twig onto the fact that if people like something they will try and buy the same thing again when the first wears out.

  3. That sounds like a sensible idea. And that’s why they never do it.

  4. Wow – Looks like you’re pretty attached to those sandals! 😛

    I concur about the misleading price – I never actually knew the details of the laws about it, but I knew there was something against the seller(s) for having that.

    I hope it all turns out well, Ray – and congrats on being able to find the same sandals 😉

  5. They are definitely among the best footwear I have owned. What annoyed me was the fact that they couldn’t even lie correctly – if they’d said, “very sorry, that particular one is on sale” or something similar I’d have probably left without a backward glance.

  6. At my new job, I can wear sandals again. I love my sandals, life is good once again. And yes, it’s hard to give up a pair of sandals after getting attached. Unfortunately, the sandals I have now didn’t last as long as the one’s previously, the bottoms are wearing thin so I’ll be in the market probably by summers end for a new pair.

  7. Glad you reported them; a fiver here and there quickly adds up to hundreds, if not thousands, of pounds defrauded from the public.

    Rotten SOBs.

    Em (the wife) just bought me a pair of sandals; my first since I was a kid, in fact.

    Dunno what I did without them.

  8. That was my thought when my other half bought me mine – hadn’t needed them since I was a kid, suddenly they’re indispensable.

  9. They’re definitely useful when you’re going to the beach.. You don’t get tons of sand in your socks/shoes :mrgreen:

    Oh, yeah, I almost forgot – there are hardly any good beaches in England. Make that none 😀 Hehe..

    I get pretty attached to my sandals, too. But, unfortunately, when put through my intense usage, they don’t last long..

  10. Sorry – I just wanted to brag about being able to visit your site in Firefox while Ubuntu 6.06 is installing (and the installation is about to finish, 20 minutes after I started it) :mrgreen:

    It beats the heck out of coming here on Links while waiting for Gentoo’s

  11. It looks like the rest of my post was cut off 😛 Here it is:

    It beats the heck out of coming here on Links while waiting for Gentoo’s

  12. Ah, I see what the problem is.. It looks like my comment is being cut off at the ‘greater than’ sign. Oh well… Here’s the comment, again! Sorry to spam your post, Ray 😦

    Sorry – I just wanted to brag about being able to visit your site in Firefox while Ubuntu 6.06 is installing (and the installation is about to finish, 20 minutes after I started it) :mrgreen:

    It beats the heck out of coming here on Links while waiting for Gentoo’s 1 hour plus installation to complete 😛

    All I need to do once it’s installed is to get it to recognise the damn ATi Mobility Radeon X700XL and give me the 1280x800px 16-bit quality I deserve 😀 Hehe..

  13. Heheh – html strikes again! And I agree, the Gentoo install can be a pain.

    I have heard back from Schuh and they are sending me a voucher which will be able to be set against the whole price of whatever I get from them and isn’t time limited! So that’s ok then.

  14. Aye – I gave up on Gentoo in the end. And I’m glad I did! 😀 Hehe… Nah – I might give it another go some time in the future. I’ve also got a copy of Solaris 10 (DVD) waiting for me to try it, and a copy of FC5, and another of *gasp* Vista 😯 And several other distros which I want to try out.. But, Ubuntu 6.06 is staying on my laptop – and Slackware is staying on my desktop at home. There’s no doubt about that 😀

    Glad to hear you got a voucher – at least they gave you something for their error 😉

    On another bright note.. I got the ATi driver working.. I installed some extra software.. I set up XGL.. And I wrote a tut on all of it :mrgreen: However, I haven’t hosted it on my site, because I have entered it into a competition on a forum I frequent and its rules are that I cannot publish the tut elsewhere for at least a month.. So I may just provide a link to it from my site in the meantime 🙂

  15. *Wishes he were as cool as J_K9

  16. Doesn’t everyone? :mrgreen:

    J/k 😛

    *J_K9 gets up on the table a starts dancing

  17. I have never yet got the ati driver working on this Thinkpad. I will try at some point, but I can’t recall Nvidia giving this much hassle….

  18. Whenever I’m going to buy a new graphics card (or anything that brings one), I try to go for NVidia’s products.. Why? Because NVidia have put much more effort into producing a good driver for Linux than ATi have, although the situation is improving with the latter. But, until ATi get their act together (and not only with the Linux driver – their Windows drivers, and in particular downloading them from their website, is a complete mess).

    Try setting up the ATi driver on Ubuntu – you should be pleasantly surprised! 😀 At least it doesn’t require you to compile a new kernel (Slackware comes to mind) 😉

    Ubuntu is staying on my laptop, and Slackware is staying on my desktop. There’s no doubt about that 😀

  19. It seems that the video card on this machine isn’t compatible with the driver. If you feel like mailing me a text version of the tutorial, I’d like to give it a go. It’s not desperately important for me to have the full range of graphics available to me (not much of a games player), but I’d like to see if it’s possible….

    *actually, scrap that, I just found the link in one of your other posts.  Cos I is clever like that 🙂 *

  20. “It seems that the video card on this machine isn’t compatible with the driver.”

    Really? How new/old is the GPU?

    And are you working at your screen’s native resolution without the ATi driver, or not? Mine was at 800×600 on my 1280×800 screen before I installed the driver – and there was no way I could change that :mrgreen:

    “Cos I is clever like that”

    Sure you are :mrgreen: 😉

  21. *Wishes he were clever like that too.


    Sick, stupid and not clever…that’s me! 😉

  22. “Sick, stupid and not clever…that’s me!”

    I hope you get better soon.. Then you’ll only be stupid and not clever 😀

    // Aren’t those exactly the same – stupid and not clever? :mrgreen:

  23. Dang! You discovered my secret!

    Now what am I going to do?

  24. Run and hide. And never come back…


  25. It’s a Thinkpad R40 and is relatively recent – I probably just need to go through and recompile the kernel. I get 1024×768 with the generic driver so I’m not hugely bothered really.

  26. Just kidding, Charred 😉

    Ray – Ah, that sucks.. I just don’t like running at a lower resolution on a good screen – it makes me slightly dizzy 🙂 Plus, the extra working space comes in handy when you’re trying to do more than one thing at the same time!

    But I guess that’s what workspaces and XGL are for? :mrgreen:

  27. (I know, ah wuz jist a-playin’ along)

    My Ma got an Alienware laptop a while ago, and I saw it for the first time today.

    It was a near-religious experience.

    I WILL have one, it WILL run Slackware, and it WILL be the most awesome laptop EVER!

    *Runs off to count his savings.

  28. Good luck with that Charred – I believe that Slack runs really well on those laptops.

    J_K9 – I think that this video card is one of the very few cards that is not supported by the stock driver. Depending on time constraints, I may end up building X from source on Slack 11, that may fix the problem….

  29. “My Ma got an Alienware laptop a while ago, and I saw it for the first time today.”

    You aren’t kidding… Lordy, I may have to shoot myself 😯

    “*Runs off to count his savings.”

    Good luck, Charred! Screenshots if you get one, please! 😀

    Ray, that sucks.. Is your native resolution 1024×768, or is it higher?
    Slack 11.. 😯 😀 I can’t wait for it to come out! In fact, I’m hopping onto the #slackware channel on IRC to catch up on the latest news 😉

  30. I can’t remember what the native resolution is – to be honest, I’ve been working at that resolution for so long that I’ve forgotten much of the detail on the laptop!

  31. Hehehe… I can imagine! Ah well… I’m quite pleased with Ubuntu – it’s a pretty good distro overall.

    What surprised me was that it doesn’t bring the ‘traceroute’ command 😯 How can it not bring traceroute? 😕

  32. They seem to leave out a number of essential tools. Not insurmountable, but puzzling….

  33. Aye – and tools which do not take up that much space? 😕

    Some main tools they have left out: gcc, g++, make, traceroute, and the list goes on… I’m surprised they included ping or ls!


    It’s not a bad distro though… Hehe!

  34. Exactly – it fulfils the criteria it has set itself and is something that you could definitely hand to newbie. It’s nicely filling a hole left by Xandros or by Mandrake (as was) – the totally easy to set up distro that stays easy when you come to use it.

  35. “the totally easy to set up distro that stays easy when you come to use it”

    Except when you try to do something more advanced with it! Hehe…

    What do you think of the up-and-coming Freespire? Will it be a success or not? Bear in mind the fact that it includes proprietary codecs, drivers, and all the other things that people like on their desktops. Someone brought this up in a reply to my tut 🙂

  36. I think that Freespire will not get much use. Because of the proprietary stuff, hardcore users will flame it to death and will never recommend it. And it’s the longer term, hardcore users who tend to be listened to by new users. Look how long it took Linspire to be grudgingly accepted.

  37. “Because of the proprietary stuff, hardcore users will flame it to death and will never recommend it. And it’s the longer term, hardcore users who tend to be listened to by new users.”

    That is exactly what I told the guy – albeit a little less bluntly! He had a point… He asked why, if I had written a tut on how to install proprietary drivers and software on Ubuntu, I would not go for Freespire and save myself the hassle? Apart from the facts that I did not want to start a distro war, Ubuntu is highly pollished and is probably the most well-known Linux distro in the world (to newbies and migrants, that is), I saw his point… But what about the users who don’t want the proprietary stuff? They have to deselect the packages during Freespire’s installation – just as much of a hassle as installing them on Ubuntu.

    Linspire has taken a long time to be accepted.. A very long time. I still don’t think it’s fully accepted. Well, if Freespire is worth the time and money spent downloading and burning it when a stable release comes out, I hope it has an easier entry than its commercial version 😉

  38. “He asked why, if I had written a tut on how to install proprietary drivers and software on Ubuntu, I would not go for Freespire and save myself the hassle?”

    He does have a point – but no one ever said that the whole thing was consistent 🙂

    If you choose to install proprietary drivers then that’s not a problem. If your distro makes you install them, then that’s a different matter.

    Then we get onto the whole “install proprietary drivers directly into the kernel” debate 🙂

  39. Precisely – and that’s just opening another can of worms 😉

    Oh, I almost forgot his other little argument. He was displeased with me calling Ubuntu “brilliant” when so much effort was required in order to get it up and running – proprietary graphics drivers, media codecs, etc. Freespire would bring these out of the box. Is saying that Ubuntu is “brilliant” not my opinion? I couldn’t care less what he thought of Ubuntu – I think it’s great, and if I do, I will say it. I’m not known for keeping my mouth shut (unless it’s a secret) 😉

  40. Great minds think alike it seems: 🙂

    And it’s entirely your fault that I installed it!

  41. Why someone would want to tell porky pies and run the risk of losing their reputation over 5 pounds is beyond me. The best thing a consumer can do in a situation like this is name-and-shame them in their blog. 😉


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