Fly2HMO
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Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:26 am

Stupid question: Isn't there a law out there saying that if somebody advertises X product at Y price, even if it's incorrect, they HAVE to sell to you at that incorrect price? Or is it an urban legend?

Take this for example:

http://www.cars.com/go/search/detail...0%26feedSegId%3D28705&aff=national

A brand new Golf, advertised for $2 grand. MSRP is $17 grand for these.   

I know many places have disclaimers saying they can not honr incorrect prices and yadda yadda yadda, but however, many other places don't have those disclaimers, as in those adds.

So, could I walk up to the dealer and have him sell it to me at that price, even though there may be a big sticker on the car saying the correct price?

I'd like to hear about this, cuz I really want a Golf bad 
 
JBirdAV8r
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 2:36 am

Quoting Fly2HMO (Thread starter):
Stupid question: Isn't there a law out there saying that if somebody advertises X product at Y price, even if it's incorrect, they HAVE to sell to you at that incorrect price? Or is it an urban legend?

Urban legend. In addition, disclaimers are usually in the fine print.

What I don't know is how the FTC would feel about such a "whoopsie" if it had a detrimental effect to the competition. Like if thousands of people went down to Fred's VW to get that $2000 Golf, didn't get it, but bought $20K GTI's instead--and stole all of Mark's VW's business. That's one for the legal beagles of A.net.
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einsteinboricua
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:50 am

Quoting JBirdAV8r (Reply 1):
Quoting Fly2HMO (Thread starter):
Stupid question: Isn't there a law out there saying that if somebody advertises X product at Y price, even if it's incorrect, they HAVE to sell to you at that incorrect price? Or is it an urban legend?

Urban legend. In addition, disclaimers are usually in the fine print.

It depends on the region. In Puerto Rico, for instance, if there's no disclaimer then it's sold at that price and it's something the government enforces very strictly.

For instance, I worked at Toys R Us during the 08 holiday season (ugh...worst time and place to work...EVER )    . If a customer found, say, a Barbie doll for $5.00 because it was incorrectly labeled but the cash register marked it at full price (around $10-$12...whatever), if the customer raised a complaint, then we would verify the situation. If the doll was, indeed, incorrectly labeled because there was no special offering but rather a printing error, then the customer could leave with the Barbie doll for $5.00. Of course, after that, the label would be removed until another one is printed.

If you don't show a price, then you can charge full price since that what the customer is prepared for. If it was on a sale catalog or had a label and the customer caught on, then unless the area lacks a law that protects consumers, then the customer should be allowed to leave with the item at the price it was advertised/labeled.

However, another thing is when there's a price and there are other things in the fine print. Take cell phones for instance. Some companies offer you a free phone. That sounds great, until you read that you have to sign up to their ultimate offer where you pay $80 per month.

What about airline tickets? "Your fare total is $150". Get to the airport: there's a baggage fee and a service fee for said baggage fee. There's also a carry on fee...eventually your trip is not worth $150...BUT there's a disclaimer that states the fees you will incur, so in that case, there's not much you can do except travel lightly or go another way.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
gatorfan
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 3:50 am

an advertisement is usually considered an invitation to make an offer and NOT an offer to sell. However, if the ad specifically identifies the individual item for sale then it may constitute an offer which can be accepted by the buyer.

One of the leading cases which illustrates this is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lefkowi...eat_Minneapolis_Surplus_Store,_Inc

If car dealership specifically listed the VIN number of the car and advertised it for $2K, then the first person to show up and tender the $2K would have a very strong argument that an enforceable contract had been formed.
 
ATCtower
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:13 am

The courts have ordered, and however short it may be, this is your answer...

Advertised in a publication, ie. advertisement, newspaper, coupon, etc. it is not legally obligated to endorse the stated price.

A tag of a price on a store shelf is not an advertisement, but rather an offer of said price for said product and holds a compulsory obligation to oblige said price.
By reading the above post you waive all rights to be offended. If you do not like what you read, forget it.
 
WrenchBender
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:37 am

Sounds and looks like a classic 'bait and switch', which is illegal if someone decides to prosecute/push it.

WrenchBender
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Fly2HMO
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:38 am

Ah bummer, there go my plans to get a cheap new Golf     
 
flymia
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:15 am

I think the law is if you buy it at the price and its a confirmed purcahse etc.. its yours at that price. But if they find the error of course they dont have to sell at the price which is an error. This is for advertisements.

If a bag of chips says 50cents on the counter and they charge me $3 that is illegal. So I guess if a car sticker on the window of the car says $5,500 but its a $55,000 car does the dealer need to sell it at $5,500 if you see that sticker?
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petertenthije
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 5:46 am

In NL you can take advantage when it is not obviously a mistake. A car sold for 2.000 instead of 20.000 is an obvious mistake and therefor won't qualify. A car sold for 15.000 instead of 20.000 is ok though. If it goes to court, then it is up to the shop keeper to proof a mistake was made.

Often when something like this happens the shop keeper will still sell at the advertised price, possibly with some strings attached. This to avoid bad publicity.
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falstaff
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:40 pm

Back in 1992 I bought a Pioneer cassette tape changer for $99.95 from Service Merchandise, in St. Louis. The item should have been listed for $399.95 but the circular in the Sunday paper was wrong and I got it for the advertised price. Seven years later it was stolen from me in a burglary. I wish I still had it those things aren't common and it was a real conversation piece.
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connies4ever
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 4:51 pm

Quoting gatorfan (Reply 3):
an advertisement is usually considered an invitation to make an offer and NOT an offer to sell. However, if the ad specifically identifies the individual item for sale then it may constitute an offer which can be accepted by the buyer.

One of the leading cases which illustrates this is:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lefkowi...eat_Minneapolis_Surplus_Store,_Inc

If car dealership specifically listed the VIN number of the car and advertised it for $2K, then the first person to show up and tender the $2K would have a very strong argument that an enforceable contract had been formed.

My understanding as well from by business law course a few years ago - and for Canada, which still essentially uses British common law (except in Quebec, of course).
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einsteinboricua
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Fri Jul 02, 2010 6:13 pm

Quoting flymia (Reply 7):
So I guess if a car sticker on the window of the car says $5,500 but its a $55,000 car does the dealer need to sell it at $5,500 if you see that sticker?

That's a bit too obvious and no doubt someone will point out the mistake. BUT that should be the way to do it. We're talking smaller things like a coat for $100 and being labeled as a $30 coat...stuff like that.
"You haven't seen a tree until you've seen its shadow from the sky."
 
IADCA
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Sat Jul 03, 2010 5:12 am

Quoting einsteinboricua (Reply 11):
That's a bit too obvious and no doubt someone will point out the mistake. BUT that should be the way to do it. We're talking smaller things like a coat for $100 and being labeled as a $30 coat...stuff like that.

This thread is two separate questions.

The first is, does the erroneous advertisement create an offer to sell at that price. As pointed out, in most situations, no.

The second is what happens if they do sell it anyway - as in, someone makes a valid offer and acceptance: can it be re-formed or rescinded because of one of the mistake doctrines? This is generally a situation of unilateral mistake, in which case it somewhat depends what state you're in, but generally if the non-mistaken party knows of the other's mistake and tries to take advantage of it anyway, that party won't get the benefit of the mistake - some places, this will allow rescission, others just reformation. In other words, if you see a 50,000 dollar car offered for 5k, it's not going to work. However, if they go beyond the advertisement and actually do more to reinforce an actual willingness to sell it at a ridiculous price, you might have a valid case.
 
andz
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:22 am

Here it is standard to read in almost all advertisements... E&OE. Errors and Omissions Excepted.

It is part of the terms and conditions attached to all quotations issued by my employer.
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...
 
photopilot
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Sat Jul 03, 2010 11:44 am

In Ontario, the consumer gets the price the product is advertised at, or the price marked on the item, even if it is wrong. The caveat however is that a business is only required to sell ONE ITEM at that price, then is allowed to change the price to the correct price. In other words, they complied with their advertised price by technically selling one, then made the correction.
Now, in the case of a car dealer or something like that, what simply happens is that the manager or someone else buys the "one" and that's it. So as a consumer, if you see an obvious mistake in a price you've not likely to be able to be the one to get that price.
In a store however, if you're shopping and notice a LEGITIMATE price tag on a item and it's wrong but a low price, you can legally demand the store to accept that price. However, the store has now sold you one item, and again, can legally go and change the prices.
One other wrinkle is that a store is not allowed to "overprice" an item with a second sticker. If a price is being changed, the old price sticker MUST be removed and the new price sticker put on. If the stockboy is lazy and just slaps a new price sticker that is higher, over the old lower price sticker, you can legally demand the lower price just by peeling up the higher price sticker.
It's all under the Consumer Protection Laws against false or misleading advertising or bait and switch.

It keeps stores on their toes to say the least.
 
andz
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RE: Taking Advantage Of Erroneous Prices, Legality?

Sat Jul 03, 2010 12:40 pm

Quoting photopilot (Reply 14):
If the stockboy is lazy and just slaps a new price sticker that is higher, over the old lower price sticker, you can legally demand the lower price just by peeling up the higher price sticker.

That applies here too but price stickers are extremely rare in these days of barcoding.
After Monday and Tuesday even the calendar says WTF...

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