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I ran across this in an article:

"In some countries, e-commerce regulations require retailers to comply with prices even if the markdown is unintentional."

Anyone happen to know which countries (or states) those might be? I'm guessing there are some advertising tales about this kind of mistake.

Marcia Yudkin
#prices #typos
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  • Profile picture of the author Jason Kanigan
    Interesting...in Canada I was taught a retail price tag is an "invitation to treat" (meaning discuss, negotiate, but that the price tag was essentially a reference number or starting-off point.) You can take items to checkout and ask for discounts for whatever reasons. Cheap old me used to do that occasionally when an item was visibly marked or damaged but I knew I could fix it. They often give 10% off just for asking.

    In the US I'm not sure and haven't considered it as my purchasing power doubled as soon as I moved here lol.

    Some court cases would be eye-opening I'm sure...if the cases took the issue up the chain from the more-recent ecommere regs to compare against the pre-existing and well-aged regular commerce rules...and see which held greater validity.

    Nice topic find!

    This page seems useful for the US market: https://www.hg.org/ecommerce-law.html

    Also googling "what if I put the wrong price online" got me some good results from different country sources. The regs in the US are state-specific.

    EDIT: FINE, John, I Am Not A Lawyer. This is not legal advice. You keep on having my back lol.
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    • Profile picture of the author JohnMcCabe
      Originally Posted by Jason Kanigan View Post

      Also googling "what if I put the wrong price online" got me some good results from different country sources. The regs in the US are state-specific.
      [Insert standard IANAL disclaimer]

      Based on things I've seen over the years, regs can also be media specific. For example, if a product in a store has a price tag with one price and the UPC brings up a higher price at the register, the store has to honor the lower price. That's assuming all other codes are correct, and there's no attempt at fraud by switching price tags. The same would apply to display pricing - if the shelf tag shows $2.05 and the register scans $2.50, you pay the $2.05.

      On the other hand, if a store flyer in a newspaper has a misprint, the store is not obligated to honor the incorrect price. They simply have to put a notice at the point of display. No store is going to sell a $279 TV for $2.79 because the typesetter messed up.

      I'd be interested in how such laws would apply to online purchases, and if an advertiser has any liability if the seller were forced to honor an incorrect price.
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      • Profile picture of the author Frank Donovan
        In the UK, contrary to the misconception held by most of the general public, bricks and mortar retailers are not obliged by law to honor pricing errors on items at the point of purchase. They can simply refuse the transaction, or ask for the correct price. However, once the customer has paid for the item, the retailer has no right to later recover the extra cost. In practice, most retailers tend to allow the customer to have the item at the marked price as long as the difference isn't too great.

        Originally Posted by JohnMcCabe View Post

        I'd be interested in how such laws would apply to online purchases, and if an advertiser has any liability if the seller were forced to honor an incorrect price.
        This is where an online retailer needs a clear set of terms and conditions which defines at what point the contract is accepted. This could be either when the customer has paid for the item OR when the goods are delivered. It's an important point, because up until the acceptance of the contract, the retailer is under no obligation to sell at a mistakenly listed price.

        Again, this applies to retailers in the UK. Other countries' mileage may vary.
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    • Profile picture of the author posinfo1
      The principle of "invitation to treat" is part of English contract law. Essentially when something is displayed in a shop with a price tag the shop owner is inviting the shopper to make an offer to buy it at the price. The shop owner does not have to accept the offer and sell the product.
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