Heads-up. French mistake at Wickes????


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Established Member
20 Jan 2004
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The story starts with me going to Wickes this morning to get one plaster bead to finish a job (thats the last time I underestimate on a job- but thats another story). Whilst passing the internal doors I notice some alarming prices!!!!!

HARDWOOD internal GLAZED french doors at £19.97 a pair!!!! Not a sale price, but standard price!!! From an old catalogue it appears they may have missed the first "1" from the price!!! ie should be £119.97?!! Needless to say, since I need a pair to finish off a house I'm renovating, so I took a pair quickly.

Since all these things are computerised these days, the doors registered as £19.97 at the till so I paid, and left pronto.

I assume this mistake will be national so if you need some doors get down there quickly before they realise!

Yes, I know the quality might not be great, but I'm sure not upgrading to tenon construction for an extra £300.

Happy hunting
Hmmm... I think I might get branded as a killjoy for this, but anyway...

Wicke's would, I believe, be able to claim the difference from any buyers after the event as this is so obviously a mistake and the buyers are taking unfair advantage of it by expoliting a silly error.
There was a case a little while ago where Comet or Dixons or someone had a TV on their website for £30 instead of £300, another obvious mistake, and they were allowed to claim the difference from anyone who had bought one (or, I guess, ask for it to be returned for a refund).
My parents experienced a similar situation. Think theyd bought a new sink and taps and they where marked up wrong, wasnt a huge mistake about 6 quid I think. But the vendor still demanded the money at a later date.

I think that was a bit harsh, Signal, a small amount like that could be down to competitive pricing! I would have thought in a case like that the vendor would have swallowed hard and put it down to experience... although I wonder what the threshold amount is that makes it worth going after?

Yup exactly my thoughts to, when you consider the cost to recoup the 6 quid i dont suppose there was a lot of it left if any. Nowt stranger n folk as they say :wink:

This is from the trading standards web site and is in line with my understanding of buying from a trader in person. Web is different since you agree to "terms".

"Generally speaking, in contract law terms, a retailer does not have to sell an item at the marked price. For there to be a binding contract there has to be an offer which has been accepted. In the context of sale of goods, the offer is made by the customer when he/she presents the goods at the payment point (ie the customer offers to buy the goods at the marked price).

The till operator is then free to accept, or reject, that offer. This means that if a till operator spots that goods have been mispriced, he/she can reject a customer's offer to buy at the incorrect price, and offer the customer the chance to buy at the correct price.

The customer may decline or accept that offer as he/she chooses. "

In other words once they have excepted the offer, its a contract and binding? Otherwise we could all sell stuff at a price then decide to change our minds later and charge more! The rules are such to allow you to haggle as required?

Anyone know for sure? Any lawyer woodworkers (heaven forbid!!)?

PS: I sold a classic MG nearly 15 years ago for a song, maybe I'll track them down and get some more for it!!
Hi Sam

Valid points, but there must be a mechanism in place to cover genuine mistakes which are not spotted at the till. After all, we're talking here of a mistake to the benefit of the buyer. Mistakes can occur both ways such as where an article is priced on the shelf at one price but goes through the till at a higher price. In a supermarket buying dozens of products such a mistake could easily go through the till unnoticed.
The customer has the right to go back and challenge the price charged (and again, I guess, get a refund if the higher price is correct and they don't want to pay it) and most reputable shops will honour this with no arguement, which is as it should be. But if the shop decides to stick to the 'binding contract' implied by the transaction being completed this surely cannot be in the 'spirit' of the law.

Anyone here have the definitive answer?
Just a thought, but how on earth are they going to track you down unless you give a name/address? Simply pay cash and thank you very much :wink:
yup, thats ok if you have cash, me I never ever have cash :cry:

Mistakes can occur both ways such as where an article is priced on the shelf at one price but goes through the till at a higher price. In a supermarket buying dozens of products such a mistake could easily go through the till unnoticed.
The customer has the right to go back and challenge the price charged

Yes, but here you have a situation where:

(a) customer presents item at till, making an offer to purchase it at the price on the shelf

(b) till puts it through at a different price

(c) customer may or may not notice.

Step (b) is effectively the shop refusing the customer's offer and making a counter-offer. The customer is free to decline that and walk away, or accept it. If the customer doesn't notice that the shop has rung it through at the higher price, there is a genuine mistake as the parties are entering into the contract on a fundamental different assumption as to one of the key terms of the contract- the price. The contract is therefore voidable. There's no obligation on the shop to honour the shelf ticket price, but the customer can demand that the shop accept the goods back and return the money.

If, however, the ticket price is higher than rung through at the till, what happens is the customer makes an offer to buy at the higher price. The shop declines that offer, but makes a counter-offer to sell at the lower price. The customer accepts that offer, and hands over the money. Both the shop and the customer know what the price is - the shop can't claim it didn't know what price it was offering to sell the goods at, because it made the offer. No fundamental mistake, contract is binding.

The mistake has to be a fundamental mistake as to the terms of the contract. The ticket price in the latter instance is irrelevant to those terms, as it doesn't come into it. The customer's attempt to set up a contract on the price suggested by the ticket was rejected, and that contract didn't happen. The contract that did happen was based on the price offeredd by the shop.

Enough lawyering for one day, I'm off home.


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