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  • FIRST POST
    • MSE Megan F
    • By MSE Megan F 16th May 17, 9:43 PM
    • 56Posts
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    MSE Megan F
    17 WOW
    MSE News:MSE investigation reveals John Lewis IS 'knowingly undersold'
    • #1
    • 16th May 17, 9:43 PM
    17 WOW
    MSE News:MSE investigation reveals John Lewis IS 'knowingly undersold' 16th May 17 at 9:43 PM
    John Lewis's famous 'Never Knowingly Undersold' policy has been called into question after it failed to reduce the price of a wide range of products it was aware were being sold cheaper elsewhere, a MoneySavingExpert.com investigation reveals...
    Read the full story:
    'MSE investigation reveals John Lewis IS 'knowingly undersold''

    Click reply below to discuss. If you haven’t already, join the forum to reply. If you aren’t sure how it all works, read our New to Forum? Intro Guide.
    Last edited by MSE Megan F; 16-05-2017 at 9:48 PM.

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Page 1
    • Pincher
    • By Pincher 16th May 17, 10:21 PM
    • 6,488 Posts
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    Pincher
    • #2
    • 16th May 17, 10:21 PM
    Price match is not automatic
    • #2
    • 16th May 17, 10:21 PM
    You can't expect John Lewis to drop the price across the country, just because Currys has a limited quantity promotion. It could be a loss leader.

    I have been buying John Lewis for 40 years, and I want them to make a healthy profit.
    What happens if you push this button?
    • POPPYOSCAR
    • By POPPYOSCAR 16th May 17, 10:31 PM
    • 10,164 Posts
    • 20,979 Thanks
    POPPYOSCAR
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 10:31 PM
    • #3
    • 16th May 17, 10:31 PM
    I think we know this has been the case for a while now but useful to see it confirmed.
    • problemcashback
    • By problemcashback 16th May 17, 10:32 PM
    • 243 Posts
    • 202 Thanks
    problemcashback
    • #4
    • 16th May 17, 10:32 PM
    • #4
    • 16th May 17, 10:32 PM
    You can't expect John Lewis to drop the price across the country, just because Currys has a limited quantity promotion. It could be a loss leader.

    I have been buying John Lewis for 40 years, and I want them to make a healthy profit.
    Originally posted by Pincher
    You then change your slogan, you can't say you aren't knowingly undersold if you then sell for a higher price. It's just common sense.

    I asked the ASA if they had ever investigated JL recently and what the outcome was as I couldn't believe they were getting away with this. Their reply was you would need to launch an official complaint to check.
    • gwapenut
    • By gwapenut 16th May 17, 10:37 PM
    • 895 Posts
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    gwapenut
    • #5
    • 16th May 17, 10:37 PM
    • #5
    • 16th May 17, 10:37 PM
    You can't expect John Lewis to drop the price across the country, just because Currys has a limited quantity promotion. It could be a loss leader.
    Originally posted by Pincher
    You mean that I can't expect John Lewis to not be knowingly undersold when they claim they're never knowingly undersold? Really, are you sure?
    • richardw
    • By richardw 16th May 17, 10:50 PM
    • 17,645 Posts
    • 7,167 Thanks
    richardw
    • #6
    • 16th May 17, 10:50 PM
    • #6
    • 16th May 17, 10:50 PM
    Martin S Lewis needs to formally complain to the ASA about JL's advertising, if he doesn't what's the point of doing this research?
    Posts are not advice and must not be relied upon.
    • Doc N
    • By Doc N 16th May 17, 11:17 PM
    • 6,085 Posts
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    Doc N
    • #7
    • 16th May 17, 11:17 PM
    • #7
    • 16th May 17, 11:17 PM
    John Lewis have been getting away with lying about this since time immemorial - about time there was a prosecution.

    Go for them MSE. They behave these days in a thoroughly disreputable manner, but continue to portray themselves as saints.

    I've just had to prise a refund out of them that should have been made automatically - if I hadn't pushed them for it, it wouldn't have been repaid. And we're talking here about well over £400!
    • Pincher
    • By Pincher 17th May 17, 12:03 AM
    • 6,488 Posts
    • 2,465 Thanks
    Pincher
    • #8
    • 17th May 17, 12:03 AM
    • #8
    • 17th May 17, 12:03 AM
    Never knowingly undersold means you can get the difference back if you could have bought it cheaper elsewhere, not John Lewis should pro-actively drop their prices.

    These days, the price match procedure is more stringent.

    You inform John Lewis that there is a cheaper price, which needs to be a physical outlet near a John Lewis store, not an online offer. It also needs to be in stock, not some flash in the pan promotion sold out in two minutes.

    They then confirm you will get the difference back.

    Last year, I bought a Bosch lawn mower this way, based on an Argos price. I got the confirmation, paid full John Lewis price, then they refunded the difference.

    The article seems to be saying John Lewis has to price match any insane promotion going, which is a sure way to bankrupt any retailer.
    What happens if you push this button?
    • Doc N
    • By Doc N 17th May 17, 7:16 AM
    • 6,085 Posts
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    Doc N
    • #9
    • 17th May 17, 7:16 AM
    • #9
    • 17th May 17, 7:16 AM
    The article seems to be saying John Lewis has to price match any insane promotion going, which is a sure way to bankrupt any retailer.
    Originally posted by Pincher
    "Our dedicated price-monitoring team proactively check the prices of branded products at our high street competitors every day, including online and during sales. If we find that they are selling the same individual product, sold with the same service conditions, at a lower price, we’ll meet that price in our shops and at johnlewis.com."

    That's what they claim, and the words 'Never Knowingly Undersold' can only, in plain English, mean one thing. That they will not knowingly sell anything at a higher price than another retailer meeting their definitions once they know about it. And one a customer has reported an undersale, they do know about it.

    If they want to keep using the slogan, to benefit from the additional sales it brings them, they should stick to what it says, but they don't.

    John Lewis is in reality quite an expensive place to shop for most things. The NKU claims make people think otherwise. It's a downright lie, and it's about time they were exposed and legal action taken against them. The Advertising Standards Authority hs found against them on more than one occasion (for example: https://www.asa.org.uk/rulings/john-lewis-partnership-plc-a16-366248.html) but it needs to go further.

    John Lewis had a fine reputation once, but it's now fast achieving a reputation for deceit and unfair trading.
    • POPPYOSCAR
    • By POPPYOSCAR 17th May 17, 7:20 AM
    • 10,164 Posts
    • 20,979 Thanks
    POPPYOSCAR
    Never knowingly undersold means you can get the difference back if you could have bought it cheaper elsewhere, not John Lewis should pro-actively drop their prices.

    These days, the price match procedure is more stringent.

    You inform John Lewis that there is a cheaper price, which needs to be a physical outlet near a John Lewis store, not an online offer. It also needs to be in stock, not some flash in the pan promotion sold out in two minutes.

    They then confirm you will get the difference back.

    Last year, I bought a Bosch lawn mower this way, based on an Argos price. I got the confirmation, paid full John Lewis price, then they refunded the difference.

    The article seems to be saying John Lewis has to price match any insane promotion going, which is a sure way to bankrupt any retailer.
    Originally posted by Pincher

    Did you actually read the article?
    • LadyDee
    • By LadyDee 17th May 17, 7:33 AM
    • 2,270 Posts
    • 2,344 Thanks
    LadyDee
    Never knowingly undersold means you can get the difference back if you could have bought it cheaper elsewhere, not John Lewis should pro-actively drop their prices.

    These days, the price match procedure is more stringent.

    You inform John Lewis that there is a cheaper price, which needs to be a physical outlet near a John Lewis store, not an online offer. It also needs to be in stock, not some flash in the pan promotion sold out in two minutes.

    They then confirm you will get the difference back.

    Last year, I bought a Bosch lawn mower this way, based on an Argos price. I got the confirmation, paid full John Lewis price, then they refunded the difference.

    The article seems to be saying John Lewis has to price match any insane promotion going, which is a sure way to bankrupt any retailer.
    Originally posted by Pincher
    Absolutely. Too many of our favourite stores have gone to the wall because of this insane bargain-chasing. We used to have lovely department stores "in the good old days" which have now become nothing other than franchise-housing outlets or disappeared altogether.

    Will JL be next? Cutting their prices (and hence partner dividends) to match the ridiculous one-day 'sales' by other stores can only have one result - the type of customer care and staff cuts/quality like Currys. None of the extended guarantees offered currently, without the hard sell.

    JL prices might be a little higher but you very seldom get anything less than first class service from very pleasant helpful staff, who on the whole go out of their way to make shopping in JL a rather better experience than buying in the likes of Currys or Tesco.
    • problemcashback
    • By problemcashback 17th May 17, 8:26 AM
    • 243 Posts
    • 202 Thanks
    problemcashback
    Never knowingly undersold means you can get the difference back if you could have bought it cheaper elsewhere, not John Lewis should pro-actively drop their prices.

    These days, the price match procedure is more stringent.

    You inform John Lewis that there is a cheaper price, which needs to be a physical outlet near a John Lewis store, not an online offer. It also needs to be in stock, not some flash in the pan promotion sold out in two minutes.

    They then confirm you will get the difference back.

    Last year, I bought a Bosch lawn mower this way, based on an Argos price. I got the confirmation, paid full John Lewis price, then they refunded the difference.

    The article seems to be saying John Lewis has to price match any insane promotion going, which is a sure way to bankrupt any retailer.
    Originally posted by Pincher




    Plenty of comments like this on the first page and its quite unbelievable really. saying you wouldn't knowingly do something and then knowingly doing it is wrong, you cannot argue with that surely. Yes it may hurt their bottom line if they had to change prices but change the slogan so that you aren't lying. You cant sell a product knowing the claims you make are false so why should you advertise something like this and get away with it.
    • spikyone
    • By spikyone 17th May 17, 8:34 AM
    • 394 Posts
    • 539 Thanks
    spikyone
    I struggle to believe that "Never Knowingly Undersold" has ever been true. A quick walk round your local branch is enough to suggest that JL's prices are not in line with the cheapest. There doesn't seem to be much proactive price matching going on at all. Of course, it's easier to confirm that in the age of the internet, where you can pop onto Amazon and any number of price comparison websites from your smartphone.
    I understand the comments about retailers offering a quality of service, and people will be willing to pay extra for that, but JL need to decide what their focus is. If it's "buy from us and get better service", there's nothing wrong with that - but they need to drop the tagline. If, on the other hand, their priority is an age-old marketing slogan, they should be doing considerably more to live up to it.
  • jamesd
    One option I like is the Currys PC World site and app where you can just click on a button to do a check against the places they match. Last one I used was a handy £40 or so discount on a combination oven that was cheaper at John Lewis, which doesn't have a store anywhere near me - closest is about 35 miles away - but still got me the discount. That and AO comparing is handy for same day pick up.
    Last edited by jamesd; 17-05-2017 at 9:01 AM.
    • chattychappy
    • By chattychappy 17th May 17, 8:59 AM
    • 6,120 Posts
    • 3,172 Thanks
    chattychappy
    Tesco claim "Every little helps".

    After leaving one of their shops recently, I noticed a little piece of gum on my shoe. It didn't help at all. Martin should investigate.
    Last edited by chattychappy; 20-05-2017 at 9:53 AM. Reason: spelling
    • Pincher
    • By Pincher 17th May 17, 9:55 AM
    • 6,488 Posts
    • 2,465 Thanks
    Pincher
    Did you actually read the article?
    Originally posted by POPPYOSCAR
    The tactic used is we tell you there is a cheaper price somewhere, and if you don't drop the price everywhere, we will name and shame you.

    This is just pushing a generous policy to extremis, until they have to withdraw it and become a meanie like everyone else. It's a paparazzi tactic to provoke a celebrity, just to create a piece of gossip.
    What happens if you push this button?
    • gwapenut
    • By gwapenut 17th May 17, 9:58 AM
    • 895 Posts
    • 373 Thanks
    gwapenut
    No Pincher - it's a clampdown on false advertising and untruths.

    They didn't have to call it "Never Knowingly Undersold". They could have called it "price match policy" like everyone else in this world.
    • One-Eye
    • By One-Eye 17th May 17, 11:33 AM
    • 36,950 Posts
    • 5,901,074 Thanks
    One-Eye
    Some years ago I discovered something that made me believe some manufacturers aid them with their NKU policy by supplying them with a specific model for sale. John Lewis sold a model number BA640GH9JL and everywhere else sold a BA640GH9 (except for one other store selling a BA640GH9BQ). As far as I could see they were all exactly the same except for the stickers on the product and on the box.

    There is also the fact that JL often give a longer guarantee on electrical items than their competitors.
    • tgroom57
    • By tgroom57 17th May 17, 12:21 PM
    • 1,246 Posts
    • 12,499 Thanks
    tgroom57
    I wouldn't call Toys R Us a "high street retailer" - all the stores I'm aware of are out-of town. And I certainly wouldn't traipse halfway across Cardiff to save 1p on a child's keyring.

    • topsoil
    • By topsoil 17th May 17, 1:27 PM
    • 3 Posts
    • 2 Thanks
    topsoil
    Is this report fair?
    I don't believe that this report is fair. I don't work at JL, but I do have some experience of the sector.
    Firstly, JL WILL and DO price match on competitors' offers, whether through monitoring or at point of sale when a customer provides proof. The price match works for LOCAL! and national chains with a 'high street presence'; usually they will be 'clicks and mortar' retailers. Customers should always ask and have a decision checked by the shop floor manager.
    There are some important caveats. Some retailers advertise low prices for products that in reality are not available to purchase. This includes some major rivals to JL who deliberately use this tactic to draw in customers - away from JL. When customers place an order, they will be told that stock cannot be verified, etc, and the sale in reality does not take place. For instance, a low stock level of e.g. 3 units available to order online nationwide turns out to be missing, 'lost' stock, etc.
    JL will only match an exact like-for-like product. In the tech world, manufacturers often bring out near-identical models at higher or lower prices which will usually reflect a slight but crucial variation in the product - that explains the price difference. This prevalence is exploited by other retailers and extends the appearance of undercutting JL.
    Like for like is important. This does include the JL guarantee, and customers should consider JL after sales service. Many rivals offer a guarantee that is shorter and less fulsome. When JL deal with a product problem, such as a faulty product, it does so in-house. Not so most rivals, who simply pass on the issue to the manufacturer. Experienced customers know that this is really important, and do not get sucked in by shoddy service elsewhere. Hence the loyalty to JL is maintained!
    JL will also price-match on its products, after the purchase has taken place! So if you buy a Samsung TV, and JL reduce the price, within a certain period customers can simply rock up with their receipt and get a refund on the difference. This is unlimited, so as the price drops customers can obtain the further refund.
    JL also offer a generous period of return for unused goods.
    JL also offer other in-house services - e.g. their own delivery and installation work-force. Customers benefit because this is all part of the JL experience and guarantee of good service.
    JL offer convenient delivery via click and collect to JL and any Waitrose store - free or at low cost.
    JL offers in-house tech support. Simply bring in a faulty product, with a receipt within the guarantee period.
    JL moves prices up and down all the time to match competitors. To maintain profits margins (which are notoriously slim) JL prices do go back up to match the competition. This fluidity does create a lot of problems to keep abreast of rivals, but often to price-match JL will be taking zero or near-zero profit compared to rivals who can purchase and sell in volume.

    Obviously, JL isn't 100% perfect - few retailers are. But at least staff are not on a commission basis where the sale is 'king' and after-sales 'sucks'! Most customers are already quite savvy and check prices between JL and rivals continuously, they wait for 'Black Friday', etc before making a purchase, they do ask for a price reduction. Equally, customers who shop elsewhere often do so with a different criteria - if they usually replace a laptop every 12 months then they don't need a longer guarantee and knowingly take a gamble on the product...

    So, more issues to consider than this report suggests.
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