Currys Price Match Promise/Guarantee: A Warning. A Complete Disappointment

grcd84
grcd84 Posts: 4 Newbie
edited 4 February 2020 at 9:39PM in Praise, vent & warnings
I posted this originally as a response to another comment here, but I felt this experience warrants an exclusive thread as it might give adequate warning to others. So, I have decided to rewrite this and improve it with slightly more detail and information. I hope it proves useful to someone who is researching Currys and their price match guarantee or 'promise'.

This is an outline, detailed but exact, of my recent experience with Currys. Before I begin explaining, I need to say that I truly used to hold Currys in very high esteem before this. I have purchased every major piece of technology from them, from my PS4 Pro to my Nintendo Switch, a TV, etc. I have been a customer both in-store as well as online. I had never, however, tried to use their price match guarantee because I was not always savvy with these things, I guess.

Recently I was interested in a PC monitor. It was the Philips P-Line Brilliance 349P7FUBEB 34" Monitor. Currys had it for £499 which is a relatively expensive price as it could be found easily for well below that elsewhere. Interestingly, they did not have it 'in stock', but available for order from the manufacturer.

After a quick research online, I found at least 3 other places with better prices. I then went to their chat system and talked with a chat support person. First I showed them a website in the UK that had the product 'shipped from manufacturer, upon request' for £415 -- but the support person advised me they cannot match offers if the shop does not have it in stock. They were listing it as 'ordered upon request'. (In fact, Currys also had the same notice). I decided to not press the matter, so I went ahead and asked them to match the second best price I had found.

I show the live chat support person the second website, which was selling it for £435. Interestingly, that website also had the same notice, that it was 'shipped from the manufacturer', but it was listed as 'in stock'. He was able to provide a price match fine, and I was impressed. If that was the end of this story, it would all have been good: I would have purchased this item from Currys and I would be here singing their praise. The moment I used the code, everything seemed to be fine. It was a Friday night, just before live chat service closing time, but the person on the other end was happy to wait until I completed the transaction. Again, it all seemed to be going very well indeed.

I went through the first steps, to give my address, and so forth. When I went to check the payment method and pressed 'Continue', I got an error message saying: "Sorry, this product is no longer in stock but we're expecting more soonIf [sic]you would like to continue with your order we will contact you to arrange delivery of the item(s) below when available.Alternatively, you may wish to return to your basket to remove this item and select an alternative".

Perplexed, I tried again and the same error was shown. The item was showing as 'in stock' at the time. I ask the live support person for help and after a small delay speaking with management he comes back and tells me that sadly the item is indeed out of stock. I explained that I am happy to order and wait, but he told me I would have to wait until it is back in stock and re-ask for a price match. Also, if the price at the other store would change in the meanwhile, they wouldn't be able to match it again. In other words, their price match guarantee was only valid for the day and now that the item was 'gone', it was no longer valid. Before I closed the chat system I used the option to e-mail me the transcript. No transcript was ever received. (In fact, no transcript was ever received for any of my chats with Currys, despite always using the option and adding my e-mail -- whilst also being logged in with my account).

I left utterly disappointed, but still feeling that the Currys support team had done their best. I mean, these things are rare but they happen. I was just unlucky that the item was out of stock.

Right?

Well, things get more complex from here on.

The very next Monday, in the morning, I get informed that the item is back in stock again by the live reminder system. Happy, I go back. I easily find the same £435 offer, which was still ongoing. This time, however, the support service steadfastly refused to price match. They claimed that the other website only ships the product directly from the manufacturer and thus that this does not qualify as being 'in stock'. To describe me as bemused would be understating things. I mean, wasn't this the exact same offer they were happy to price-match just 3 days ago? It was. And it made no sense.

This was also an odd claim for two main reasons:

1. Currys was also doing the same thing. It was a like for like situation! They did not have this item in stock, and it was clear (when placing an order) that the item was shipping from the manufacturer. It was, in other words, only an 'online only' order and you could not pick up from a store.

2. The other website had more or less the same lead-in time -- which I checked by actually phoning them and asking. Either the first person price-matching was wrong, or the second was wrong. Either case, when you cannot receive basic consistency, that is when the customer begins to feel scammed.

I felt that this was an arbitrary 'new' policy tacked on -- especially as I had got the price match the previous time just fine, for the exact same product from the exact same place. The support asked me to try calling for help, and I placed a call to Currys to see if they could do anything about it. The phone support person told me that they were not inclined to consider this a 'price-match' qualifying website so they would have to talk with a manager. I asked to talk with the manager directly, but they told me that they are not permitted to give customers a manager to talk to. I complained and explained that I had in fact got this price-match before but the person on the phone was having none of it. She asked me to wait half an hour and they would call back once the manager had weighed in on the situation.

Indeed, 30 minutes later they call back to duly tell me that it is a firm 'no'. Disappointed and annoyed, I tell them that I will order this from that other website instead, and that I feel they are incorrect about their assessment and unclear about their price-match policy. They said that it is OK, I could do as I wish. She would pass on my comments to the manager, but that this decision was absolutely final. I felt that I was not being valued whatsoever, and that their description was very inadequate.I thanked her politely and hung up.

I really was just about ready to order it from that other website. They were so polite and knowledgeable on the phone, I really had begun preferring them for my custom.

Nevertheless, I hadn't yet learned my lesson. I decided to wait a day and try one final time -- primarily because I felt that working with Currys and a larger vendor such as them will be an 'easier' experience overall. Secondly, because Currys offers free shipping which still remained a final incentive (shipping costs on a monitor can exceed £7 on some of these smaller websites). Maybe I would be lucky the third time..?

I had no idea...

The next day I do the same thing. Go online and do a quick market research. Suddenly, however, I discover that the original website which was selling the monitor for £415 was actually now updated and was listing it as 'in stock' (maybe my phone call had prompted them to make this change? Who knows!) ! I was so excited because this time they could come up with no excuse: The website had the item in stock, it was located in the UK, and they were claiming a 2 days shipping time. Surely this falls entirely under the price-match guarantee, I thought!

I talked with another live chat support person who indeed was able to offer the price-match after a short delay. I was given a code and I went to use it. Like the first time, the code was accepted. I go to place the order, and to choose a payment method.

To my horror, I get a familiar message, again:

"Sorry, this product is no longer in stock but we're expecting more soonIf [sic] you would like to continue with your order we will contact you to arrange delivery of the item(s) below when available.Alternatively, you may wish to return to your basket to remove this item and select an alternative".

I check to see with the person on the live support chat system -- which I transcribed personally for my safety. The transcripts were never being sent automatically, so I had wised up to the fact and by that point I was doing it myself. Our chat went exactly like this: [note: I have deleted the support person's name to protect their safety and preserve their anonymity].

You: The code works fine but I Get the same error every time.
*****: OK, I would advise you to wait an hour and repeat the process to allow the system to update
*****: I’m sorry to hear you’re having issues today. Most issues like this occur on outdated browser versions. The best thing I can recommend is checking you have the latest browser installed and to also clear your cookies and cache.
You: But I have already used the code. I am using the latest version of Chrome
*****: OK, I would advise you to try again
You: Ok I am trying to clear cache of the browser. If need be can you provide another code? I will try after resetting the computer so I will lose the current session and the code you gave me won't work
*****: OK, in that case I would advise you to call our sales team on 0344 561 1234 before 8pm. They will be happy to process your order for you
You: Okay can you kindly stay on the line while I do this?
You: I will call now
*****: Sure
You: thank you

At this point I keep the live support service person waiting while I physically call. After briefly explaining the situation I am quickly escalated to talk with a manager. I found that odd, because in my previous attempts they would steadfastly refuse to give me the opportunity to talk with a manager. But I felt that perhaps I would finally get somewhere. The live support person was still waiting while I was doing this.

The manager explains to me that the item is indeed out of stock. I find it weird that a manager was necessary to tell me this. I ask if there is anything he can do to help. He tells me that he cannot. At the same time, the item actually appears to be still 'in stock' on the website. I tell this to the manager, who responds that sometimes the system can take up to an hour before stock is correctly indicated.

So, while still talking with the manager, I type this to the live chat support system who was trying to disconnect because he had been waiting for a while:

*****: It's my pleasure, was their anything else that I could assist you with? :)
You: can you plz check that it is in stock
You: again?
You: :)
*****: Yes, I can comfirm it is still in stock :)
You: because im told it is not on the phone
You: this is so confusing
*****: I would advise you to try again in an hour :)
You: can you kindly provide a second code? i will restart this pc so i would kindly like to have it again
You: i have already used the one you gave me
*****: This code will still be available as the order has not been processed
*****: May I offer any additional assistance for you today?

So, at the same time I had a manager tell me the item is out of stock, and a chat support person assure me that it is in stock.

After some back and forth, primarily me asking if I can at least reserve one of these items the next time it is back in stock -- and explaining how the same 'out of stock' situation happened to me before, the manager on the phone tells me again that there is absolutely nothing he can do. He says that it was an unlikely event, but still a coincidence. I had to wait until the item was in stock. I thank him and close the line.

I refresh my browser...

And... suddenly... the item is out of stock. Again.

The live chat person then types this:

*****: Since I have not heard back from you, I’ll need to close our chat to assist with other customers.

And disconnects.

This is the end of my experience. The item remained out of stock for the rest of the day. I do not believe in coincidences, especially the likelihood that twice the item I price-matched with a very competitive price offer would suddenly go 'out of stock' the very moment I was about to add a payment method -- probably seconds before completing check out. I believe that Currys is scamming customers into trusting that they offer a price-match, but that they absolutely control the situation on their end, preventing people from actually getting what they promise.

They will find every excuse in the book, because they do not actually want to honour their price match 'guarantee'. It is truly a scam with the full meaning of the word SCAM.

They say on their website that:
"You won’t get it cheaper. Full stop.
We'll price match any product against any other retailer, online or in store. We’ll also match discount codes".

I have found out that this 'full stop' actually means lots and lots of hidden asterisks. And even when you manage to play entirely by their rules (which they shift continuously, and never provide their full terms and conditions with clarity), they will still find a way to not honour their own promise.

I personally have decided that from here on I will avoid Currys. I have had enough of this, and I do no longer trust them with my custom.

As for the monitor I was trying to purchase? I happily ordered it from the website I found it for £415, for the price that Currys couldn't actually match. I couldn't be happier. I wish I could name this website, but I do not want to turn this into a story too specific that it could identify individuals.

My warning to Currys customers is this: Be careful, be prepared. Currys is not trustworthy. And do not be disappointed if they fail to live up to your expectations. It is not you. It's them.
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Comments

  • grcd84
    grcd84 Posts: 4 Newbie
    edited 4 February 2020 at 10:43PM
    It is long because it is a full description of the experience. Making it too short would miss out aspects.

    A TL;DR version is this:

    - Currys will not price match what they did price match the day before - even if it the exact same price, website and situation.
    - Their system possibly alters item availability to prevent you from getting a price matched offer
    - They have an unclear price match offer that is far from what they describe on their website.

    For details you have to read what happened. It is a series of unfortunate events that together add up to what I believe is a clear scam.

    As for why I didn't buy it from the other website... I did. I bought it from the other website and I couldn't be happier. Still, this is a praise / vent and warning sub-forum and that's exactly what I'm doing: I'm warning customers and venting my frustration.

    If this helps someone doing their research with Currys and their price match promise then it has served its purpose.
  • JJ_Egan
    JJ_Egan Posts: 20,281
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Forumite
    I have used Currys three times in the last few years each time price match no problem .


    But they where actual in store stocked items each time .
  • Carrot007
    Carrot007 Posts: 4,534
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Forumite
    Pointless monitor for a PS4 (pro). You need 4k, the console does not do 1440, so the best you will get is still 1080.
  • tseb
    tseb Posts: 8
    First Anniversary First Post
    Forumite
    I just bought an item and then noticed it was cheaper at another site. So I used the price match after purchase promise only to be told that as I had bought the last one, they could no longer price match as they no longer had it in stock!!!!
    If that is not petty i don't know what is. I wouldn't mind, but they are happy to prom9ote the price promise and then find any reason to avoid honouring it. Shame on them.
  • Ive used their price match before and it was simple. Worked for me. However there are plenty horror stories of Currys so im always a bit wary when purchasing from them.
  • jefaz07
    jefaz07 Posts: 523
    First Post Name Dropper First Anniversary
    Forumite
    I used it yesterday. Sent an email to a specified address with the link of the product I wanted and the link with the cheaper item at the other store. 
    I received an email back confirming it and a code to put in at the checkout for click and collect. Job done. 
  • AvivaNightmare
    AvivaNightmare Posts: 69
    First Anniversary Name Dropper First Post
    Forumite
    edited 15 August 2021 at 8:03AM
    I Purchased an iMac from Currys for home delivery via online,  later the same day I saw it £220 cheaper on Amazon, I did online chat & got the price match refund. 

    Was no issues as long as you claim it within 7 days of ordering online or in the shop. 
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