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    • Former MSE Wendy
    • By Former MSE Wendy 1st Jul 08, 1:50 PM
    • 868Posts
    • 1,782Thanks
    Former MSE Wendy
    MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should Alan give the laptop back?
    • #1
    • 1st Jul 08, 1:50 PM
    MONEY MORAL DILEMMA: Should Alan give the laptop back? 1st Jul 08 at 1:50 PM
    Thanks to MoneySaver Ben Clay for this idea and here's this week's hypothetical situation for you to cogitate on:

    Should Alan give the laptop back?

    Alan went into a shop to buy a laptop, and instead of it ringing up at £399 it was just £3.99. He spotted this at the check-out and was aware of the error but keep schtum. After he'd paid, the manager came up and admited, that the laptop was legally his, but it was an obvious error by a trainee cashier on his first day.

    Click reply to have your say.

    Previous MMDs:
    Should you foot the bill?
    Would you ask for new shoes?

    Thanks to MoneySaver Ben Clay who came up with this in the nerdy note discussion from last week.

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    Last edited by MSE Martin; 01-07-2008 at 9:41 PM.
Page 15
  • jkd
    Well, it's a dilemna I agree.
    However, if the shop did a mistake (favourable to them) I am sure they wouldn't own up.

    Technically, legally, if they paid whatever the price, the laptop is the customer's as the contract has been agreed (both agreed on the price).

    As someone mentioned earlier, if the shop is a large chain then I wouldn't blink an eyelid, if it was a small independent, I would think again.

    Anyway, it would be rare nowadays for a price to be manually typed in as everything is bar-coded so the system would have to be wrong.
    Last edited by jkd; 07-07-2008 at 12:27 AM.
    • Contains Mild Peril
    • By Contains Mild Peril 7th Jul 08, 2:46 AM
    • 4,059 Posts
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    Contains Mild Peril
    I can't imagine the situation occurring in real life. I do remember being told when I went to Trading Standards about a shop which had overcharged me by 50p (and I want to make it clear that it wasn't the initial error that prompted me to report them but the staff's attitude after I pointed it out) being told that whether I was entitled to a refund of the overcharge would be questionable because I could be deemed to have accepted it at that price.
    I almost certainly wouldn't take a laptop for £3.99 (not unless I felt the shop owed me for some reason), but if that was the price I was charged and it was legally mine then I wouldn't pay £399 for it either - I'd haggle.
    • jez33
    • By jez33 7th Jul 08, 2:05 PM
    • 44 Posts
    • 9 Thanks
    id think of the poor trainee cashier as she will probably loose her job now if Alan doesn't pay the full price.

    plus put your self in the companies position, if you were the boss/owner wouldn't you feel very mift ?
    • A.Jones
    • By A.Jones 7th Jul 08, 2:43 PM
    • 506 Posts
    • 441 Thanks

    It is sad that moneysavers like A.Jones and Gekite spent hours on this topic trying to bury simple and obvious dishonesty under a pile of technicalities. However, I am grateful to Attlee for pulling even that carpet from under their feet. Even law seems in this case on the side of simple morality.
    Originally posted by misha
    What? If you think words like transaction, contract and so on are piles of legal technicalities, you really need to take a lawyer with you to do your shopping. Strange how you back someone writing a post that has lots of legal jargon if it supports your view that this is dishonest, yet cry foul of others if they use complicated legal jargon like the word contract if they do not support your argument. Obviously you think it is moral to have double standards.

    And there is no such thing as simple morality. My morals are different to your morals. I would be morally justified in keeping my laptop, once it is paid for, because my morals say that once someone sells something to me for the agreed price, it is mine. It is exactly this reason that there is need for law. People's morals are different, and you cannot base law on morals alone. Many laws are against my morals, yet I have to abide by them.

    Even given this one lawyer's view of the legal situation, I would not give the laptop back. I would stand my ground - the receipt is a contract at the time the item is bought. The company would need to go to court to decide if there was a valid contract - they cannot decide by themselves that the contract is invalid. I would let them do that, and if the court decided no contract was in existence, then the laptop would be returned, and I would ask for my money back. I would probably then approach the press to make sure that the company got a lot of bad press about it.

    If the company tried to prosecute for theft, then I would simply point out that the shop owner / manager said the item was legally mine, so I did not return it.
    Last edited by A.Jones; 07-07-2008 at 6:14 PM.
    • A.Jones
    • By A.Jones 7th Jul 08, 2:49 PM
    • 506 Posts
    • 441 Thanks
    id think of the poor trainee cashier as she will probably loose her job now if Alan doesn't pay the full price.
    Originally posted by jez33
    Is it moral to do business with an immoral (in your view) company? This company clearly does not have very agreeable morals if they do not train a cashier properly, yet fire him/her for making a mistake.

    plus put your self in the companies position, if you were the boss/owner wouldn't you feel very mift ?
    Originally posted by jez33
    I sure wouldn't make the mistake again.
    Last edited by A.Jones; 07-07-2008 at 6:10 PM.
  • Bargainfinder
    Keep it, you never have to see them again! They should train their trainees better - besides, they can aford it... isn't this a form of 'legally robbing a bank'....?!
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    • Ebenezer_Screwj
    • By Ebenezer_Screwj 9th Jul 08, 8:53 AM
    • 437 Posts
    • 231 Thanks
    Giveaway Laptop
    I'm sure that someone with the mental acuity to use a laptop would realise that a mistake had been made. Of course he should have it put right and pay the correct price, wasn't this his intention in the first place ?
  • surviving-ok
    I think the shop usually actually WOULD tell you if the mistake was in their faviour; also legally this scenario is nonsense as legally for a mistake like this it cannot be upheld in law - if they do something like put it in the sale, you buy it reduced then they chagne their mind, it;s tough for them. Howevre in this situation legally it's still their's so it would help if scenarios were at least in compliacne with existing UK contract law. Its amazing how many people would just take it and run- that's not money-savin gthat's just plain dishonest. Negotaiting a discount is smarter. But effectively you agreed to buy it at a certain price.
  • halia
    big chain I'd walk out with laptop and 296 spare, small independant shop I'd ask for a 10% discount and leave happy.
    DEBT: 500 credit card 800 Bank overdraft
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  • yamaha43
    it could help
    from a web nutter, here are some good sites for legal advice:

    hope it helps - all are free
  • bradgirl
    I would want to walk out of the shop with my 3.99 purchase in tow, but I know that if the manager stopped me, I would be too scared to take it away. Plus I'd feel bad for the shop assistant!!
    • JayD
    • By JayD 17th Jul 08, 7:42 PM
    • 550 Posts
    • 339 Thanks
    Yes Alan should pay the difference or give the laptop back
  • oh_no_you_dont_sunshine
    Well, for those saying this would never happen in real life, I'm currently in a similar situation with an online purchase.

    I've ordered something from a catalogue shop which was likely a mis-price as it is now on their website for approximately 20 times the price! However, they have taken payment and therefore I believe the legal position would support my claim to the item. Am I correct?

    Their terms and conditions state that in the event of a mis-price they will contact me before the order is accepted to notify me of the change of price and that I'd have the right to either cancel the order or pay the increased amount. However, the order status on their website is "Order Accepted" and no effort has been made to contact me. So even by their own T&Cs, I seem to be in a position to receive the item at the price paid.

    So, my question is: Legally, should they honour the sale?

    I know people are going to question the morality but I'm afraid I'm of the mindset "It's a big company who have not always treated their customers fairly in the past". Judge not lest ye be judged!
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