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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.

    This Forum Tip was included in MoneySavingExpert's weekly email

    Don't miss out on new deals, loopholes, and vouchers

    Last edited by MSE Martin; 01-07-2008 at 9:41 PM.
Page 1
  • LouLee2008
    • #2
    • 1st Jul 08, 2:00 PM
    • #2
    • 1st Jul 08, 2:00 PM
    yes because you were happy to pay the £399 before and it was only a mistake,
    • saintscouple
    • By saintscouple 1st Jul 08, 9:36 PM
    • 3,936 Posts
    • 2,943 Thanks
    • #3
    • 1st Jul 08, 9:36 PM
    • #3
    • 1st Jul 08, 9:36 PM
    Nope, as a large company they can absorb the cost, but i would point out to the manager that the error lies with the person that programmed the price in to the till.
    But i would use the laptop to send a thank-you email.
    • exel1966
    • By exel1966 1st Jul 08, 9:56 PM
    • 4,815 Posts
    • 11,861 Thanks
    • #4
    • 1st Jul 08, 9:56 PM
    • #4
    • 1st Jul 08, 9:56 PM
    Never look a gift horse in the mouth ! I'd go back and try and buy another !!!
    • A little stressed!!
    • By A little stressed!! 1st Jul 08, 10:05 PM
    • 1,995 Posts
    • 1,522 Thanks
    A little stressed!!
    • #5
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:05 PM
    • #5
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:05 PM
    I'd ask what discount he'd be willing to offer me if I returned it. No guarantee that I would return, but gives the manager an option!
    I'm getting older, and lifes getting harder!
    • teeb
    • By teeb 1st Jul 08, 10:11 PM
    • 388 Posts
    • 191 Thanks
    • #6
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:11 PM
    • #6
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:11 PM
    Depends, for me. If it was a big chain I'd walk out. If it was a small place I'd sit down and think.

    Alan walked in expecting to pay £399. He could at least ask the manager for a discount (bearing in mind he could walk out at any point).
    • toadhall
    • By toadhall 1st Jul 08, 10:22 PM
    • 330 Posts
    • 79 Thanks
    • #7
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:22 PM
    • #7
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:22 PM
    nope, their mistake my gain
  • stephenjacquie
    • #8
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:46 PM
    • #8
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:46 PM
    Alan noticed at the till that the amounts did not match - he may not have a legal responsibility to point this out but I think he has a moral responsibility!

    If it was the other way round and he was overcharged he wouldn't be happy if the manager said "their mistake, my gain" now would he.

    I believe there's an old phrase "sauce for the goose, sauce for the gander"

    Also I don't think the morality of an action should depend on how big the company is but on how developed my conscience is!

    I guess I'm going to get flamed but hey - at least my five pence worth didn't cost someone £395.01

    • lynxptc
    • By lynxptc 1st Jul 08, 10:56 PM
    • 253 Posts
    • 27 Thanks
    • #9
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:56 PM
    • #9
    • 1st Jul 08, 10:56 PM
    If the sale has gone through then the laptop is yours. Why offer to hand over all that extra cash - it would just be throwing money away.

    I know a lot of people would though because of morals and them thinking they are doing "the right thing".

    In real life though this would never happen. A cashier would never take 4 for a laptop, even a trainee. They'd know something was wrong.
    • weegie.geek
    • By weegie.geek 1st Jul 08, 11:15 PM
    • 3,148 Posts
    • 2,981 Thanks
    Morally wrong to keep the laptop, but being an amoral sonofa!!!!! I'd be tempted.

    It's very hypothetical though, surely the cashier would realise? I've done shopwork myself (and in a high street computery type stuff retailer as well) and you can more or less turn your brain off, but that's quite a difference.

    If it'd been the cashier's mistake I'd give it back. Nothing worse than that feeling in the pit of your stomach when you realise you messed up. If it'd been the shop's mistake, and the item actually rang up at £3.99 I'd maybe dig my heels in.

    What's a trainee cashier doing on the tills by themselves anyway? Especially on their first day. They should be buddied up with someone who's keeping an eye on them.
    They say it's genetic, they say he can't help it, they say you can catch it - but sometimes you're born with it
    • Mamzie
    • By Mamzie 1st Jul 08, 11:15 PM
    • 2,473 Posts
    • 17,818 Thanks
    No way I would have been able to pay just 3.99... but I would appreciate a discount or gift for paying the right price which I was already expecting to pay.
    My light may be on, but that doesn't always mean I am looking at the PC - I am far more likely to be cuddling or feeding Tianna atm, so please don't think I am ignoring you if I don't reply quickly

    Our Precious Baby Tianna has now joined our Family, she is much loved and very welcome, xxx
    • disney_cjd
    • By disney_cjd 1st Jul 08, 11:21 PM
    • 1,216 Posts
    • 659 Thanks
    Take it and screw the store. a) their mistake not Alan's' b) the person on the till should have spotted it and withdrawn it from sale.

    I really do not get why people are even asking what he should do. He did not steal it. He paid the price that they asked. If no one questioned it before he paid then tough.

    Screw morals, Alan is a MSE in my mind, just saved 396 quid on a laptop!!
  • Johan
    Cannot give it back unless I knew the manager in person, if so a discount would be in order!
  • fad1211
    had a similar experience for a small item.

    went to my local M&S to return some trousers which i bought in the sale for 5. I gave it back with the original reciept. The guy refunded me 15. ALthough i was aware at the checkouts of the extra 10 being refunded onto my card, i couldnt bring myself to tell him. After the transaction, he gave me the refund slip, but i couldnt move from there as I just felt guilty as hell. Eventually, i just had to tell him and he thanked me for my honesty, and said many would've just walked away. He then charged me the extra 10 he refunded.

    Atleast i walked away with a clear conscience and felt good about myself
    • Thunderbird
    • By Thunderbird 2nd Jul 08, 12:04 AM
    • 612 Posts
    • 265 Thanks
    I would return it and might ask for a discount in a pleasant way. I like to earn the stuff I have.
    Be nice, life is too short to be anything else.
    • Ms Chocaholic
    • By Ms Chocaholic 2nd Jul 08, 12:07 AM
    • 10,719 Posts
    • 65,318 Thanks
    Ms Chocaholic
    If it was a large store I'd be running out of the store so fast that the Manager wouldn't be able to catch me to explain the problem and ask if I would pay the difference.
    Thrifty Till 50 Then Spend Till The End

    You can please some of the people some of the time, all of the people some of the time, some of the people all of the time but you can never please all of the people all of the time
    • emmamed
    • By emmamed 2nd Jul 08, 12:28 AM
    • 779 Posts
    • 8,807 Thanks
    plain and simple no i wouldnt give it back, its there fault
    • katecheshire
    • By katecheshire 2nd Jul 08, 12:34 AM
    • 227 Posts
    • 153 Thanks
    Wouldn't you feel really shady every time you used it?
    And what if it broke or got stolen - would you expect a replacement or the full amount back? (not much chance with your 3.99 receipt!)
    • PBA
    • By PBA 2nd Jul 08, 12:38 AM
    • 1,508 Posts
    • 516 Thanks
    Well if even the manager came out and said it was fine then it's ok. Though I'd love to find a store where a cashier thinks a laptop goes for 4 quid.

    Actually reminds me of one of the big electrical stores where I worked as a temp for a few weeks back in the late 90s. They stupidly decided to sack a bunch of us at lunchtime but wanted us to work until the end of the day. An amazing amount of free stuff got sent out, though I've always wondered how their customers reacted when they'd ordered one washing machine but actually got delivered 10!
  • stogiebear
    My first instinct when anyone walks up to me in a shop wearing a tie is that I'm just about to be lied to. It's second nature to most of us who aren't sleepwalking through life.

    So when I get the story about "trainee cashier..." blah blah blah I find it hard to feel the pain. If it was a Curry's then I'd not only take it, I'd spit in their faces on the way out! This crappy chain of imbeciles has the worst service reputation I know.

    I'm pretty sure the shop who had just tried to sell me an 'extended warranty' on this very same laptop don't have the same gullible sense of obligation and morality that some of the posters here seem to have.

    Sorry if that sounds harsh, but these sales people are not your mates trying to do you a favor and find you a great deal. They are ruthless lying sneaks who would kill their families to make employee of the month.
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