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  • FIRST POST
    • 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 3
  • rich_kim
    I agree with stephenjacquie. If Alan had been over-charged by the store he would have been kicking up fuss demanding a refund and compensation. If it was brought to his attention that he was under-charged he should pay the difference, perhaps with a discrentionary discount from the manager as way of apology for their mistake.

    But saying that I was in a shop and told by a shop assistant that an item was one price, on going to checkout it rang up as more expensive, I mentioned that the other shop assistant had said it was cheaper so they sold it to me for cheaper as I had only bought the item on the strength of was the sales assistant had said. Don't ask, dont get.
  • teddyco
    Would this scenario really be 'legal'?

    I would imagine that the law allows for cash registers to make mistakes from time to time and would hold anyone responsible for paying the full amount that was listed in the store. If the customer knew that the item was listed in the store at a certain price and a mistake was made at the till, there was still 'intent' to make a contract and the customer would be liable for the full amount of the purchase.

    A sale is an agreement by two parties to conduct business and both parties must be in agreement on the price to be paid. A till has no knowledge that a contract is taking place and cannot be held liable for a mistake that was made.

    This is not a game of see who can cheat the till and then run as fast as you can out of the store so they won't notice!

    When you see an advertised price in a store and you take that merchandise to the till, you have a legal responsibility to pay that price even if the till makes a mistake.

    I would say that if a store wanted to take you to court after you walked out with a lower price, they would most likely win in court and you would be forced to pay the full amount that you owe. This of course is taking into consideration the fact that tills do make mistakes from time to time.

    However, a store will never do this because they don't want to lose your business.

    But then again, What about God? He is watching your actions too.........you know, and the bible says that one day we will all give an account of what we did to one another on this earth.
    Last edited by teddyco; 02-07-2008 at 9:43 AM.
  • aajjii
    I am saddened at some Moneysavers response. If someone or some organization make a mistake such as this, is it morally correct to say it is o.k. I am all for taking advantage of special offers and making the most of vouchers etc but this case is different and as far as I am concerned, it is close to stealing. And what is the difference between a small company and a large one providing they trade fairly and honourably. Bad companies can be large or small; ever seen T.V. rogue Traders? Sorry but I would not even have left the counter.
    • LoveLifeAgain
    • By LoveLifeAgain 2nd Jul 08, 9:44 AM
    • 181 Posts
    • 315 Thanks
    LoveLifeAgain
    I would have mentioned it when they asked for payment, could not have left the shop as I would have felt like a thief.
  • KidMoe
    I would have corrected the mistake at the till, and I can't honestly believe that some people would think it's ok to try to leave with the laptop at £3.99. It's an obvious mistake that you could not fail to notice when paying for the machine, so you might as well just steal it and chuck the money through the door on the way out if you would accept the undercharge.

    Even if it was a chain it's still utterly reprehensible. Big stores still have sales targets to make which jobs depend on. Somebody will have to take responsibility for it, whether it be the checkout operator or the manager.
    • heleen
    • By heleen 2nd Jul 08, 9:53 AM
    • 115 Posts
    • 14 Thanks
    heleen
    Wow, I'm really shocked at the number of people who would keep it . I guess I'm a goody two shoes. I woudl return it no questions asked, but would jokingly ask for somethign extra to be thrown in, like software.
    Both of us would feel good at eh end of that.

    Heleen
    I love it when a plan comes together
  • BigMikeyG
    I would feel bad and offer to pay 200-250 quid and if the manager is smart he would take it. However I wouldn't pay the full price as sometimes lady luck smiles on you for a reason lol :-)

    At the end of the day you have the upper hand not the shop which doesn't happen all that much so I would ntry to exploit it just a little bit ;-)
  • HenrysCat
    If it was a small company then i'd defo speak up. If it was a main high street store then no. They have screwed ME enough times....

    Gotta think - if it was YOUR company/business, how would YOU feel?
    Save more money, buy more beer!
  • KidMoe
    If it was a small company then i'd defo speak up. If it was a main high street store then no. They have screwed ME enough times....

    Gotta think - if it was YOUR company/business, how would YOU feel?
    Originally posted by HenrysCat
    When exactly has a high street store overcharged you and refused to refund the difference? You'd never accept that, so why should it work the other way round?
  • luwpergwin
    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.
    Originally posted by stogiebear


    Could you imagine a manager telling you to save your money and buy this model because you dont need 8gig of memory and the extended warranty is overpriced and rubbish?

    If you brought a computer back 1 day late and out of warranty because your loved one was ill, would they honour it?

    I would say "My dear manager person, things happen for a reason. This has happened as a result of Karma. This laptop is sent to me to restore the imbalance of your bad Karma. Let this be a lesson, now get the hell out of my way I have a laptop to set up!"
  • anney
    This is a very poor dilemma, no major retailer would make this mistake as the prices are rung into the till by a barcode reader, if the price had to be overridden (say because of a promotion or damage discount) a new till opperator wouldn't have the authority to do that- or the code to let the till do it for that matter. I have seen many new cashiers make the most astonishing mistakes but they are usually errors of ringing in things more than once or multiplying them by, say, 55 instead of 5. If there was a price file error & the cashier scanned it & that was the price that came up then they wouldn't be to blame & you could argue that the shop is selling all of that item at that price.

    A very small retailer with a manual till might feasibly ring in the wrong price, but then would all you moneygrubbers who have said you wouldn't pay up really insist on paying 3.99 from this type of shop, where such a loss may well wipe out all their profit for the day? There is a difference between moneysaving & moral theft.
  • kelper
    No Brainer
    Whether it's a logical dilema or not, is hardly the problem!

    If you have morals, then, clearly, you go back and pay the price you had intended to when you selected the item. Everyone makes mistakes ... let alone trainees!

    What I would do is suggest to the manager that in return for my agreement to pay the real price, the store offers me a 'freebie', like some software or other item I might want ... i.e. I wouldn't feel bad if the store's entire profit margin on the main item were wiped out ... just so long as they didn't lose anything on the deal.

    To those who would take it and run ... it's people like you who cause prices to be higher than they should be ... pretty well all businesses, especially retailers, build in losses due to shoplifting and errors etc. ... you would just have helped increase the costs for all future customers! Thanks for your caring attitude!
  • little_laura
    No Alan should keep it...It wasn't the trainee's mistake it was obviously the fault of the person whom programmed the till....saying that if it was a small local shop then i'd point out the mistake and expect to pay for it, maybe ask for a discount though for being honest!
  • Gekite
    No, Alan shouldn't return the laptop and should feel happy that an amazing piece of good luck has finally managed to smile on him.
  • diverse
    When exactly has a high street store overcharged you and refused to refund the difference? You'd never accept that, so why should it work the other way round?
    Originally posted by KidMoe
    Actually this happened to me, Tesco charged me once for an item I had not bought, chicken thigh fillets, I still remember it to this day. I am a breast man & never buy anything other else.

    I took the reciept to Tesco CS and was basically told no refund as there was no mistake this was in the era of double refund if they make a mistake and you can keep the goods (well I never had the goods!).

    I took them to the County Court, they didn't defend the claim and didn't pay up either. I sent the Bailiffs round to their HQ in Cheshunt. Tesco had a CCJ and the bailiffs because they refused to do the right thing.

    I didn't shop there again for years, but the lure of clubcard point got me back with their 4 x offers.

    when I did go back I was overcharged again and when the CS woman ran off to where the items were (it transpired to try and take the prices off the shelf to hide the fact) she still refused to refund me even after I had shown her they were wrong and I should have been charged the prices advertised on the shelf.

    She got the managers over and security becuase she said I was chasing her, she was running so how was I supposed to keep up? They got mighty arsey when I pointed to the sign behind the till saying double the overcharge if they make a mistake.

    Funnily enough I haven't shopped at Tesco since but do they care?

    DSG are no better so their mistake is their loss IMO.
  • rayanwald
    mmm good one what about the warranty
    Hi a good one this, the transaction is final when you have paid and you obtain the reciept, however there may be issues with warranty perhaps if the full price has not been paid would the manufaturers honour the warranty? and at a saving of 396.00 do you realy care? i think a gesture of goodwill on both parts mite help to save the day a hit in both pockets ie, 200.00 each represents a great saving and may just cover costs to the retailer and that way every body is happy, but having worked for many years in retailing for a very large group, the bottom line is the customer is allways right no matter what, if we charge it and you dont comment there is no legal obligation for you to do anything, however dont excpect to get another one as normaly the company has the right to refuse to sell them at anypoint b4 the sale is complete.

    compromise is best all round but it is up to the individual on the day.
    kr ray
    remember 24carat service guys
    customer at risk action today!!!!!
  • shadej
    I would be so tempted to keep it but I wouldn't as I was gonna pay the full price anyway so the money was not an issue, also the trainee may loose their job on their first day.
  • micsey
    get it home alan chuck it on ebay.should get 300,the batteries are crap on them anyway job done kid lol,look out for number one alan or you will just get walked all over,you will sleep better
  • sluggy1967
    If the person who incorrectly typed it in was as obnoxious as the salesman at PC World Hull who recently sold me a laptop (he got very shirty when I kept saying I didn't want all the "extras" he insisted I needed, and even added them on after I'd said no, hoping I wouldn't notice the price had gone up) then I would most defintely want to get away with the bargain price!!!!
  • scarlet74
    Hmmmm...if it was a small independent, of course I would pay up. Saying that, I don't think I'd have the stones to argue the toss with the manager over whether I should have to pay up or not!

    Having worked in a number of large chains over the years, I know only too well how they will screw their employees until they squeak, so I wouldn't feel bad about not getting charged for something. This is going off the point a little, but some posters have mentioned how there have been times when they haven't been charged for items at the till. As far as I know, the store wouldn't know anything about this until the next stocktake, when they would find they had one less item than their inventory shows.

    The till wouldn't be down for that day either, as long as the cashier had taken the right amount and given the correct change for whatever was rung through the till - so if you took 3 pairs of Spiderman pants to the till and only got charged for two, the till's takings would be still be correct, and the shop's inventory would be out. At the stocktake, this would be written off as "shrinkage" which is often cancelled out by them selling more of another item than their inventory shows due to a delivery error - although shoplifting usually cancels that out and then some. I'm pretty sure stores are covered for such loss by their insurance, and while it may affect the manager's tidy performance bonus if their figures are out, you can be sure that the mimimum wage employees wouldn't have seen anything of the said bonus if the store's figures had been spot on.
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