John Lewis has been disappointing parents this week, sending out emails to let them know that a bargain pram it had advertised on its website was a mistake, so they won't be getting a £145 pram for £40 after all. It's the second pricing error the store has made in a month, and despite it offering goodwill payments, customers are furious.
On Saturday the website showed the Maclaren Quest Sport 2013 Buggy had been reduced from £145 to £138, then £48, and finally to £40. A number of parents rushed to snap up the cut-price pram, only to receive an email at the beginning of this week saying the whole thing had been a horrible mistake. In fact the buggy had been discontinued.
Despite the fact that shoppers were offered a £25 goodwill payment, many were angry that the price wouldn't be honoured, and some took to the store's Facebook page and Twitter to vent their fury.
It's not the first time John Lewis customers have been hit with a glitch. In fact, it's not the first time it has happened in 2015. In the middle of January, shoppers flocked to buy a £500 laptop that it had priced at £40. However, the store announced that the price of a piece of software had in fact been shown alongside a picture of the laptop, and as it was a genuine error, it wouldn't be honouring the deal. Again it gave shoppers £25 as an apology.
In the vast majority of cases when you buy online, if the store has made a pricing error, then they have every right to pull the deal. Even if they have taken your money, they have the right to refuse to sell the item at that price - as long as they refund the cash. This wasn't always the case in the past, but a number of high-profile glitches persuaded major retailers to add these rights into their terms and conditions.
It means that many of the glitches passed round the online deal hunting sites are cancelled before the vast majority of shoppers have a chance to put their order in.
John Lewis has been more generous than most in offering a £25 goodwill payment each time. However, there have been one or two examples where shops have shown extreme generosity. In August last year, a glitch at Curries accidentally gave shoppers £20 off. It sent a voucher code to people who had pre-ordered the Xbox One and received it a day late. It was only meant to be used by the affected customers - and only for Xbox Games. However, a glitch meant it could be used by anyone to buy anything. By the time it discovered the problem, hundreds of items had been ordered, and it decided to honour them.
And back in October 2012, cookware company ProCook accidentally offered a £18 frying pan for £0 - plus £4.95 delivery. The company decided that despite the fact it had been offered in error, it would honour the deal. It said: "we recognise that you really wanted to enjoy the opportunity of receiving a free frying pan and so, as a gesture of goodwill, we are going to send you one free of charge in any case." The move was estimated to have cost the firm at least £10,000.
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