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Are stores legally obligated to honor the prices marked on items no matter what?

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by KeithH, Jan 13, 2002.

  1. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    I seem to recall reading somewhere that stores in the US are legally obligated to honor a mismarked price on merchandise, no matter how far off the prices is. Is this true? I was in a Tower Records yesterday and found two copies of the Dave Brubeck Time Out multi-channel SACD marked $12.99 each. All other Sony multi-channel SACDs were marked $21.99, so I figured it was possible that someone priced the Brubeck SACDs as CDs (I assumed the CD was $12.99). However, I have seen some Sony SACDs priced very reasonably at Best Buy (Weather Report Heavy Weather for $11.99 and Top Gun for $12.99), and these prices were correct, so I thought maybe the Brubeck SACD was simply priced lower than the others. I took the Brubeck SACD to the cashier, and when he scanned it, he said it was $21.99 and that $12.99 was the price of the CD. He readily admitted that someone put the wrong price tag on it. When I told him that there was another copy of the SACD marked $12.99 and that I assumed that $12.99 was correct, he asked an employee to re-tag both copies. Should Tower have honored the low price for me? I have seen stores honor low prices marked in error, and when I worked retail back when I was in high school, we were told to do just that. I thought Tower would have honored the $12.99 price for me and then changed the price on the other copy. In the end, I didn't buy the SACD. Other stores in my area have or will have it for less than $21.99.

    By the way, I have seen statements in sale fliers stating, "Not responsible for typographical errors", but that doesn't really apply here. The Brubeck SACD was not advertised in print. Anyway, I wasn't trying to swindle Tower, but I thought they would honor the low price because it seems that most stores do.
     
  2. Craig

    Craig Second Unit

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    No, otherwise customers could just switch price tags on items and claim they were entitled to it.
     
  3. Trevor Schell

    Trevor Schell Supporting Actor

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    That's right.

    All pricings are embedded in the upc of the product matched up with a host item #.

    The scan price is the price you pay.

    Most items are labeled on the counter.

    The description will match the actual item.

    Demanding the price of an item placed in the wrong section of the counter is the same as theft as far as I am concerned.
     
  4. DavidY

    DavidY Supporting Actor

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    Be advised that the scanned price could be wrong at times....due to human error. At some places (e.g. grocery stores), you get the item for free if the scanned price is incorrect.

    Dave
     
  5. Chauncey

    Chauncey Stunt Coordinator

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    The prices marked on the product are considered "prices to negotiate" and not "prices to sell." So the retailer is not bound to sell an item at the mismarked price. However, many retailers will honor the price in the name of good customer relations.

    I disagree with Trevor on demanding the marked price is the equivalent of theft. As DavidY pointed out, the scanned price could be the one that is incorrect. In addition, the marked price is what the customer is going to use to guage whether he/she can afford to purchase the item. A thief is a person who takes items without paying for them. This person is willing to pay for the item, although at a lower price. And if the store agrees, then the transaction is legitimate. Obviously, if the person switched price tags then the above argument does not apply.
     
  6. Henry Carmona

    Henry Carmona Screenwriter

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    When i worked at Best Buy,
    The customer always received the marked price, regardless of the scanned price.
     
  7. Chad R

    Chad R Cinematographer

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    There is some state law, I think Michigan, that fines stores for having mispriced items. Obviously the offense is not limited to one item, but must be either a sign indicating a specific lot of items (like a sign above a rack of jeans in a dept. store) or EVERY item marked that way. My memory of the details are very sketchy as I saw on Dateline. I just remember thinking the law was wrong because it did make it easy to switch signs on tables.

    With only two CD's marked that way, it'd be hard to prove that there wasn't some sticker swapping involved (I'm not saying you did it, but you couldn't prove you didn't).
     
  8. Eric Kahn

    Eric Kahn Guest

    If you have ever tried to remove one of the price stickers they use, you would find that moving prices on products is next to impossible

    in Ohio, they would have had to sell it to you at the price marked, they could have changed the rest, they can be fined big time if the scanner price is higher than the marked price
     
  9. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Thanks for the replies. Certainly, the cashier at Tower Records could have assumed that I switched the price tag, but they quickly found the other mismarked copy on the shelf and realized that someone made a mistake in tagging them. I didn't put up a fight. If I could have gotten it for $12.99, great, but if not, no big deal.

    By the way, I remember from my days of working retail years ago that the price tags typically used are very difficult to remove.
     
  10. Maurice McCone

    Maurice McCone Stunt Coordinator

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    I have had similar situations in Department stores. The manager pointed out the store may simply decide to withdraw the item from sale - however, in many cases the store will honor genuine mistakes in the pursuit of customer satisfaction.
     
  11. Tom-G

    Tom-G Screenwriter

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    When I worked retail, I was informed by the store manager that in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, stores are legally obligated to honor the prices marked on the items.
     
  12. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Tom, interesting information, seeing as I was at the Tower Records in King of Prussia, PA. [​IMG]
     
  13. Jon_Are

    Jon_Are Cinematographer

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    My thoughts:
    * The Michigan law I know of applies to incorrect scanned items. If the item is scanned at an incorrect price, the store is obligated, by law, to refund the difference plus 10% of the difference, with a max of $5. My wife has taken advantage of this several times. (note: she found out the hard way that you must first pay for the item, then go to customer service, receipt in hand, for your refund; if you speak up before you actually pay for it, you're out of luck.)
    * If you displayed enough indignation, and spoke to someone of authority, you probably would have prevailed. Typically, a front-line clerk has little power to give such a concession.
    * This is a form of theft, my opinion. Not to say I wouldn't (or haven't) tried such a stunt myself (see below).
    * When 'Gladiator' came out on DVD, Target had it on sale but had no copies in stock. On the raincheck I requested, the clerk wrote the price in as $12.98. I thought, what the heck, so I returned a week later, picked up the DVD, and brought it and my raincheck to the cashier. She immediately sees the error and refuses the raincheck. I start to protest, and she cuts me off with "Oh no, honey, we're not going down that road." Her customer relations "skills" pissed me off a bit, so I asked to speak with a supervisor. She, at first, denied the purchase as well, stating "That was clearly an error." I replied, "I agree. But whose error was it, Targets? Or mine?" She ultimately agreed to accept the raincheck. My main regret is that I expended so much effort for such a crappy movie [​IMG]
    Jon
     
  14. John_Bonner

    John_Bonner Supporting Actor

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    I had a situation like this a few years ago when I was part timing at a liquor store. A guy comes in who I've seen before, he own's the local Mercedes Benz dealership. He finds a mis-marked bottle of Dom Perignon (normally $129.00 but mismarked at $1.29). When he told me I had to sell it to him for $1.29 I just chuckled and continued ringing up his order but he wasn't chuckling. He was insisting on purchasing the Dom for $1.29. Well I wasn't going to sell it to him. If I did, the prick who owned the liquor store would've fired me and the guy who mis-marked the bottle so I told him "It's $129.00 take it or leave it" and he went on and on about how I have to sell it to him for the marked price. I replied "So you're telling me that if I walk into your dealership and one of your cars is mis-marked $5,000 instead of $50,000 you're gonna eat the $45 grand and sell me the car for $5,000?" With that he became pissed and demanded to speak to the owner. Well the owner wasn't there that day and I told him to go right ahead and tell the owner what happened since he and the owner knew each other. He never complained to the store owner probably because he knew the guy would laugh him out of the store.
     
  15. Philip_G

    Philip_G Producer

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    A good friend of mine is a cashier at a super target, if a customer has something mismarked and is polite about it she can give them that price and does, if they're assholes about it they pay full price.
     
  16. Paul D Young

    Paul D Young Second Unit

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    Very interesting moral dilemma. The day I bought my first DVD player (the day they went on the market), I went to best buy to get some DVDs. Jerry maGuire DVD was marked at the VHS price because DVD was brand new and they were confused. I brought it to the counter thinking that I would buy it for $12.99 (the marked price) but not for $22.99 (the intended price). I told the cashier that I wasn't sure if it was the correct price but that I would buy it if it was. She told me that it was marked with an incorrect price but she would sell it to me for the marked price. I bought it and it never occured to me until today that this would have been considered "stealing" by some people.
     
  17. Ryan Wright

    Ryan Wright Screenwriter

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  18. Jeff Kleist

    Jeff Kleist Executive Producer

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    Keith, I used to work at that Tower, we would always offer it to you at our cost if that was an issue. Maybe things have changed
     
  19. Dave George

    Dave George Stunt Coordinator

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    Keith,
    I live in King of Prussia, and have a friend that works at that Tower. Was it a tall kid with dark hair? If so, I'll smack him around a little for you next time I see him. [​IMG]
    Dave
     
  20. KeithH

    KeithH Lead Actor

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    Jeff,
    Yes, I guess things have changed. [​IMG]
    Dave,
    I didn't pay much attention to the cashier's appearance. As I recall, he was tall with brown hair. For some reason, I think he had a beard. He looked to be about 18 or 19.
     

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