I was laying in bed the other night doing some shopping on Amazon via my smartphone when I encountered a price that was SO good that I sat bolt upright. Yes, I may have a problem. I noticed a REALLY good deal on a new coffee maker directly on the Amazon homepage featured as a “Deal of the Day”. What happened next was quite surprising. Here’s how it all went down…
A Screaming Deal on a Coffee Maker
What would you think if you stumbled upon the Gourmia Pour Over coffee maker pictured above on the Amazon homepage?
Would you think the Amazon price was actually $17.99?
For obvious reasons, I definitely did. But then when I clicked on the coffee maker it took me to the product page with a price of $149.99.
I was like, what? They should honor the lower price, this is false advertising.
So I crawled out of bed and started investigating.
It Was Late…So I Hit Up Amazon Live Chat
Seeing that it was almost midnight I went on my laptop and started a Live Chat with Amazon.
In retrospect, I should have called Amazon as live chat operators have ZERO authority to give me the lower price.
I politely explained the situation and even sent the operator a screenshot of the coffee maker with the $17.99 price tag.
The first operator I chatted with said the $17.99 was simply a reference to “some items in the coffee category being priced as low as $17.99”.
I called BS and asked for his supervisor.
The next 2 chat operators told me basically the same thing and neither one admitted to any mistake by Amazon.
They also stated that they had no authority to change the price from $149.99 to $17.99.
The “Wrong” Price Quickly Disappeared
While I’m chatting with Amazon guess what happened?
Yep, the powers-that-be removed the “Deal of the Day” coffee maker at $17.99 and replaced it with another item.
They clearly realized their mistake but were not about to admit it OR give me the lower advertised price.
What Does the Law State About This Situation?
Is a company obligated to sell a product for their lower advertised price, even when it’s an honest mistake?
I took this question to the Internet and discovered some interesting information.
From the San Francisco chronicle, “In general, there’s no law that requires companies to honor an advertised price if that price is wrong. But don’t expect customers to be happy about it.”
In other words, if it’s a simple mistake it is NOT false advertising.
This makes sense as a pricing error could be disastrous for a small business struggling to get by.
But I know for a fact that many big box stores and websites will give you the lower price if the price difference is not enormous.
Ask the Reader: What say you, should Amazon have given me the lower price?
Have you ever spotted a price, either online or in-store, that was clearly wrong? Did the store or website give you the lower price? Let me know in the comments.
By Kyle James