Brown Thomas has insisted it is entitled to cancel orders from eagle-eyed customers who spotted cut-price deals on its website.
The department store has apologised to customers after a ‘pricing error’ saw high-end runners on sale for just €10 on its website yesterday morning.
In a statement today it said a technical error on its website “resulted in a large number of unavailable items being offered for sale, at incorrect prices.”
Customers jumped on the deal, which saw them saving around €110 on the popular Veja runners.
Shortly after 11am however, Brown Thomas said the orders would be cancelled and apologised for any inconvenience.
Some customers reacted angrily to the Tweet – urging the retailer to honour the advertised prices.
One noted that another retailer previously encountered a similar issue and went ahead with the sale.
— Katie (@KTnally) August 31, 2022
“It’s your own fault that the prices were listed incorrectly,” she said. “You should honour the price that was on the site.”
“This is a publicity and marketing disaster,” said another. “In the long run, it would likely pay to honour your sales made today. I would be one of many, I’m sure, who would shop elsewhere in future. I received a confirmation email and nothing since so I’m expecting the items.”
“Disgraceful that a big name should treat their customers like that,” said a third. “It’s your fault and all orders should be fulfilled. Not a good look for Brown Thomas. Can’t see myself shopping there again if the orders aren’t fulfilled.”
Newstalk consumer expert Sinead Ryan said the issue was “a greyish area in consumer law.”
Not sure what occured, but it's a greyish area in consumer law. Essentially if it's in T&Cs it's valid, and anything *obviously* wrongly priced can be sold at the correct price, although a refund of the price paid is usually offered.
— @sinead_ryan (@sinead_ryan) August 31, 2022
In a statement Brown Thomas said: “We deeply regret this situation and apologise to all affected customers.”
It said the orders will be cancelled “as per our terms and conditions” – with impacted customers to be 20% off their next online purchase as compensation.
In its terms and conditions Brown Thomas notes that “prices may change and offers may be withdrawn at any time.”
“Although we try to ensure all our prices displayed on our website are accurate, errors may sometimes occur,” the conditions read.
“If we discover an error in the price of an item you have ordered we will contact you as soon as possible to notify you of its cancellation. In some cases, you will have the option to reconfirm your order at the correct price, however this is not always possible.
Under the Consumer Protection Act, retailers do not automatically have to sell incorrectly listed items at the lower price.
It notes that they must correct the mistake as soon as possible.
According to Citizens Information: “When you buy online, you should always be aware of any terms and conditions that form part of the contract of sale.”
“Detailed terms and conditions are often set out at the bottom of the relevant webpage. These terms often reserve the right to cancel the transaction where there has been a genuine or obvious error in respect to price.”