Online retailer honours price glitch

Cookware manufacturer ProCook has taken the unusual step of honouring a price glitch on its website by giving away 600 frying pans for free. The pans usually retail for £18.00 but were erroneously advertised on the Gloucester-based company’s website as retailing for £0.00.

Word of the glitch travelled fast on the internet and around 600 people are believed to have ordered the pans, with some customers placing an order for several. The company correctly pointed out that it was not legally obliged to honour the orders, although it had decided to do so by sending each customer a single pan.

ProCook’s stance differs significantly from a number of high profile retailers who have been hit by inadvertent price glitches on their websites in the past but have refused to honour the sales. Argos famously advertised televisions at £2.99 instead of £299.99 and apologised to customers before stating it would not be honouring the purchases. Tesco has also attracted media attention on several occasions after numerous gaffes stemming from online pricing errors.

Most retailers will have terms and conditions in place in anticipation of such errors arising from time to time. The most common and straightforward way for retailers to protect themselves is for them to have the option of confirming the customer’s order or cancelling it and issuing a full refund. A prudent retailer will also require a customer to check a box confirming acceptance of the terms and conditions at some stage during the checkout process. This will ensure that a legal contract is only formed once the retailer has accepted the transaction.

Whilst ProCook’s sales margins will have been dented by its decision to honour the price glitch, one would hope that its consumer-friendly approach will draw attention and further business to its website in the future.

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