Pricing errors - will they honour them??


Active Member
One for the legal eagles out there!!

Are companies legally obligated to honour a pricing error???

I recently placed two orders thanks to this forum

1. Beverly Hills Cop Trilogy by Amazon - 16.99 now priced at 23.99

I have the confirmation e-mail received for the 16.99 price

2. Buffy the Vampire Season 5 by Splashdvd - 32.99 now priced at 58.99

Again I have the email confirming the price at 32.99

I have checked the websites for any information regarding pricing errors but I haven't found anything

When it comes to the shipping of the orders are they likely to send me an email saying "Sorry we made a mistake - do you wish to cancel the order?" or will they just send it out and charge me the full price??

I've seen here on the forums that people have said that they received their dvd cheaper because of pricing error (mainly Amazon) but any opinions over this subject would be greatly appreciated!!


Active Member
Im no legal eagle, but i assume that they legally dont have to honour them, else they all would. I think its just a case of some do some dont.

Rambo John J

Distinguished Member
Most companies have smallprint tucked away in their "policies" that says they aren't liable for pricing errors and in such a case they'll cancel your order. Amazon are usually pretty good, although I've seen cases where films like Hannibal went onsite at $0.00 (about $10 more than it's worth!) and when they were swamped with orders they cancelled all of them.
I recently put a link to somewhere to get the US LOTR 2 disc for $0.75 and we all got a nice email saying we couldn't have it.

It seems to depend on how low their mistake is.


To my knowledge, if you order, they are to some extent obliged to provide you with goods. But, not necessarily at the agreed price. However, if they do change the price due to an error, they must either offer a full refund (no admin charges to be deducted) or they must offer you the item at full price (even if they no longer stock the item, they should still be giving this option.)

I suspect if you had money taken from your credit card then they changed it, they are forced to accept the error.



Guest are almost certain to honour it
They did with their even bigger errors in late July. David Attenborough collection was under priced by over £40 and I still got at lower price.

Not sure about Splash especially with such a large error. Both Splash and Play have held errors of upto £5 for me.

You are also not guaranteed the goods at the price even if they debit your credit card, as shown by recent problems with Comet over a mispriced PDA, as discussed on other forums.


Active Member
I think buns had it right.
I am not a lawyer but as far as I know uk law goes something like this:-
Five things are needed for a contract to be legally binding.
Firstly both parties must show intention of entering into a contract (I think this is just the advertising goods for sale etc) Placing goods on display is just 'an invitation to treat' (the first part) they can still refuse to sell anything to anyone if they choose.
However if they have debited your credit card then you have made an 'offer' and they have 'accepted' two major points in forming a contract.
Also the money has now changed hands a fourth point.
I think the last point needed is that the consideration (the money) has to be real (ie something of real value a pound for instance).

All this probably gets very difficult to enforce if the retailer is in a different country!

Best to rely on the good will of the retailer if you can.



I think a lot of it comes down to the scale of the error, and processing. I heard of a site (Amazon, I believe) that posted Halo for £4.99. Apparently, they even processed some shipments before discovering their error.

For stuff that's in stock and not pre-release, I think your chances to get the item at the lower (possibly incorrect) price are much better, provided a thousand people don't see the mistake and start ordering 10 and 20 copies each. Most companies will accept their mistake and take the loss to avoid annoying customers, unless the loss is substantial.


Active Member
Regarding the Splash 'offer' for Buffy Season 5, they clearly had the item priced as 'special pre-order' price and even showed the amount it will be upon release and quoted the amount of money saved as a percentage.
I believe they are required to legally honour the sale.

They have since increased the pre-order price twice, so I believe it was a genuine promotion.

Why don't you email them and simply thank them for such a great offer and see what kind of reply you get ?
(avoid saying things like " I think you have made a mistake ;) " )


Active Member
From my GCSE law days I recall that they don't have to honour it, called "invitation to treat"

An advert is an offer for you to make an offer.

For example if you see a DVD advertised for £15 and is interested, you are asking them if it is OK to buy it, they can say no.


but if they say yes and take the money........ then they dont have much of a leg to stand on. I suspect that such action against the wrong person may result in trouble! :eek:



in the paper the other day they had the very same question and the answer was - the internet is NOT covered by certain laws so the retailer is not oblieged to give you the lower price

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