USA Website legalities
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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:47 am 
 

Hi All,



was wondering, if someone in the USA lists a product on their website at the wrong price, and someone buys it, are they legally obliged to sell it to them or not?



Cheers,

Malcolm

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 6:16 am 
 

Generally I'd say they're not obliged to sell the item.  A few months back one of the large electronics companies (Sony/Toshiba/Dell/etc.) listed a palmtop that usually sold for something like $500 for $50.  I tried to order one at the outrageously low price, and even though the order was accepted the next day I got a very nice email saying the order couldn't be fulfilled.  



The applicable laws may vary from state to state.



There's also a possibly of a false advertising claim, if the incorrect price is prominently displayed and/or used in advertising.



I am not a lawyer and the preceeding should not be taken as legal advice.

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 6:31 am 
 

NetRodent wrote:Generally I'd say they're not obliged to sell the item. A few months back one of the large electronics companies (Sony/Toshiba/Dell/etc.) listed a palmtop that usually sold for something like $500 for $50. I tried to order one at the outrageously low price, and even though the order was accepted the next day I got a very nice email saying the order couldn't be fulfilled.



The applicable laws may vary from state to state.



There's also a possibly of a false advertising claim, if the incorrect price is prominently displayed and/or used in advertising.



I am not a lawyer and the preceeding should not be taken as legal advice.




Well what malc is saying, that if somebody does that in the UK, and they refuse to honour the transaction, you can get them for breaching the sale of goods act (i remember the 1979 one but am pretty sure its been updated a number of times since)



anyone who is interested: http://www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/topics1/facts ... odsact.htm



do you have something akin to this over in the US?



Al



  


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:17 am 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
NetRodent wrote:Generally I'd say they're not obliged to sell the item. A few months back one of the large electronics companies (Sony/Toshiba/Dell/etc.) listed a palmtop that usually sold for something like $500 for $50. I tried to order one at the outrageously low price, and even though the order was accepted the next day I got a very nice email saying the order couldn't be fulfilled.



The applicable laws may vary from state to state.



There's also a possibly of a false advertising claim, if the incorrect price is prominently displayed and/or used in advertising.



I am not a lawyer and the preceeding should not be taken as legal advice.




Well what malc is saying, that if somebody does that in the UK, and they refuse to honour the transaction, you can get them for breaching the sale of goods act (i remember the 1979 one but am pretty sure its been updated a number of times since)



anyone who is interested: http://www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/topics1/facts ... odsact.htm



do you have something akin to this over in the US?



Al




Again, depends on the law of the particular state, but I can tell you that one of the first cases we studied in contracts class in law school covered this situation (something like a $99 fur coat [it was an old case] being advertised at $0.99).  IIRC, the general rule is that a reasonableness standard applies.  If the mistake is so extreme that no person could reasonably expect the advertised price to be accurate, then it is not an enforceable offer.



Let me say once again that subsequent developments in a state's common and statutory law may supersede this old chestnut, and I am not giving anyone legal advice here.

  

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 9:19 am 
 

Thanx.

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 12:58 pm 
 

Were you the one who tried buying the TSR artwork at Noble Knight for a penny each?   :wink:



I'm not a lawyer but I've read of numerous cases where a business is not obligated to sell a product when an obvious error has been made in pricing... just imagine all the con artists going around with a pricing gun amending sales tags if the law stated as such.

  


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 1:42 pm 
 

killjoy32 wrote:
Well what malc is saying, that if somebody does that in the UK, and they refuse to honour the transaction, you can get them for breaching the sale of goods act (i remember the 1979 one but am pretty sure its been updated a number of times since)



anyone who is interested: http://www.dti.gov.uk/ccp/topics1/facts ... odsact.htm



do you have something akin to this over in the US?

Al




Al, I worked in retail for three years (Safeways, for my crimes against humanity/the education system) and this is actually a common misconception in the UK. If something is priced incorrectly, then the store has 24 hours to take it off sale & price it correctly, however, if it is on sale at that price after that time they are legally obliged to sell it to you at that price.



Most retailers will give you the item at the wrong price as a gesture of good will, however, they are not legally obliged to do so.


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 2:20 pm 
 

dathon wrote:Were you the one who tried buying the TSR artwork at Noble Knight for a penny each? :wink:


I was on to Aaron about that asap. ;)

(Inflexible ecommerce system, apparently...).



dathon wrote:I'm not a lawyer but I've read of numerous cases where a business is not obligated to sell a product when an obvious error has been made in pricing...


The "reasonableness" clause (as noted by Achizar) tallies with my understanding of the general U.S. situation. Roughly equivalent to that "E&OE" attempt-to-get-the-seller-out-of-jail tag which doesn't actually have any legal standing in the U.K. (is more meant to cover an advertisement rather than the actual seller at point of transaction/contract, I think).

*

Which is why contracts will often have extras such as

"We reserve the right to withdraw any item from sale, at any point prior to despatch, for whatever reason. You will be promptly informed by email if such a situation arises."



Apologies; I digress....

And is only my non-legal-expert understanding (E&OE/02c).



=

That "24 hours" clause is news to me, Winterwords. Was that specifically "accepted" by the legal system (however that was done) for RL retailers, or is it more generic than that?

  


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 2:37 pm 
 

Aside, I put in some notes on the artwork over there. Three of those drawings were from A4. :)


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 3:50 pm 
 

harami2000 wrote:
That "24 hours" clause is news to me, Winterwords. Was that specifically "accepted" by the legal system (however that was done) for RL retailers, or is it more generic than that?


I'm not sure how it holds up by law. My guess is that it's probably a generic thing adopted by most companies to cover themselves (for large retailers, internal rules about price changes etc. are quite strict with many items being checked weekly), but possibly also that if the items are left on sale after this time, and the retailer has been informed, then the law looks at them poorly & would side with the consumer.


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 4:24 pm 
 

bclarkie wrote:Aside, I put in some notes on the artwork over there. Three of those drawings were from A4. :)




Already well-noted and commented upon :D :D :D


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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 5:13 pm 
 

grodog wrote:
bclarkie wrote:Aside, I put in some notes on the artwork over there. Three of those drawings were from A4. :)




Already well-noted and commented upon :D :D :D




Yeah, me too, actually they were the only ones I definitively recognized.  The A series is one of my favorites.   :D



Has anyone bought some of the ones that were already priced?  

stormber?  burntwire?   :wink:

  

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Post Posted: Wed Oct 05, 2005 6:31 pm 
 

dathon wrote:Were you the one who tried buying the TSR artwork at Noble Knight for a penny each?  :wink:




LOL, I assumed that Aaron had either gone insane or he was waiting on info to properly describe the artwork before he put a price on it... although I was tempted to buy em all at a cent and see if they shipped;)



Brette:)

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