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Homebase multi-buy paint promo was an 'online error'

The Observer's Anna Timms responds to a enquiry from a Homebase customer who tried to buy paint during a recent promotion:

Last month Homebase's website advertised a three-for-two offer and 15% discount on all Crown, Sandtex and Sadolin paints. But when I tried to buy three five-litre pots they were not included in the offer. I complained and sent a screen shot of the web advertisement, which clearly states all pots were included. Homebase responded that the offer applied only to 2.5-litre pots and "we would never honour a mistake made"! SR, Plymouth, Devon

Homebase tells me that an online error caused the five-litre pots to be incorrectly advertised as part of the three-for-two offer. It has now sent you a gift voucher to the value of one pot of Crown paint and declares it always tries to resolve disputes fairly.

Retailers have no obligation to honour erroneously advertised prices or offers. Legally, the price tag is not a contract; it is an invitation for the customer to make an offer to purchase and the retailer doesn't have to accept that offer. A contract is only formed when the shop accepts a payment. However, if you remain aggrieved you could report the issue to Trading Standards under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading regulations 2008.

Source : Anna Timms - The Guardian/The Observer

29 September 2013
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