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Screwfix website glitch sets all prices at 34.99

Tools and hardware retailer has suffered a technical glitch that reduced the price of everything on the website to just £34.99 overnight.

Power tools and big ticket items such as ride-on mowers that cost thousands of pounds were reduced to less than £40 at the online checkout.

Quick-thinking customers took to Twitter to spread the word, however the website was closed down this morning.

A message said the site was experiencing technical issues and the online store was temporarily unavailable.

It is now back online and the problem seems to have been fixed. Customers are waiting to hear if Screwfix will honour the purchases. The company has not yet commented on the glitch.

One customer bought a Mountfield 432cc Ride-On Tractor Mower, which has a retail price of £1,599.99, for just £34.99. He was sent a confirmation email and a shipping invoice.

The second email said: “We thought you would like to know that the delivery items in the order you placed on 24/01/2014 at 07:55 have been quality checked and packed, and are now on the way to you.”

It appears some customers didn't want to take any chances and went to their local store this morning and picked up items they had ordered online, like the Twitter user below.

However one customer who ordered an item and picked it up in-store this morning posted a comment on saying that Screwfix had demanded he bring his item back for a refund or they will charge him the full amount. He said: "Are they allowed to do that?? Help me."

Andrew Davis, of law firm DWF Fishburns, said if a transaction was completed the customer has the right to keep the product for the price they paid. This includes customers whose goods have been dispatched and are waiting to receive them.

"Screwfix should be very careful about trying to get that money back," he said.

What are your rights?

Retailers do not have to honour an advertised price that has been mistakenly knocked down and have the right to cancel orders.
If you are shopping in-store, retailers can refuse your money at the till and withdraw the product from sale.
Online the situation is not as clear. A contract needs to exist between the retailer and the customer – this usually occurs when a retailer accepts an order.
Carefully check the wording in your email – if it simply acknowledges your order, there is no contract. If it accepts your order it is likely that a contract has been entered into. Some websites say an order has only been accepted when the goods are dispatched. Check the site's terms and conditions if you are unsure.
Where orders have been dispatched to the customer or collected from a store it is unlikely that the retailer can claw the money back.

Source : Nicola Blackworth - The Telegraph

24 January 2014
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