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Grant me the Serenity...
March 16, 2012 3:45 AM   Subscribe

I've had a pre-order with a major UK online retailer for a limited run collectable ornament for a couple of months now, but the 'Due for release' date has been pushed back three times now, allegedly down to manufacturer delivery issues. That wouldn't normally be a problem... but the same online retailer has exactly the same item (and it's only made by one manufacturer) listed again elsewhere as 'In Stock' - but at more than a 50% markup (£130 as opposed to the pre-order price of £80). Are they doing anything legally wrong here (in UK law), as opposed to just deeply immoral?
posted by timpollard to Shopping (7 answers total)
 
Have you asked their customer service about it? Maybe there was a hiccup with someone not realizing it was already listed as a preorder and making a new listing when product came in.
posted by HMSSM at 3:58 AM on March 16, 2012


Is it a major online retailer like amazon.co.uk, which has other companies and individuals selling as associates on the same website? An associate may be reselling something received as a demo, or imported from another market, etc, while in the UK it has not yet been made available.
posted by whatzit at 4:11 AM on March 16, 2012


HMSSM: Indeed I have, and whilst the replies are very quick, positive and friendly and acknowledge the issue no real information or explanation has been forthcoming yet, just several promises to 'email the department concerned and get back to me' which is all well and good but hasn't actually progressed any further... If it was a hiccup (and I appreciate these things happen) they've had quite some time to address it by now.

whatzit: No, it's not a reseller, it's directly from them in both cases.
posted by timpollard at 4:15 AM on March 16, 2012


Have they taken your money? Do you know that the other items are in stock as opposed to just being declared as such?

One retailer offering identical production goods (as opposed to craft items) at non-identical prices sounds like a data entry SNAFU.
posted by epo at 4:18 AM on March 16, 2012


No, they haven't taken any money yet, so I'm aware that no contract exists between us - the main thrust of my question was whether (assuming it isn't a data entry issue, which they've now had more than enough time to rectify) it's just sharp practice or something worse.

As far as I've been informed by the gentleman I've been in contact with the higher priced item is in stock, yes.

They have a 'pre-order promise' that if the price drops between pre-order and release the price I'll pay will be the lower, but no comment on what happens if the price rises...
posted by timpollard at 4:28 AM on March 16, 2012


I'd contact BIS/Trading Standards and ask them. They'd probably be interested.

I can see that a pre-order price might be especially cheap, and that dates will be pushed back because stock isn't plentiful enough, but for there then to be items available at the regular price without the pre-orders being fulfilled is a bit odd.
posted by mippy at 5:19 AM on March 16, 2012


Just as a follow-up:

Customer services told me they assumed the £130 listing was an error and would be removed BUT...

The item was due for release on 21st March, at which point it immediately became listed as 'Temporarily Out of Stock'. I mailed them to find out if that meant my pre-order item had been posted but was told that it hadn't.

However they made this offer: If we bought the higher price listing (£130) which they still had limited stocks of they would send that out and then refund the difference so we only paid the original £80 pre-order price.

This means that whilst they've been shifting back release dates and then claiming the item is 'Out of Stock' they have actually had stock in but have preferred to keep them listed at a massive mark-up price instead of honouring pre-orders from the original listing. If I hadn't kept checking and emailing they'd never had made this offer and now I can't imagine that it's anything other than sharp practice.

(For anyone interested, the item I was after is the 8" SERENITY maquette from Play.com in the UK).

Oh, and having just checked, the £130 version is no longer listed, and they've pushed the release date of the £80 version back again. Again.
posted by timpollard at 2:59 AM on March 22, 2012


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