/ Shopping

Ask Which? – Why can’t I order a Currys cooker online?

Computer mouse lead in shape of shopping trolley

Simon asks: I’ve spent three days trying to order a cooker/hob. Currys has been far from helpful – it says there’s a technical hitch and it cannot process the order, but it is still offering the deal on its website.

I cannot contact anyone in Currys’ Head Office about this and I’ve been into my local store and had the same problem. Is there anything I can do?

Joanne Lezemore, Senior Solicitor for Which? Legal Service responds:

Frustrating as this situation is, when something is offered for sale, a company is not legally obliged either to sell it, or sell it for the price advertised. Legally, it is known as an ‘invitation to treat’ where you, as the consumer, offer to buy it and it is for the company to accept or reject that offer.

The retailer can refuse that offer if it decides that it doesn’t want to sell you the goods. To have a legally-binding contract the retailer must have accepted your offer to buy. So your rights depend on where in the sale process you are.

Unfortunately, if you order an item on the internet, you don’t have a legally-binding contract until the retailer has contacted you to confirm the order. In your case, as it doesn’t sound like you have had a confirmation of your order, it will be hard to get Currys to honour a sale that hasn’t been made yet.

However, it is a criminal offence for companies to have items on show for sale that either they would not sell, or never actually had to sell in the first place. If that is the case then they can be prosecuted by trading standards.

If you think that Currys is misleading customers about the prices of this item, you could report it to your local trading standards department to investigate. Trading standards have powers to force retailers to change their behaviour, but they can’t help with individual cases or force a retailer to sell you something for a certain price.

You can find more advice and information which may be of use in our guide to pricing disputes.

Have you got a similar experience to share? Did the company sell you the product or did you give up?

Comments
Profile photo of Louis
Member

I think that you are morally entitled to an explanation of the ‘technical hitch’. It is easy to hide behind a smokescreen, but on the other hand it might be a genuine problem and the company may intend to sell you the cooker when it is able to.

I would never buy from Currys or PC World (part of the same company). A few years ago, I bought a washing machine and paid for installation. When the deliverymen came, they said that they could not install, on the basis that something was wrong with the pipework. The next day, I got a professional installer and he said that nothing was wrong . (I suspect that the Currys employees could not be bothered, as it was late in the evening). After wasting time and petrol visiting two stores, Currys refunded only the installation charge paid to them, not the extra cost that I had to pay someone else.

I have also heard someone at work complain bitterly about the hassle she has had with Currys, wasting a lot of time and money.

I now buy from smaller retailers, who care about their customers.

Profile photo of richard
Member

Can only say I have known about the “offer” “acceptance” and “consideration” ‘rule’ for many years.

Never had a problem with Currys – they have been fast and courteous (I buy all my white goods from there) all installations over the years have been fast and reliable.

It could be possible for a website to be out of commission for alterations – but still accessible to view, It seems Currys in this case had a hitch.

Member
michelle says:
30 November 2013

I ordered a samsung tab 3 from very in the black Friday sales, had my order confirmed and the money taken from my account for them the next day to cancel the order as they had priced it wrong. I know have to either pay another £150 to get them to reinstate the order of wait 10 working days for my refund. I don’t believe it was a mistake i think it was either to create a buzz about their black friday event and to get people to buy other things as-well or as they have admitted another flaw being as soon as you set up a new account it credit checks then creates a “credit” account even though i clearly clicked NO to opening a credit account and paid using a debit card I believe it could have been a ploy to attract customers to get more credit accounts!

Member
Jamie says:
8 November 2015

Had a exactly the same problem this weekend trying to buy a cooker in the sale. Three times at different points of the weekend I’ve experienced the technical difficulties page when trying to pay. Spoke to my credit card company who say it’s not a fault st their end. Guaranteed it will work come Tuesday when the sale is over.