If something is advertised at the wrong price
If something you want to buy is advertised at the wrong price, you may be able to buy it at the lower price.
Buying in a shop
Your legal rights in a shop will depend on whether you’ve paid for the item yet or not.
If you haven’t bought it yet
If you take an item to the till and are told the price on the tag or label is a mistake, you don’t have a right to buy the item at the lower price. You could still try asking the seller to honour the price.
It’s the same if you see an item advertised anywhere for a lower price than the one on the price tag.
If you’ve already bought it
If the shop sold you an item at a lower cost than they meant to, you don’t have to give it back - they’re only legally entitled to ask you for more money if you’d talked about the price (eg £100) and they ended up charging you much less instead (eg £10).
If you realise you’ve paid more for an item than it was advertised for at the time, ask for the shop to refund the difference between what you paid and what was advertised.
Keep any evidence of the mistake, if you can - for example, you could take a photo of the advert in the shop window.
Your legal rights depend on something fairly tricky in the law: whether or not you have a ‘contract’.
Depending on the company’s terms and conditions, you’ll have legal rights (and a contract) either:
once you’ve paid for the item
once they’ve sent it to you
You’ll need to find the company’s terms and conditions to find out where you stand. Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need help. It may be too tricky to work out yourself.
If you have a contract, the company can’t usually cancel your order, even if they realise they’ve sold you something at the wrong price. They’ll only be able to cancel it if it was a genuine and honest mistake on their part that you should’ve noticed.
If you don’t have a contract and someone realises they’ve told you the wrong price, they can cancel your order.
If you had to pay extra fees to get something delivered
If you bought something from a business based outside the UK, you might need to pay VAT, customs duty or delivery fees. The company that’s delivering your item will send you a bill telling you what you need to pay.
You can find out more about fees and what to do if you’ve been charged too much on GOV.UK.
Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 0808 223 1133 if you need more help - a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone. You can also use an online form.
If you’re in Northern Ireland, contact Consumerline.
If you feel that the shop is deliberately misleading people, you can report them to Trading Standards.
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