Published:
28/06/2002
Right of Reply email sent:
28/06/2002

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Currys

Dixons Store Group


Richmond
Dedicated Page in the Public Domain
Complainant:
Mr D Kitchen
Town/City of Residence:
Middlesex

Currys refuse to honour price promise.

I wished to purchase a widescreen TV after my one had become damaged... the insurer (More Than) paid out swiftly and accepted that this was covered by my household insurance... they informed me that the Dixons Group would contact me to supply vouchers to the value of the television so that I could obtain a replacement.

Their first hiccup was that they would only match our current TV (Philips 32PW9523 purchased 2 years ago for £1600) against the cheapest 32" TV in the Philips range... which is only £999 and fell far short of the technical specs of my model. They refused to re-consider this until I contacted More Than to ask them to contact Dixons Insurers and re-validate the price... only then did they return with the model 32PW9576 as being a like for like match at £1474.

So... Dixons Group despatched vouchers to this value (less the £100 excess on the policy) and these arrived 15-June-2002.

So, attempt number 1)

Off I went to check out what selection I could choose from at Currys on the Great West Road in Brentford (my local store) arriving there around 10am.

Once there I saw the TV I wanted, it was the one they matched in the like for like... Philips 32PW9576... but at £1474 I felt this to be a bit steep, so seeing their Price Promise I thought I would investigate further.

The Price Promise states:

"Currys has unbeatable low prices, because even in the unlikely event of you finding a lower price for the same model and offer from a local retail store, we will reduce our price by 100% of the difference

We will only do this where the offer is available to purchase immediately at another retail store, within 10 miles of Currys - either before you purchase, or within 7 days of your purchase from Currys."

So, I visited the Philips web site and browsed for their dealer list...
http://www2.consumer.philips.com/global/b2c/common/dealerlocator/dealer.jhtml
And selected 'London' as the location, and 'TV' as the category. The very first dealer is 'A and M Electronics' of Tottenham Court Rd.

I phoned A&M and they informed me that the TV I wanted was available in store for £1299.

So printing the dealer list and the writing down the price I returned to Currys.

On asking to purchase the TV under the Price Promise they fetched the manager (Ian) to deal with me. Who proceeded to phone A&M. Ian confirmed that they had also quoted him £1299 but then went into a back office. A few moments later he returned to say that he would not be granting me a Price Promise and the agreed reduction in price since A&M are not listed in Directory Enquiries and that he was "unable to confirm that the shop is trading there".

Upon calling Currys customer service, I was informed (after the helper phoned the store) that it was a managers right to refuse to honour the Price Promise regardless of what proof I could offer.

I obtained a note from the manager to the effect that he refuses to perform a price match because the company was not listed in directory enquiries.

On asking him to contact Philips or to check the Philips website to validate his already phoning the store and that they are a legitimate retail outlet trading where I've stated... he again refused.

I'm complaining because this is against their company policy. Further, to promise a particular service and then refuse because a customer wants to use it, is in mind a lie... they either offer the Price Promise or they don't... not just when it suits thme (price compare against Comet or Dixons... where the price fixing between these stores keeps levels artificially high).

I am now left with no choice but to pay full price, even though they advertise heavily that they will beat any other price.

I did all that was asked... spending a whole saturday morning phoning round... just to be told no because it didn't suit the manager.

Onto attempt number 2)

After failing to get Brentford to agree to abiding to their Price Promise, I returned home and searched on http://ws4info.companieshouse.gov.uk/info/ (Companies House website) for A&M to prove their existence beyond refute.

I then headed with all my paperwork (and a new RAC Route search proving that A&M were only 8.2 miles from the Richmond Currys) off to the Richmond branch of Currys.

On arriving there (around 3pm), I spoke to a Sales Asst named Ian, who accepted after calling A&M that I had strong grounds for the Price Promise and he called a Manager to approve the Price Promise, "I Can't find holes in this one". The manager questioned the distance, and I proved that it was less than 10 miles. He questioned their status, and I showed the Companies House printout. He questioned whether the product they offered was a legitimate UK model, and I proved that they were a Official Philips Dealership.

After all of this the Manager agreed, but said that he would need approval from the area manager. He then went into a back room, and returned five minutes later and informed me that the area manager had declined my price promise. Yet he would not give me a solid reason why it has been refused. He mentioned the distance again, and I explained that according to their advertisement and policy I was in the right. He mentioned the 'grey goods' thing, and I pointed out that they were an official dealership. But he remained steadfast and insisted that he would not be honouting the Price Promise agreement, even though there is no small print on the Price Promise allowing a manager or the company to refuse if you have met all their criteria... nor does the Price Promise exclude this or any store on Tottenham Court Rd.

I was forced in the end to purchase the TV at full price. Even though I was entitled to £174 off through their Price Promise.

I feel very strongly that Currys should be made to honour promises it tells its customers. And that at the minimum I am due the £174 in vouchers to spend there.

It is simply wrong for a company to advertise one thing, to have that at the core it of it's 'Unbeatable Prices' that it proclaims in massive letters throughout the store... but when a customer takes them up on it they simply refute my right to it, even though there is no clause otherwise and I have solid evidence of the price that the item could be obtained at.

I would dearly like to take this further, feeling that a company of the scale of Currys and the Dixons Group who have such a dominant position should be forced to honour the promises they make and not deceive the customer on their prices.

Yours, David Kitchen

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