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WA AMCAL Prices Different from Advertised Specials?

Discussion in 'Australian Consumer Law Forum' started by protecon, 30 July 2016.

  1. protecon

    protecon Member

    30 July 2016
    Likes Received:
    Evening guys,

    Just a curious situation that I've not come across before. My wife sent me down to a local Amcal chemist to get some baby bath oil because she'd seen on the website it was on special. I noticed when I saw the product on the shelf it wasn't ticketed and asked the girl at the counter if it was on special - she said no. I bought a couple anyway and when I got home the wife was a bit miffed as it was clearly shown online that it was.

    I called them up to ask and they said the online store is independent of actual Amcal pharmacies when it comes to all specials, and when asked how would I find out which stores had this advertised product on special, she said you can't...

    Can they just get around these advertised specials (bait advertising?) by using language like "participating stores" under Australian Consumer Law?
  2. Tim W

    Tim W Lawyer

    28 April 2014
    Likes Received:
    Lots of AMCAL pharmacies are franchises.
    It's often a term of a franchise agreement that individual outlets
    can choose to take part in particular promos and sales, or to not.*
    Which is why language like "participating stores only", or "not available in all stores", or
    "only available online" is almost always legit.

    Oh, and the online store is probably a retail operation
    run directly out of their corporate headquarters,
    and is probably not a franchise.

    * The other side of that same coin is that some promotions are not optional.
  3. protecon

    protecon Member

    30 July 2016
    Likes Received:
    OK - thought as much - thanks for your reply.

    Strange thing is there's no language on the website saying "online only" or "only available at selected stores" with almost every product being able to be physically picked up from your local store. In fact I can purchase the baby bath oil online with "click and collect" and pick it up from the same store I paid RRP at.

    A couple of problems I have with the website:

    - It's branded AMCAL exactly like the stores
    If they're only affiliated by the nature of franchised name, then brand the website differently and only reference the stores when using click and collect. Other retail chains make sure they are either exactly representing the online version (eg Chemist Warehouse) or only reference the name of the collection point (eg Big W) when using this feature.

    - The website insinuates it's an online version of a local store
    Not just through branding, but having direct links to stores through "store locator" displayed on every page. It also has the exact same rewards program as available in store. There's no mention on any product page that this price is not available in store, and only indicated in the FAQ;

    Pricing and Promotion
    Is the pricing on the Amcal website the same as the pricing in the stores?
    No. Stores may have different prices and promotions.
    My nearest store has a lower price than the online store, can you price match?
    We do not price match with prices from a physical store.
    My nearest store has a special promotion on a particular product, can you match the promotion?
    We do not price match with prices or promotions from a physical store.

    If it has no direct connection with physical pharmacies with the exact same branding, then make sure it's clearly displayed that this is the case eg. call it AMCAL-Direct or something other than the exact brand of the stores?
  4. DMQC

    DMQC Well-Known Member

    29 June 2016
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    No doubt there is a customer service issue going on here, but as Tim said, what they have done doesn't breach ACL or other legislation. I would not consider it bait advertising either. That's my opinion anyway.

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