WA Australian Consumer Law - Change of Product Prices After Payment is Accepted?

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7 December 2015
I made an online purchase of a title priced at $24.95 from a small but well-known Melbourne-based bookseller. After the transaction was completed and I had been emailed a receipt, I received a further email advising that the item was not in stock and getting it from the supplier would take three-four weeks, not the three days stated in the purchase documents, and asking whether I still wanted the title.

I replied that I did still want it but would like its shipment expedited if possible and would be prepared to pay an additional fee for this. Then and only then, I received a further email from the same representative stating "My apologies for this, but I forgot to mention in my previous email that unfortunately the price of the book has also been increased by the supplier to $45.00".

I replied to this email saying that I didn't think this complied with trade regulations in Australia and that I would look into it.

I reviewed the Australian Consumer Law material online and read that in the case of incorrect pricing the retailer is entitled to advise the customer of the error and offer the goods to the customer at the correct price at the point of sale, providing they have not already accepted payment.

I also found in the section on online merchandising that the obligation of the retailer to honour advertised prices depended on the terms and conditions of the online sale that appear on the website. So I went back to the same bookseller's website and found the item still advertised at $24.95.

I placed an order, thinking I would get through to a 'terms and conditions' page which I could review before cancelling out of the transaction, but there was no such page!--so in effect an additional transaction has now been completed for the goods at the advertised price. The order confirmation states that 'your credit card will not be charged until your order is ready for dispatch'.

I emailed the person I had been dealing with to advise that I had taken this action and to ask that the second-order be disregarded.

My questions are:
Is the bookseller required to provide the goods to me at the price advertised as payment has (notionally) been accepted? And am I now obliged to have two copies of the book sent to me?


Hi Fairgo,

Generally retailers are not obliged to honour incorrectly priced goods which have been advertised by mistake. Many retailers do go above and beyond and endeavour to please their customers by honouring their advertised or scanned price even if it is wrong, however this is not their legal obligation.

You would have the right to reject the transaction if they cannot honour the advertised price.