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How to lose customers and alienate people: The Carphone Warehouse

The following are correspondence I recently had with Carphone Warehouse customer services:

NDS 18th July

I went into the Carphone Warehouse in Wimbledon (centre court shopping centre) today (18th July) at 12:15pm. I wanted to buy the Scribbly stylus for the iPad (in blue). It was priced as £12.99. When I took it to the counter I was told it was £14.99. I expected that the sales staff, including the assistant manager, would say that I could have it for the advertised price, but they refused. They said that it was policy, and that they had 14 days to respond to a price change. That may well be your policy or legal position, but I feel that this is a poor way to treat a loyal customer. If you advertise at once price, you should sell at that price. I would like to have the stylus at £12.99, as a gesture of your goodwill. There are plenty other places I could get it from, but I am sure you would agree it would be preferable to retain my custom

Carphone Warehouse 19th July

Dear Mr De Souza

Thank you for your email.

I am sorry that you are not happy with the way you were treated in the carphone warehouse store. We set very high standards of Customer Service and i am sorry that in your case you felt that this was not met.

The prices of products can alter as promotions come to an end. I can only apologise that we are unable to provide you with the Scribbly Stylus pen for £12.99 the cost of this item is now £14.99.

Please accept my apologies that i am unable to offer you a more favourable response.

If you have any other questions please reply to this email and we'll be happy to help you.

NDS 19th July

Thank you for your response. Aside from the fact that you have essentially alienated a long-standing customer, I am fairly sure that the actions of your store in Wimbledon are illegal. Therefore, please could you provide me with the legal authorisation that your stores have for advertising a product at a cheaper price from what you are intending to sell it at.

Carphone Warehouse 22nd July

Dear Mr De Souza,

Thank you for your email.

I can confirm that the price that is displayed in store is an invitation to purchase and not contract, this means that we have the right to refuse to sell a product if the price advertised is incorrect.

If you require further information in relation to the legality of this practice I would recommend contacting your local Trading Standards office for further information. To find out where your local office is located please follow the link below.


Please allow me to apologise again for any disappointment caused to you as a result of this pricing error in store. If you have any other questions please reply to this email and we'll be happy to help you.

NDS 22nd July

Thanks for clearing that up. It is a shame that the legal position is considered above the expectations of your customers (in my case the expectation that what is advertised is what should be paid), and that the rules that your company follow seems to fly in the face of common sense, with scant regard for keeping a loyal customer happy. I shall now publish our correspondence on my blog, so that the public can be better informed about this situation.

Best wishes

Nick de Souza


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