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I am stingy, I can see that, but am I being unreasonable?

(98 Posts)
withgreatpower Sun 17-Nov-13 21:13:42

I phoned a well-known pizza delivery company (don't want to say who, because I never had problems with them before today), and said that I wanted to use their voucher (that they had delivered with the previously ordered pizza) for £ 5.99 for any size pizza, collection only (the voucher specified that this was good only for the classi bases, not the fancy ones, which was ok with me).

I get told by the "pizza guy" on the phone that that voucher is now £6.99. I point out that the voucher is valid until December 2013. More discussion... Then I get to talk to the manager, who explains that the pizza company headquarters had printed wrong vouchers, and the local franchise is now charging £6.99 instead of £5.99. He says it's still a good deal - and I agree with him, but I point out that the voucher says £ 5.99, and that I don't think that what he's doing is legal.

The manager says that if I read the small print (not on the voucher, but on the rest of the menu) it says that they can change offers any time.

I then ask the manager if, when I collect my pizza and I pay for it £ 6.99, he can write on a piece of paper that I tried to use the £5.99 voucher but he didn't honour it, and to put his details on it. I said that I would then check with the company headquarters if that was normal practice. The manager (still very polite, I have to say), then says he can't write a letter like that, but he decides to let me have my pizza for £5.99, but just for this time - I am not allowed to use any other £5.99 voucher that I might still had.

So, I spent 10 minutes on the phone for £ 1!!! Yes, I am very stingy, but was I unreasonable?

PS: When I collected the pizza, I realised that they might have spat in it... I ate the pizza anyway - it was tasty!

KEAWYED Tue 19-Nov-13 18:59:58

I work in retail, and if somethings mispriced I'll honour it. If its a major price difference I'll ask the manager first (we have books priced in different parts of the store that can get missed when price changed)

Funny thing is you can see some customers waiting before its even scanned to jump down your throat. The more the customers nice to me the more I'll be helpful. But you were in the right

DuckworthLewis Tue 19-Nov-13 21:05:33


As I have already explained, the law governing a unilateral offer (the pizza offer) differs from that around a bilateral contract (the plum example/ITTs etc)

The Adviceguide article deals with bilateral contracts, which I guess is what you are also used to dealing with in your business? Why don't you have a read of the first link I posted about bilateral/unilateral contracts? That is probably more pertinent to OP's original question.

If you'd like some further info on the legal difference between an ITT and a unilateral offer (admittedly the difference is not always clear cut) have a read of these cases.

Carlill v Carbolic Smoke Ball Co (still the leading authority for an advert being held to be a valid offer)

Pharmaceutical Society of GB v Boots Cash Chemist (Case where an ITT was not held to be an offer)

DuckworthLewis Tue 19-Nov-13 21:09:32

Oh, and FWIW, you can't always withdraw an offer once it has been made; contract law is littered with amusing cases of people being held to comedy prizes/offers they have made under the mistaken belief that 'noone would take them seriously'

I seem to recall one where someone tried to claim their 'prize' of a Typhoon fighter does happen...

DuckworthLewis Tue 19-Nov-13 21:10:48

sorry nickelbabe

merrymouse Tue 19-Nov-13 21:13:20

I think it's just bad customer service. If they messed up they should honour the original voucher. They were the ones being cheapskates over a £1, not you.

CreamyCooler Tue 19-Nov-13 21:14:41

I guess it's case of how much you value your time. 10 minutes of my time is worth more than £1.

zipzap Tue 19-Nov-13 22:35:03

The thing is too that occasionally shops do offer bonkers deals to get the punters in or make headlines or so they can say that the sale has things in it for up to 99% off.

So even though a printer for 99p sounds crazy, if the shop is having a sale or trying to run up some publicity or whatever, then it does happen so it's not unreasonable to assume that it could be a legitimate offer.

And yes, it is unreasonable of them to try to add a pound to your order and say that it is the new price. What if the difference had been £2 or £3 and it pushed the price to be more than the opposition's pizza - if they hadn't had the 'wrong' price printed on the vouchers then you would have chosen somebody else potentially so it could be very misleading.

roses2 Wed 20-Nov-13 00:06:40

I would have done the same out of principle
Sounds like the franchise were trying it om!

nickelbabe Wed 20-Nov-13 13:07:13

duckworth the pizza offer is still not a unilateral contract.

mumteedum Wed 20-Nov-13 13:20:15

Not sure iyabu but I enjoyed your last paragraph! grin

enriquetheringbearinglizard Wed 20-Nov-13 13:20:26

*Basically though, they were right and you were wrong.

It was good customer service to honour the incorrectly printed voucher but they were under no obligation to do so*

See for me it's not about the voucher, whether HO had it right or wrong or the £1, it's about the Manager being insistent upon something but then refusing to put his name to what he'd said or to write it down.

Regardless of contract law or anything else that's what would bug me.

IslaValargeone Wed 20-Nov-13 13:31:01

There are some principles worth arguing for.
To spend 10 minutes arguing over a £1 with someone who was preparing food for you is not one of them however.
Count yourself lucky if they only spat in it.

DuckworthLewis Wed 20-Nov-13 14:48:45


I have a degree in law, and am trying, as politely as I can, to show you that there is more to this than the narrow understanding that you have.

As Donald Rumsfeld would have said, these are 'Unknown unknowns' for you.

I'm trying to help you out here, but if you really are too stubborn to see this, then I will graciously withdraw from this exchange and wish you well.

nickelbabe Thu 21-Nov-13 17:49:55

I think.then duckworth, you need to revisit what you've learned.
I can see the marathon tjing being unilateral, but I do not see how a leaflet stating an invitation to treat is the same thing at all.
but then, it would depend on.whether the pizza company class it as a flyer with an offer or an actual voucher.
if they call it a voucher, then yes, I'll agree unilateral.

nickelbabe Thu 21-Nov-13 17:51:30

and there's no need to be snarky.

withgreatpower Thu 21-Nov-13 18:34:52

nickelbabe, on the voucher, it says: "voucher must be handed in to staff upon collection". Is it considered a voucher?

Another questions for the laywers: if you read the menu, with prices shown, outside a restaurant, and then sit at a table, and you order something, but the waiter says they have increased the prices by £1, is that legal or illegal? Not that this has ever happened to me, but I'm just wondering.

Tikkamasala Sat 23-Nov-13 02:54:13

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Thants Sat 23-Nov-13 09:47:03

Yanbu but I would have paid the price they said and then emailed head office and taken it up with them not the guy at pizza shop who just gets told what to do. There's not much they can do. You need to contact the people that make decisions.

LittleprincessinGOLDrocks Sat 23-Nov-13 10:25:13

YANBU. I will always ask companies to honour their offers.
Most recently it was Dunelm Mills, they had reduced some items, so as I went to pay I expected them to be at the price on the sticker. They were all at original price. So I asked the lady to check the pricing. She did. Yes it was only 40-80p per item, but with 10 items it added up to a lot of money for me. The lady even thanked me as they thought another staff member had updated the system to match the tags, so they were then able to correct the system.
It is not just the money it is the principle of the thing.

nickelbabe Mon 25-Nov-13 21:45:24

I suppose it does make it a voucher.

I was thinking about this yesterday. most vouchers say something along the lines of "while stocks last. offer can be withdrawn at any time"

Walkacrossthesand Mon 25-Nov-13 21:56:51

I have stopped using my local Chinese takeaway because they routinely overcharge by £1-2 on a family order. Each time I query it they tot up the bill on their little calculator and give me the pound or two back. If I don't query it, but add it up when I get home, Ive always paid £1-2 too much. I can't be arsed with checking every time, and I dislike that approach to business, so I go elsewhere. Maybe one day I'll go in & tell them why...

LadyHarrietdeSpook Mon 25-Nov-13 22:05:22

It's the regard for customer service that would piss me off here- or apparent lack of it. Honestly that's right- it's a quid difference and they themselves printed up the vouchers. Just give the woman the pizza and admit you've only yourselves to blame. (Was it papa johns?!)

phantomnamechanger Mon 25-Nov-13 22:11:05

I ALWAYS insist on paying the advertised price even if the item is marked up at the wrong price. I have alwasy got my way, by being polite but insistent.

only yesterday in M&S my 3 food items I was buying were on a 3 for 2 offer, and it did not adjust at the till - OK, someone had to go check the label on the shelf and override the till while others waited, but I was right and I got the £4 off. If I had known the items were not on offer I would only have been buying 1.

We got a bargain on a printer in Tesco too - label was set up under a whole shelf of the wrong model - manager was not pleased and ordered someone to go sort it PDQ, but sold it to us at the advertised price, which is good customer service.

Another time I was sent a bunch of vouchers at the office for STAPLES rewards - went off 2 days later to stock up - only to be told at the till that due to an error the vouchers had been posted too early that month and were not actually valid till the next week. On the reverse however it clearly said valid from date of receipt,. they phoned their helpline who were totally " we cant do anything about it" but I was not wasting a 30mile round trip and the store manager again choose to over ride the till and give me my 20% off.

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