Buying in a shop – Your legal rights in a shop will depend on whether you’ve paid for the item yet or not.
If you haven’t bought it yet – If you take an item to the till and are told the price on the tag or label is a mistake, you don’t have a right to buy the item at the lower price. You could still try asking the seller to honour the price. It’s the same if you see an item advertised anywhere for a lower price than the one on the price tag.
If you’ve already bought it – If the shop sold you an item at a lower cost than they meant to, you don’t have to give it back – they’re only legally entitled to ask you for more money if you’d talked about the price (eg £100) and they ended up charging you much less instead (eg £10).
If you realise you’ve paid more for an item than it was advertised for at the time, ask for the shop to refund the difference between what you paid and what was advertised. Keep any evidence of the mistake, if you can – for example, you could take a photo of the advert in the shop window.
Shopping online – vYour legal rights depend on something fairly tricky in the law: whether or not you have a ‘contract’. Depending on the company’s terms and conditions, you’ll have legal rights (and a contract) either: once you’ve paid for the item or once they’ve sent it to you.
You’ll need to find the company’s terms and conditions to find out where you stand. Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline if you need help. It may be too tricky to work out yourself.
If you have a contract, the company can’t usually cancel your order, even if they realise they’ve sold you something at the wrong price. They’ll only be able to cancel it if it was a genuine and honest mistake on their part that you should’ve noticed.
If you don’t have a contract and someone realises they’ve told you the wrong price, they can cancel your order.
Further help – Contact the Citizens Advice consumer helpline on 03454 04 05 06 if you need more help – a trained adviser can give you advice over the phone. You can also write to them. If you’re in Northern Ireland, contact Consumerline. If you feel that the shop is deliberately misleading people, you can report them to Trading Standards.