|On January 16, 2011 I came across and advertisement for a Sony Play Station 3 60GB hard drive gaming console for sale at Target.com for $39.99. That model of the PS3 is the oldest model and I thought that Target.com was having a Martin Luther King Day sale, so I went to the Target.com website and ordered two of these gaming consoles. However, when I received my email receipt it listed two Play Station 3 Accessories and not the two gaming consoles that I had ordered. When I logged onto my Target.com account the online receipt listed the two Play Station 3 gaming consoles that I had ordered.|
Due to the discrepancy I called Target.com customer service and talked to the representative Janine who basically told me that legally Target.com could advertise anything that they wanted and then replace that advertised item with a completely different item for a different price. I was then placed on hold for 45 minutes while Janine located her supervisor, Mackeita. The supervisor Mackeita told me that it was up to the consumer to read the fine print during the checkout process and that if I had done so I would have seen that I had agreed to allow Target.com change the price in the event a price listing error on their website.
I did not see this fine print at all during the checkout process prior to the purchase and I did not check any boxes agreeing to any such thing before or after my purchase, the clause is only shown after the purchase has been completed. The clause appears at the bottom of the email receipt and states, (Despite our best efforts, a small number of the items on our Web site may be mispriced. As part of our shipping procedures, we verify price before an item is shipped out. If an item's correct price is lower than our stated price, we charge the lower amount and ship you the item. If an item's correct price is higher than our stated price we will cancel your order and notify you of such cancellation via email). As this clause is only shown after the checkout is complete and then again in an email receipt, I was not given the option of agreeing with the clause or not.
Makeita completely sidestepped the fact that Target.com was committing fraud by advertising a Play Station 3 console and once this item was purchased, Target.com sent out receipts for a different item altogether. Target.com is refusing to sell me the two Play Station 3 consoles that I ordered for the price that was listed in the order. Then to add insult to injury Target.com is claiming no responsibility for the false advertisement even though the supervisor Mackeita said that they knew about the error more than 24 hours prior to my order yet they still had not taken down the advertisement.
This PS3 console is advertised as being sold at Target.com on three other websites, including Amazon.com who gives a complete description of the console that it sells for Target.com. I have taken screen shots of these other website advertisements as well as the Target advertisement. I also have screen shots of my Target.com order.
I do not see how Target.com can blatantly get away with breaking the law by claiming website error. Do they not have proof readers that check their advertisements prior to being published? I know that if this mistake were made inside of a store they would have to honor the advertised price, because it is the law. Adding a clause stating it is ok to commit larceny when you work for Target does not change the fact that larceny is illegal, the clause does not erase the law.
For Target.com to say that consumers have agreed to let Target.com rip them off simply because Target added a clause stating that consumers are agreeing to be ripped off by completing an online purchase. It seems to me that not giving the consumer the option or even worse, not making the consumer aware of the scam clause until after a purchase has been completed is fraud all by itself.