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I recently purchased a used piano for $4000 dollars. This item is to be shipped to me next week. I paid for this item with a Visa Credit Card and have received receipt.

Shortly after returning home the company called me and told me that the actual price is $5000 dollars.

Naturally I'm suspicious/concerned as the jump from $4000 to $5000 is very substantial. Especially considering the $4000 dollar price was what I was told several times by the sales rep, and I didn't try to negotiate or anything, just accepted the face value price as given by the seller.

Is this a violation of the contract? Or is there some Visa stipulation that requires the seller to honor the original agreement?

If it's helpful I'm in Washington State of the United States.

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    Were they saying the sales rep made a mistake? Were they saying the price had increased? Is the $4000 price unusually low? Is it an item that is widely available? – David Schwartz Oct 6 '18 at 22:36
  • It's a used piano so no it's not widely available in the sense the specific year and model and quality is not widely available. I think the sales rep made a mistake is what happened. They just said it was actually worth more than they charged me for it. – MrRoboto Oct 6 '18 at 23:35
  • Researching the item $4000 is on the low end of a fair price for this particular model. $5000 seems above high end in this regard. But I'm sure that's debatable on your source/location. – MrRoboto Oct 6 '18 at 23:41
  • Do you have an ad or email or other document that says they were asking for $4000 for the piano? – Lawrence Oct 7 '18 at 10:31
  • Is the seller in Washington as well? – Acccumulation Oct 7 '18 at 19:48
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In general, credit card companies don't get involved in pricing disputes, unless they have a specific guarantee on your card (I've seen some which will protect you against the price going down after you buy it).

Your options at this point are to either accept the higher price, or request your $4000 back.

That said, if you don't get the money back or the merchant charges the higher price anyway, that's when you can go to your bank/Visa and dispute the charge.

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    IANAL but I think if he insists they follow through and deliver as promised and paid for and they refuse he'd have a solid case in small claims court. Might be worth asking on Law – Kevin Oct 7 '18 at 5:36
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    @Kevin - As far as I know, if the merchant fully refunds your money (and there were no other damages to consider), then that's the end of it. You can't force someone to take (or keep) your money. But I'm not a lawyer either, and I could easily be wrong. – Bobson Oct 7 '18 at 5:37
  • The purchase happened, I think it's legally indisputable he owns the piano now. If they refuse to deliver it in accordance with the already executed purchase unless he pays an exorbitant sum, that sounds like extortion to me. – Kevin Oct 7 '18 at 5:42
  • That's my problem with this whole scenario Kevin. If I had say brought the piano home myself today without them delivering, would they be within their rights calling me expecting me to suddenly pay an extra $1000 dollars? – MrRoboto Oct 7 '18 at 7:09
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    @Kevin Companies frequently cancel orders due to price mistakes, if it's in their possession then they have obligation to either ship the item or refund the money, not sure they can be forced to honor the wrong price. – Hart CO Oct 7 '18 at 16:26
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I don't think this is a pricing dispute. If you have a receipt that shows that you paid in full, then the piano is yours.

Their argument that it should have been $5,000 shouldn't hold water becasue there is no set price for the item, it is a used product. The value is based on age, and condition. A few scratches can make a difference in the price.

They may say it has to be $5,000 becasue they purchased it from the previous owner for $x and they spent $y fixing it and their markup is z%. But every used piano is different so you would have no way of knowing those numbers.

Insist on them delivering the product.

You do have options if they don't complete the contract.

  • File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau.
  • File a complaint with the local government. Many cities and counties have a office that mediates between consumers and the businesses.
  • If this company is part of a bigger company you can complain to the parent organization.
  • You can file a complaint with the credit card company.
  • You can take them to small claims court.
  • The Better Business Bureau has no legal power or ability to settle disputes. It is just an intermediary that forwards the complaint and both party's responses. If the 'accused' business/vendor does not care about the customer's dissatisfaction or ensuing bad PR, a complaint will die on the vine with no resolution or repercussions. The process only means something if the 'accused' cares. – Bob Baerker Oct 7 '18 at 12:29
  • Thank you mhoran_psprep I'm meeting with the manager of the store on Monday to resolve this. I do have the receipt. Unfortunately I'm guessing small claims court would probably end up eating most of the $1000 dollar price difference. Still you have given me tools for my discussion. Thanks! – MrRoboto Oct 7 '18 at 18:57
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    @MrRoboto Small claims court is usually inexpensive, although it will take some of your time. A regular lawsuit would indeed probably cost a lot more than a thousand dollars. – David Thornley Oct 8 '18 at 18:16

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