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I am living in Australia, and recently made a fairly large purchase online from a company based in the UK. When I made the purchase, it was during a promo period where the cost was 40% off the usual price (this promotion has since ended).

Basically the amount I was charged for this purchase on my credit card was well over what the website indicated I would be paying, and I have been trying for the past week to get them to correct the price with no luck. I now want to take it to a dispute resolution service, but am not sure which one I should approach.

Here's why:

When I made my purchase, the site offered three prices - one in GBP, one in USD and one in Euro. I selected the price in GBP, since after conversion to AUD it worked out the cheapest. Upon starting the transaction process, the price switched from pound to dollar (with no indication as to which dollar currency), with a note under the price stating that the price would update based on the purchasing location once billing details were confirmed.

After entering the billing details and confirming I was buying from Australia, there was no change in price. Once the transaction completed and payment was made, the next page showed that what I had just paid was in USD instead of AUD, meaning that I paid effectively around $1400 AUD instead of approx $1100 that was shown.

Now, since the price did not indicate that it was USD instead of AUD throughout the transaction process (until the very end, AFTER payment was made), and since the website led me to believe that I would be seeing local pricing, I have contacted the vendor and asked them to correct the charge to the price they led me to believe I was paying ie. $1100 AUD.

So far their response has been that they are offering to give a full refund, but I don't think that's acceptable. I have the product already (it's software, delivered digitally) and it's something I wanted and am very happy with, but my feeling is that they have used misleading pricing on their website and that they should only charge what they have indicated I would be charged. I don't feel that a full refund is an acceptable solution here and I'd much rather have them correct the price to what was shown.

My questions are:

  • Who should I approach now for resolution, given I have already tried with the vendor?

  • Can they get away with misleading pricing?

  • Do I have the right to demand they correct the charge?

Thanks

Edit:

My main points of contention here are that: - they used misleading pricing and; - the website disallowed me to purchase in the currency of my choice (GBP) and forced me into using USD, even though the transaction took place in the UK.

  • Supposing you had paid in GBP, what would the price have been in AUD? Your question makes it sound as if the actual price offered is different between the currencies, even after factoring in the exchange rate. If you did the calculations, it seems you knew what the price would be in AUD after converting from USD. Was that number 1100? If not, why did you think you would be paying 1100 AUD when the price shown (when you looked at all of them before you chose your currency) was some number that did not convert to 1100 AUD? – BrenBarn Oct 26 '16 at 5:45
  • The price in USD happened to be very close to the price if GBP were converted to AUD (ie ~$1100 USD or ~$1100 AUD after conversion from GBP). When I saw that the currency had changed to dollars of it's own accord and the figure was around what I might expect I made the natural assumption that it was AUD (maybe the site looked at my IP address or something), especially since the site stated that the price would update based on billing address. Certainly if there was a big discrepancy between the price shown and what I expected to pay it would've raised a big red flag. – user49758 Oct 27 '16 at 1:10
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So far their response has been that they are offering to give a full refund, but I don't think that's acceptable.

If they are willing to give a full refund, to an extent this is fair.

Can they get away with misleading pricing?

Yes / No. As this is online retailer in other country, it would be difficult to pursue a resolution via mails / phone.

Who should I approach now for resolution, given I have already tried with the vendor?

You can try small claims court in UK. There is a non-profit organization Citizen Advicein UK that guides citizens.

I guess it boils down to; if you are happy with the product at AUD 1400 keep it. If you are not happy with the product for AUD 1400, return it.

  • Thanks for the answer. I still have concerns that they forced me to purchase in USD without it being clear that this was happening (I actually selected GBP when I made the purchase, since it converted to around $1100 AUD at the time). Thanks for the Citizen Advice link, I might give them a try. – user49758 Oct 25 '16 at 22:26
  • I agree with Dheer. The issue of indicating what currency you are using is more of a quality of service question. TBH, it sounds like they've just got a crappy ecommerce system, or they're forcing customers into the system that is the most economical for the vendor. Sounds like they're a crappy company more than they're trying to gouge people for more money. All the same, I would take the refund, and give them negative reviews on whatever websites are applicable. – Xalorous Oct 25 '16 at 23:23
  • I suppose you're right. I've tried communicating and all they're prepared to do is reverse the transaction. I offered to have them reverse and recharge in GBP (I do really want the product in the end), but it's not something they're willing to do. I'm more annoyed than anything that they slugged me for more than I was expecting to pay, but that still doesn't make it ok in my book. Thanks for the responses. – user49758 Oct 27 '16 at 1:18

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