Harvey Norman shoppers ‘may have a case’

Radio New Zealand reports Harvey Norman shoppers ‘may have a case’:

Rainey Collins Lawyers managing partner Alan Knowsley said if the customers did not agree to the terms and conditions they may have a case.

“They could go off to the Disputes Tribunal and seek to enforce their contract and then Harvey Norman will have to prove that the person should have known the deal was too good to be true,” Mr Knowsley said.

“Some retailers obviously advertise regularly that things are 60-80 percent off and that sort of retailer would be really hard pushed to prove that that deal wasn’t valid.”

According to the company a technical glitch on its website meant furniture and other items were sold at prices way below their nominal value. That’s exactly what consumers have been trained to expect in ‘sales’.

Now Harvey Norman doesn’t want to honour customer contracts. Imagine how that would work if the boot was on the other foot.

This case confirms what many already suspect: that the Australian-owned chain operates in poor faith. Apart from the legality and immorality of offering goods at low prices, taking money, forming contracts and then not delivering, this sends a loud “not trustworthy” message to the market.

If Harvey Norman decided to honour those glitch contracts in full it may have lost a tidy sum of money but there would be no long-term damage. Now it faces the possibility of those losses anyway, plus legal costs, ill will and negative publicity.

That’s bad business practice and awful management.

... and yet NZ retailers still wonder why shoppers head to overseas stores on the internet.