- a blog about food and value

Fight for your rights

wineThe sign couldn’t have been clearer: the wine was reduced from €10.95 to €7.95. Handy, as I had exactly €10 and not a cent more to bring a bottle to dinner (luckily, Aldi had provided a free dessert).

I got to the counter in O’Brien’s off license, where the sales assistant asked me for €10.95. They’d made a mistake, she said.

She wasn’t budging. Neither was I. A stand-off ensued. You have to sell it to me at the advertised price, it’s the law, I boldly asserted – of course, I’d never been less confident of anything. She coolly but politely declined to sell me the wine for anything less than €10.95. This went on for about three minutes or so, until eventually her colleague caved when I started taking pictures. He’s taking a picture, he clearly means business.

Turns out, according to both the Consumers Association of Ireland and the National Consumer Agency, that I was wrong.

I had no “right” to be sold the wine at the displayed price:

Shops can and often do make an honest mistake about the prices they display. A common example would be where some price labels are wrong and the marked price is lower than what the price should be.

In such a situation your staff at the till need to point out that the marked price is wrong, then the customer has the choice whether they are willing to pay the proper price or put back the goods without buying them.

So, I had no “right” to buy the wine, and they were not “breaking the law” by their initial refusal to sell it. I was being a complete chancer, but it worked. As a result, I was able to bring a decent bottle to diner. In my defense, the law may be on their side, but they should have sold me the wine at the advertised price. I could get used to standing my ground.

Readers, do you stand up for your rights – even when you’re wrong?


  1. Always. It drives me insane when stores do this. Dunnes and Super Valu always give you the item free and refund your money if this happens, and in fairness to them, it doesnt happen very often.

  2. Stand up for your rights,yes (and push it as far as you can right or wrong!). There can be genuine mistakes and the situation can be handled in such a manner that you can see the retailers position but if they come at you with an “attitude”…..well I don’t know about anybody else but that just makes me dig my heels in!! And that comes from both sides of the counter!!

  3. Is that Torres St Valentin? If so €10.95 is a rip off!

  4. Fair enough if they’ve made an honest mistake, but they could consider that €3 to find out that they have the wrong price displayed as a cost of doing business 😛

    People really make their decisions based on price, and will often go for what’s been reduced, I think it’s unfair that in theory a seller can display a “reduced” price to coax someone into paying more than what they’d usually pay for an item, and then tell them at the till that it was a mistake and get a bit more out of those too embarrassed to change the item.

    Not saying that all sellers would do this, but you could hardly say that all sellers wouldn’t.

  5. I think most shops would sell you the item at the lower price as a goodwill gesture, even if strictly speaking they’re not obliged to do so.

    That said, how can it really be an ‘honest mistake’ to have several printed, detailed leaflets advertising the reduced price? Perhaps the wine had been reduced for a limited period and they forgot to take down the ‘reduced price’ stickers? An ‘honest mistake’ perhaps, but one a responsible retailer should take care not to make, and if they do, should have the grace to charge the lower price quibble-free.

  6. What surprises me it that they didn’t IMMEDIATELY take down the price reduction sign. The fact that it was left there long enough for you to photograph it is disappointing.

    It should have been the very first thing they did. Then thanked you for pointing it out. And then gifted you the wine.

    Well done for making a stand.

  7. Mistakes do happen. They should have promptly sold you the wine for the advertised price, changed their advertised price and that’s it! Satisfied customer, mistake corrected, move on…
    If there’s no pressure on them to advertise their prices correctly, then what??
    A lot of people, especially if buying more than one bottle, may not notice it, and that is not fair.