Argos caught out again – this time for race discrimination in toy pricing…

Press release

Argos is in the spotlight again, this time for apparent race discrimination in the toy department… After recently finding itself embroiled in the furore of eagle-eyed shoppers noticing that its “3 for 2” offers were not as they seemed [1] the Argos pricing debacle continues. The latest error shows the company discriminating between two similar dolls, both named Luvabella.

Blogger Lottyearns noticed that whilst the white, Caucasian Luvabella doll was available as a “3 for 2” offer, the “African American’ Luvabella is not….

Consumer expert Helen Dewdney  The Complaining Cow and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! is disgusted by Argos’ apparent discrimination. “In 2017, surely we expect companies to be more mindful of equality and ensuring that they are not discriminating against any one group. It beggars belief that Argos think it is acceptable practice.”

An Argos spokesperson added to the confusion by claiming that the doll in question was not part of the offer: “The other Luvabella doll is available online only, and our online only toys were not part of the ‘3 for 2’ promotion”, said their statement.

Argos has been plagued by criticism recently. Earlier last month it piloted removing its iconic catalogue from various stores. It claimed to be testing demand as more and more people shop online. However, it misjudged customers, who were astonished at the store’s decision and ignited a social media outcry. This was especially due to its lack of understanding about the widespread use of perusing the catalogue by adults and children alike for circling their Christmas wishes!

Only last week Argos again faced a mass of condemnation for its “3 for 2” special offers, where many toys worked out more expensive than the day before the offer started, and a lack of stock in many stores.

Dewdney says that she is seeing an increasing number of people lambasting the retailer over recent months and taking their custom elsewhere and looks forward to inspecting their trading figures for the run up to Christmas. “I wouldn’t be surprised if they are down on the previous year, reflecting what seems to be consumers’ growing disdain for Argos.”

The offer ended on the 3rd October 2017 


Argos caught playing around with toy prices

Press release

Argos have been caught out playing with prices, according to consumer expert, The Complaining Cow, aka Helen Dewdney. She has this week spotted customers complaining about their ‘special offers’ on Facebook, as you can see here…

When is a 3 for 2 bargain not a bargain? When it costs more than buying 3 the day before! The more organised of us have started their Christmas shopping and savvy consumers are looking out for the bargains. The Complaining Cow has found that for eagle-eyed shoppers, all is not as it appears at Argos.

When Argos promoted its 3 for 2 offer on its Facebook page [1], people flocked to complain about being scammed. Jaki Young posted a picture saying “Yesterday’s price vs todays on the joke of a 3 for 2 deal” Argos responded to comment, saying “Our prices do fluctuate up and down throughout the year, driven my many factors. Many items had been sold at reduced prices in the weeks or months before the 3 for 2 started and have now returned to their original selling price.”

However, Cora Harrison [3] who runs The Mini Millionaire blog highlighted that Argos has been sneakily rising prices just before starting the 3 for 2 offer and her Facebook post highlighting the issue has received well over 2,000 shares compared to Argos Facebook advert receiving 54!

Cora, had put three items into her basket on the previous evening. The Fisher Price Laugh and Learn chair was £26.99, (now £39.99), The Cookie Shape Surprise was £10.99, (now £19.99) and the Puppy £10.99. Had the prices remained the same Cora would have paid £48.97. However, expecting to receive the 3 for 2 offer she found that she would be paying £59.98. These items didn’t appear to be on any offer during the previous day.

Other examples include the “lowest price ever” £27.99 VTech Chase me Casey which went up to £37.99







The Argos Facebook page was inundated with examples of this kind of spurious pricing. The Disney Frozen Foot to Floor Ride on shows no offer on when priced at £19.99 but went up to twice the price at £39.99. The Disney Cars 3 Lightening McQueen Tri-Scooter was £21.99 reduced to £19.99 but went up to £23.99











Some stores were honouring both prices, whilst others were not. Sheree Brumby reserved £250 of toys, but when she went to collect the “3 for 2” offer was not honoured, so she went elsewhere!


When Kayley questioned Argos, the company’s response was that it was up to individual store managers to honour the deal or not:

When contacted for a statement, an Argos spokesperson said We recently ran a promotion on a limited selection of toy products which ended on Tuesday and the products returned to their full price. Customers can now take advantage of our ‘3 for 2’ offer across an even wider range of toys which offers great value and launched on Wednesday.”

But this isn’t the only problem that Argos are having with their offers. Kelly Gibson posted on the Argos page that a £39.99 item she put in her basket changed to £59.99.

Argos customers were reporting numerous items going out of stock straight away at the start of the promotion suggesting, that it isn’t Argos not planning properly (it does after all have enough yearly figures to use for planning) but that something else going on….

Consumer expert Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow and author of How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! [14] says that a trader must comply with Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 and it must show that it has a due diligence system in place to prevent misleading practices.

“Whilst it is unlikely that it could be considered that Argos has breached these regulations and we all understand that prices change, it would appear that there are many examples of prices increasing literally overnight. It seems from these examples that many were not in any kind of offer before and certainly numerous customers are saying that they have been misled. With the increase of the use of social media, more and more people are sharing their experiences and sharing intelligence! So companies have got to treat customers better if they want to retain loyalty.”

Update 7.55pm Argos replied to my Facebook post, so I replied back! Feel free to add your comments ‘cos Argos will be back to it!