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 , 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  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!  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!