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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I bought a mobile phone in a supermarket. I believe it was

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I bought a mobile phone in a supermarket. I believe it was ordered through their online system should that make a difference but in any case, I was not aware of that. I simply paid for the purchase to a shop assistant in store.
The phone was not available there and then but was due to be collected the day after, at a different store. Before I made the purchase and paid for the goods, I checked three times that the phone would definitely be available (from 16:00) the next day and each time this was confirmed - the delivery date/time was very important to me.
The phone did not arrive as promised and detailed on the receipt - in fact, it didn't arrive until three days later (one of them being a Sunday). I phoned the supermarket helpline. One of the operatives took issue with me using the term 'breach of contract' - in fact saying that he didn't understand why I used the term contract at all. I spoke to his manager and I took issue with them using the term offering a 'gesture of goodwill' asking them why they didn't use the term compensation.
I emailed the firm and they gave an unsatisfactory reply. I replied to them, in particular highlighting their failure to use the term 'breach of contract' and 'compensation'.
Their response was:
"With regards ***** ***** breach of contract, your order is an offer to buy from us. We will send you an email detailing the products you have ordered and an estimated date for delivery or collection in store, as applicable. Please note that this email is not an acceptance of your order by us." [They hadn't taken an email address from me in any case]. It continues "Nothing that we do or say will amount to any acceptance of your offer until we send you an email notifying you that we have dispatched a product to you or notifying you when a product will be available to collect in store (as applicable). At this point, a contract will be made between us for you to buy and us to sell the products that you have ordered from us."
As far as I am concerned the contract exists from the time I paid for the goods in store; they are saying it only exists when they notify me about dispatch.
Please can you tell me who is correct?
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. Do you agree these terms existed at the time you made the payment?
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
No. I believed that when the phone was offered and the condition of delivery to the store was confirmed, I paid for the goods and the contract existed then.
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
Sorry, in answer to your question - yes - at the time payment was made.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
thanks let me get my response ready please
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
It is incorrect to assume that one payment has been made there is a legally binding contract in place. The parties can define the terms of the contract or more precisely when the contract comes into effect. This matter has been considered in the past where retailers have accidentally misadvertised products for sale online. Say an item that usually sells for £500 was accidentally advertised for £50. Those lucky enough to spot it before it is changed make a purchase and happily rub their hands at the bargain they have just picked up, hoping to rely that by ordering and making a payment they have entered into a formal contract. Sadly that may not be the case – if the terms of purchase defined when a contract would actually be forced, then you are making the purchase on these terms. So you may find that the terms state a contract is only formed once the retailer either sends formal confirmation of the order or they dispatch the item. Therefore, legally the contract would not be forced until then and that is why in the example above those people may never get the item they thought they had just purchased at a bargain price. So in your case, assuming the terms you mentioned existed at the time of purchase, the retailer would be correct. I'm sorry if this is not necessarily the answer you were hoping for, however I do have a duty to be honest and explain the law as it actually stands. This does mean delivering bad news from time to time. I hope you understand and would be happy to provide any further clarification if needed. If you are still satisfied with the level of service you have received I would be grateful if you could please take a second to leave a positive rating by selecting 3, 4 or 5 starts at the top of the page. Thank you
Customer: replied 1 year ago.
I assume you are saying that the fact that they made no attempt to inform me of their terms of sale makes no difference?
I assume that as far as I was concerned, I was buying goods in a shop with an agreed delivery time, makes no difference?
I assume that, as I made it quite clear that I was only accepting the purchase as they had guaranteed to deliver it at a particular time (ie my terms of purchase), makes no difference?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 1 year ago.
The terms of sale should have been references in some way, so you need to check whether at any point in the transaction process you were told that you are agreeing to the terms of sale. A complete lack to refer you to those term at any stage would allow you to challenge this. Sadly your assumption of the matter would not make much difference, unless you were clearly missold this. Also you cannot set your own terms of purchase and rely on them without them being accepted by the seller, which would only happen when they meet the defined steps mentioned earlier
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