This is a complaint I made to our SA Department of Consumer Affairs and was told its not Bait Advertising but what is it then? I know SA Consumer Affairs said to me they will not investigate it any further because I am the only complainant and if further complaints come in regarding the below complaint.
Similar happened to me with Flight Centre last year when I asked about them to investigate after waiting the required 6 months for a full refund of our travel and the person said to me on the phone that I should sympathize with Flight Centre staff and that I have to be patient. As soon as I said to the Consumer Affairs employee does he say that because he has shares he became very defensive some people I spoke to thought that Consumer Affairs employee more likely had shares because even if I asked for more help and suggestions he just said he cannot suggest anything and legally he cannot all that he said as a suggestion was to “be patient”.
Whilst watching the television at 12:30am on 11th July 2021 I saw an advertisement from JB Hi Fi who advertised a Fit Bit Charge 4 for $89.00. My wife and I had an Coles Myer and JB Hi-Fi group of companies vouchers respectively to the value of $70.00 and $50.00 respectively.
We looked online to see whether Officeworks had it at the same price as JB Hi-Fi and they did so we purchased the first one from Officeworks which was nearest to us (Gilles Plains). We also checked online at 12:45am and 10:30am respectively on the same day to see whether JB Hi Fi had any of the above product in stock and it said Modbury had stock.
At 11:15am we arrived at the JB Hi-Fi Modbury Store only to be told there was none in stock and they made me wait around half an hour to a sales person helped me to check where there was stock.
He checked on his tablet which highlights the stock as well as the computer and he mentioned from the time we looked from about he said around 1am the entire stock for South Australia had been sold and no other store in South Australia stocks it. He suggested I go online and make an order and pay extra $7.95 for the purchase but he pointed out that it would take a whole month for it to arrive at my doorstep. I pointed out that it is misleading, deceptive advertising plus also Bait Advertising what JB Hi-Fi did and that I would be reporting it to Consumer Affairs and the sales person claimed they had not engaged in any illegal consumer conduct.
In the end we went to Good Guys who had it on sale for $179.00 and dropped the price to $89 once we told them the price Officeworks charge. The JB Hi-Fi price for the same product was $178.00 so to get it for $89 we considered a reasonable price and it was half price.
In summary we would like Consumer Affairs of South Australia to do the following:
Investigate JB Hi-Fi stores in general and to see if there was misleading and deceptive conduct shown in regards to the above product and whether bait advertising was used also to lure us into their store but once entering the store all JB Hi Fi Stores in South Australia had no stock available because a claim was that someone online purchased all the products.
I thank you for your cooperation and I look forward to your response soon.
First I encourage you to search the Community for ‘misleading advertising’ and ‘deceptive advertising’.
You will find many companies engage in the same practices yet very few are acting contrary to law for various reasons.
Catalogues often cover large areas and include small print provisos (Aldi being a prominent one) stating any store may have lots or none of the product.
There are also a few of the opinion that consumer affairs offices are essentially window dressing for government to look good, yet when there is a problem with a business they only step in when the consumer has exhausted all options, and then can only offer relief when they agree the business is ‘at fault’ and the business is willing; when consumer affairs finds against a business and the business does not pay the consumer then has to go to court for an order, and for small amounts that is often not worthwhile so companies learn how to play the game.
Online inventories are notoriously spotty; some companies do it well, others incompetently, and most in-between. They cannot be relied on without ringing the store and if there is stock, the store will often reserve one for you.
If the product was available online you could have purchased it, albeit for the delivery fee. Sometimes delivery fees are not much more, and for regional buyers sometimes less, than the cost of petrol or a public transport fare.
While based on your post you will not agree, but I side with CA of SA, and at the same time agree ‘the system’ needs improving. Some examples posted elsewhere on the Community include but are not limited to
I suggest you consider your poor experience educational at this point and move on. On the day you might have been able to negotiate for free delivery or a backorder if amenable, but after the fact such theoretical options are not helpful.
Other Community members will likely respond with their own views.
In your situation the best course of action would have been to immediately purchase the item(s) when it was showing as available and opt for the pick up in person from the store option rather than having a delivery fee.
Please note that this is not a guarantee that you have bagged a bargain. There has been discussion on the forum about people paying for items on-line only to find that the stock has disappeared by the time they try to collect. There was discussions about how there can be a gap between inventory management software and actual physical stock in hand.
All that aside, if it is a special deal that may be widely attractive - it is better to be there in person as early as possible on the day to grab one of the items before they disappear. Second best is to buy it on-line and collect as soon as possible.