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Breach of contract

cfmorris
Newbie
Posts: 2
Registered: 14-03-2010

Breach of contract

When I applied to join Plusnet in December 2009 I was quoted a monthly subscription for the Plusnet Value package of £0.00 for the first 3 months, rising to £5.99 thereafter. I agreed to this and accepted a 12 month contract, which was quoted on my Welcome Letter.
I am now being informed that this was incorrect and I should now be paying £11.99 a month!!
I am considering referring the matter to Offcom for their jurisdiction, as it is a blatant breach of contract.
If I had been quoted £11.99 per month originally, I would probably not have signed up to Plusnet.
I left Tiscali/TalkTalk to escape from sneaky, underhanded price rises, but apparently they are still alive and well at Plusnet!
44 REPLIES
eightyfourb
Dabbler
Posts: 15
Registered: 12-03-2010

Re: Breach of contract

Well that's rubbish if they did that.
I would report it if that is what happened but I would try writing to Plusnet first.
If Plusnet admit that the original offer was an error then they admitted that they actually did offer you that originally.  In which case you should be allowed to leave without penalty.
I would try to work this out with Plusnet as it'll be easier.
i doubt they'll give you the original offer but they should let you out of the contract if they are admitting their mistake.
If they aren't admitting it was a mistake do you have the details of the original offer in writing or at least the name of the person who made you that offer?
Eddie
Community Veteran
Posts: 26,656
Thanks: 883
Fixes: 10
Registered: 10-04-2007

Re: Breach of contract

Which exchange are you on?
jelv (a.k.a Spoon Whittler)
   Why I have left Plusnet (warning: long post!)   
Broadband: Andrews & Arnold Home::1 (FTTC 80/20)
Line rental: Pulse 8 Home Line Rental (£13/month)
Mobile: iD mobile (£4/month)
wurzel
Grafter
Posts: 35
Registered: 13-01-2010

Re: Breach of contract

cfmorris,
Did you join through CONFUSED.COM ?
scootie
Grafter
Posts: 4,799
Registered: 03-11-2007

Re: Breach of contract

Quote
Which exchange are you on?

plusnet use BTw's new market class system which means more used exchanges have a lower price, so you want to see if your exchange is a market 1, 2 or 3 exchange.
try here for info on what market your exchange is http://www.samknows.com/broadband/search.php
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Breach of contract

Hi there,
I'll need to do a bit of digging on this one for you, as there seems to be some strangeness with your account, I'll come back to you as soon as I figure out what's happening here.
wurzel
Grafter
Posts: 35
Registered: 13-01-2010

Re: Breach of contract

Mand,
I am in a similar situation and I joined in January through a CONFUSED.COM Special Offer.
dick:quote
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Breach of contract

@cfmorris and wurzel,
This is an error in the welcome emails sent, however the signup journey when you signed up should have clearly stated that your ongoing price would be £11.99.
win7xp
Grafter
Posts: 124
Registered: 14-03-2010

Re: Breach of contract

OP signed up in december.
it is now march.
Were PN not aware that erroneous welcome e-mails were being sent to new customers ?
What corrective action did PN take and when ?
Seems very shoddy
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Breach of contract

I wasn't aware until today, however it seems a problem has been raised internally for around a month, however only a small number of customers have been affected.
Community Veteran
Posts: 17,404
Thanks: 1,443
Fixes: 16
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Breach of contract

From the Amazon Website...
Quote

What we do about mispricings
Despite our best efforts, a small number of the more than 1.5 million items in our catalogue are mispriced. Rest assured, however, that we verify prices as part of our dispatch procedures.
If an item's correct price is lower than our stated price, we charge the lower amount and send you the item.
If a product's correct price is higher than our stated price, we will cancel your order and notify you of that cancellation.
Please note that this policy applies only to products sold and shipped by Amazon.co.uk.

From this site......
http://www.opsi.gov.uk/RevisedStatutes/Acts/ukpga/1979/cukpga_19790054_en_2#pt1-l1g1
Sale of Goods Act 1979 page 2 para 4
Quote

4 How contract of sale is made
(1)Subject to this and any other Act, a contract of sale may be made in writing (either with or without seal), or by word of mouth, or partly in writing and partly by word of mouth, or may be implied from the conduct of the parties.

para 8
Quote

8 Ascertainment of price
(1)The price in a contract of sale may be fixed by the contract, or may be left to be fixed in a manner agreed by the contract, or may be determined by the course of dealing between the parties.
(2)Where the price is not determined as mentioned in sub-section (1) above the buyer must pay a reasonable price.
(3)What is a reasonable price is a question of fact dependent on the circumstances of each particular case.

para 27
Quote

27 Duties of seller and buyer
It is the duty of the seller to deliver the goods, and of the buyer to accept and pay for them, in accordance with the terms of the contract of sale.

There may well be some other act that covers "mispriced goods"...... however, from reading the above, I suspect this is more of a "contract of sale" problem, as the "seller"  (PlusNet) confirmed the conditions to the OP,  and despite, or because of, this from Mand
Quote

@cfmorris and wurzel,
This is an error in the welcome emails sent, however the signup journey when you signed up should have clearly stated that your ongoing price would be £11.99.

PlusNet should honour the original contract of sale.....
Making "excuses" when an error has been found at a later date, is not a good way of solving this, and compounding that with "only a small number of customers have been affected" 
The OP has been affected 100% and so have every one of the "small number of customers"......





Community Veteran
Posts: 17,404
Thanks: 1,443
Fixes: 16
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Breach of contract

Further investigation has revealed this site
http://www.which.co.uk/advice/your-rights-pricing-disputes/your-rights/index.jsp
and in particular this paragraph or two.....
Quote

After your order has been accepted
If your offer has been accepted (for example, you pay a deposit, or receive a confirmation email), generally you can insist that the retailer sells you the goods for the price they were advertised at.

If the retailer wants to charge you more, you may be able to buy the same item elsewhere and claim against the original trader for the difference in price.
To do this you should write to the retailer in the first instance, explaining what you are doing. If it doesn't agree to refund you the money, you will normally then have to take a claim to the small claims court.
The trader could try to argue that it made a mistake with the pricing which could make the contract void. But it would have to show that the price was so low that you must have known it was not genuine: for example, a new leather jacket with a price tag of £2 on it.
After the transaction is completed
If a retailer sells you something at the wrong price, the transaction is completed and you have your goods, it can't insist that you pay the extra at a later date.
(my change of colours)
Community Veteran
Posts: 1,699
Registered: 30-07-2007

Re: Breach of contract

@Shutter
Good research!  The act you want is the Supply of Goods and Services Act (the supply of broadband is the supply of a service not goods), but much of the content is broadly similar. That aside, there is certainly a contract, and part of that contract was the price that would be paid.  By definition, the "Welcome email" would be sent after the contract had been agreed, and therefore any information in it would probably not form part of the contract itself.
What information about cost was provided before the OP signed up?  If there wasn't any, then a "reasonable" charge could be made (and that's where the arguments will start Roll eyes )
If the original information was as quoted (and there wasn't the usual asterisk leading to clarification of the costs), then arguably the OP has a right to rely on that price.  How Amazon chooses to do business is a matter for Amazon, as long as they comply with the minimum legal requirements.
As for the Which? information - there's lots of ifs and maybes.  Again it relates to goods not services, and finally it's one thing to be in the right and quite another for it to be worthwhile fighting it.
In short - if PN agree that they got it wrong, I would agree that  they should have to suck it up and accept the loss for a few months.
John
Mand
Grafter
Posts: 5,560
Thanks: 1
Registered: 05-04-2007

Re: Breach of contract

The signup journey displays the correct market price, going through signup and accepting the terms and conditions is deemed acceptance of that price.
The welcome email being incorrect in a small number of cases is a problem, and has been prioritised internally.
Community Veteran
Posts: 17,404
Thanks: 1,443
Fixes: 16
Registered: 06-11-2007

Re: Breach of contract

I think someone ought to get in touch with the original poster by "other means", to get this sorted out.....
the op states above....
Quote

When I applied to join Plusnet in December 2009 I was quoted a monthly subscription for the Plusnet Value package of £0.00 for the first 3 months, rising to £5.99 thereafter. I agreed to this and accepted a 12 month contract, which was quoted on my Welcome Letter.
I am now being informed that this was incorrect and I should now be paying £11.99 a month!!

Now Mand is saying that despite the "advertised product" (which "enticed" the OP to join Plusnet) saying one thing "The signup journey displays the correct market price etc., " 
and admitting  "The welcome email being incorrect"  the OP claims he had a "Welcome Letter" confirming the package "as advertised". ...
If the OP had been sent a welcome letter, or email, that showed a different subscription rate than that which he had originally been "enticed" with, then I am sure he would not have signed up .
It appears to me, that PlusNet, is now saying that it advertises its product with one price, and then when you go   
" through the signup and accepting the terms and conditions is deemed acceptance of that price. "
it can change the price and you have to accept it....regardless of what they advertised and confirm by "welcome letter".......
A contract is an agreement between two parties..... The customer agreed to one contract, but PlusNet are now proceeding with a different contract to what was originally agreed.
Now they are  trying to "apologise" for their error, (which of course the customer knew nothing about) and also because "only a small number of cases" are involved, then it is right for PlusNet to proceed on the different contract, and quote T&C`s that were "a bit one sided"  due to PlusNet not "agreeing to the OP`s T&C`s".... 
Quote

When I applied to join Plusnet in December 2009 I was quoted a monthly subscription for the Plusnet Value package of £0.00 for the first 3 months, rising to £5.99 thereafter.

I agreed to this and accepted a 12 month contract, which was quoted on my Welcome Letter.