Target deal too good to be true

December 5, 2008 8:01:36 PM PST
A major retailer is apologizing to its customers after having to renege on a fantastic sale publicized on its Web site.

We have seen offers for 50 percent off, two for the price of one, even 75 percent off. But when Target.com offered nearly 85 percent off a popular child car safety seat, parents jumped on the offer, only to be told, not so fast.

Alex Armanini is 6 months old and already growing out of his baby seat. Then his parents heard about the big sale on Target.com.

"We were going to need two and said, well, it's such a good price we're going to get three now because we want one for our day care," said Bret Armanini of Dublin.

The Dublin couple purchased the new car seat for $42.99. That is a huge saving over its $280 retail value.

Amy Anderson of Walnut Creek saw the same deal.

"It was very cheap. So I had to order three," said Amy Anderson.

Both the Andersons and the Armaninis put in their order online. Both received confirmation of their purchase several hours after ordering it. Both families were disappointed when they received an e-mail from Target stating that due to an unexpected error, the sale price could not be honored. "We're sorry," the e-mail read. "The correct price is $279.99."

"For them to just cancel the order, it doesn't seem right that they can just do that," said Chad Anderson.

Target told 7 On Your Side the mix-up was a technological glitch. It said, "It's our intention to offer consumers accurate prices whether they are shopping at the store or at Target.com."

For the retailer, the timing could not be worse. It comes at the height of the holiday shopping season and just two months after Target paid $1.7 million to settle a lawsuit about pricing. Contra Costa County was one of five counties in the state which sued Target alleging the prices charged at the checkout counter were inaccurately too high.

ABC7 legal analyst Dean Johnson thinks consumers may be out of luck.

"This consumer transaction appears to be an isolated incident. If there's a larger pattern and there's some underlying intent, the attorney general will know that better because of course he would have the evidence," said Johnson.

Contra Costa County Weights and Measures says it is interested in hearing from consumers who ordered the car seat at the reduced price.

In the meantime, Target is offering $25 gift cards to customers affected as long as they do not file a complaint with authorities.


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