Over at Return Customer, one of the first customer service blogs I started reading, Joe Rawlinson gives us four lessons to learn when a mistake is made. He describes an incident that happened in a retail office supply store:
Last week I headed to Office Depot to buy a wireless card for my computer. Glancing at the shelf, I saw a model I liked. The big yellow price card on that shelf listed a sale price with which I was happy.
I grabbed the box and proceeded to the checkout. The total price showed the regular price and not the discounted sales amount. I protested that the card should be on sale according to price sticker on shelf.
Another employee appeared after the cashier called for a price check. I walked him to the row and showed him the sales price right below my desired network card.
The employee says: "Oh, this sale ended last week." He then took the sales card down and said, "It looks they they forgot to take these down when they put up the new ones," pointing to several other yellow tags.
Lesson 1: It is OK to admit you or your company made a mistake. More…
Joe makes excellent points. I agree with those, especially his last one about “not losing a customer over a few dollars.”
But, if the mistake is more than a few dollars, then the owner has to make a decision. For example, if a store employee mistakenly tags a diamond ring as being on sale for $600 when it’s really $6000, it would not be good business for the business to sell the ring at that price. There’s an urban myth floating around that states that businesses are required by law to honor those prices, but that is just a myth. What a business could do in that situation is explain that it cannot afford to honor that price because of the loss of money, but that they will offer something less expensive in return.
Where you draw the line is a judgement call.