Just before midnight I rushed to place an order for BT Infinity 76Mb broadband, at £44.99/month with a £29.99 upfront charge and a £100 Mastercard reward card cashback offer.
The website advertised the £100 reward and said "Hurry! Offer ends midnight on Thursday 23rd February", and had the countdown timer saying "offer ends in 20m 10s" etc.
So I rushed through and placed an order before the midnight deadline.
Several minutes later, I refresh the page, and what do you know -- the so-called "offer" for the 76Mb plan has not expired, but the reward/cashback amount has increased to £150! Everything else remains the same price for the 76Mb plan.
This is pretty sneaky in my opinion. Not a good start when you get tricked by misleading advertising 2 minutes after placing your order.
What should I do - should I cancel the order I've placed and then place a second order?
Or should I contact BT and attempt to explain what's happened, and request they credit the extra £50?
Welcome to the forum. That would certainly annoy most people but, even if it looks like sharp practice, there's little chance of getting any direct improvement in your order.
What if it had been an hour before the deadline? Or a day? Or a week? There has to be a cut-off point, whether the ensuing offer is an improvement or not. You wouldn't expect BT to have awarded you less had you just avoided a change for the worse, would you? Should BT's special offers be withdrawn as soon as it's been decided that the next one will be better but not if it's worse? No chance. Should Sainsbury's point out any of their special offers which are going to be different tomorrow? No chance. Should Ibis Paris have warned me that the online advance room price I first saw the other day was going to go up by 30% during the hour it took me to check the opposition, or told me if it was going to go down? No chance.
Across the board, marketing and advertising are driven by obfuscation, alternative facts, and economy of truth. And countdown clocks.
You might improve your deal by cancelling the order but, the way BT's systems work, that might give you more than 50 quid's worth of grief. Trying to get anything from the helpline certainly would.
Thanks for replying.
I did cancel the order. If they pull nonsense like this, they deserve to be bled for whatever they're worth.
It's probably against some code of the Advertising Standards Authority as well, who I'm going to email.
However they try to defend it, it's a very "black hat" practice to have a countdown clock which says "Hurry! Offer ending!" and then it doesn't end. Or rather, it does end, but it improves.
I'll be interested to see what happens after the current countdown clock offer expires!
But that's the point, isn't it? Pushing someone to purchase by saying "Hurry, offer ends" implies that the price/deal will no longer be available after the deadline. In this case, the deal was available after the deadline, and in fact, it was improved.
The people defending this practice don't have a leg to stand on.
Here are some references:
Broadly, any price comparisons of this kind must not be misleading. For example:
• you should not claim that you are selling at an introductory price if you plan to continue selling at that price indefinitely, or to stop selling the product after the introductory period
Straight from UK.gov:
Limited time only
Falsely stating that a product will only be available for a very
limited time, or that it will only be available on particular
terms for a very limited time, in order to elicit an immediate
decision and deprive consumers of sufficient opportunity
or time to make an informed choice.
Regardless, I stick to my opinion. If companies are going to pull stuff like this, they should expect consumers to bleed them dry in response.
If the beans had a sign which said "Hurry! Offer ends today!" then yes, I'd be peeved.
C'mon guys, it's a d*ck move on BT's part however you swing it, and it's pretty much word-for-word against the deceptive advertising regulations which I've quoted above.
Maybe nothing will come of it but at least this thread is out there for anyone who may care to read it.