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Subject: Note to online retailers rss

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Sue Hemberger

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Send out your "back in stock" notifications AFTER you've updated the product entry if you plan on price-gouging on hot games. Or at least sell the game at the price it was listed for when it got put in the shopping cart at the beginning of an uninterrupted transaction.

I was really pissed off yesterday when Funagain simultaneously increased the cost of the game I wanted by $20 as it computed the shipping costs. The game in question had been placed in my basket at the lower price literally seconds before, in response to a back in stock notification I'd just received. The only reason I even noticed is that post-shipping, the new total seemed outrageous -- suddenly I was about to be billed $20 more than I'd been led to expect a moment earlier.

Imagine getting to the register at a bricks and mortar store and having the clerk up the price on one of your items by $20 as the register computed the sales tax. That's how it feels to your online customers -- pretty outrageous.

You've got the right to charge what you want -- but you don't have the right to change prices mid-transaction. So think ahead.
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John Hilla
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smithhemb wrote:
Imagine getting to the register at a bricks and mortar store and having the clerk up the price on one of your items by $20 as the register computed the sales tax. That's how it feels to your online customers -- pretty outrageous.


And actually illegal in some states--at least with regard to a physical retail store. In Michigan, for instance, if a retailer mis-tags an item in a physical store, it MUST sell it to you for that amount (not that check-out clerks ever seem to be aware of this!). It cannot charge you a higher amount than the item was tagged for at the cash-register, claiming mistake. I would think online retailers might want to investigate the law in their local jurisdictions and ensure that their processing systems are functioning accordingly to be on the safe side.
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Mark Crocker
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In Mich. they have to sell at the low price and also pay you something like 5 times the difference to boot. At least that is how it used to be. Back in the day, I nailed my local Kroger on numerous occasions, for this violation.
 
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Michael W.
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Crockerdile wrote:
In Mich. they have to sell at the low price and also pay you something like 5 times the difference to boot. At least that is how it used to be. Back in the day, I nailed my local Kroger on numerous occasions, for this violation.


Yep in Canada they "still" do something like this too!

I think if the item on the shelves is less than 10.00 dollars and they mis charge you they gotta sell the item to you for 1 cent.

If the item is more than 10.00 and they mis charge you then the rebate is calculated differently (maybe 10.00 off real price)...

But few know about it...

Frustrating and a little bit of a "pisser" to have Funagain do this to you!

I wish my local brick and mortar could better compete with these on line stores!

I'd buy a lot more!

ArrOOoo!
 
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smithhemb wrote:
Send out your "back in stock" notifications AFTER you've updated the product entry if you plan on price-gouging on hot games. Or at least sell the game at the price it was listed for when it got put in the shopping cart at the beginning of an uninterrupted transaction.

I was really pissed off yesterday when Funagain simultaneously increased the cost of the game I wanted by $20 as it computed the shipping costs. The game in question had been placed in my basket at the lower price literally seconds before, in response to a back in stock notification I'd just received. The only reason I even noticed is that post-shipping, the new total seemed outrageous -- suddenly I was about to be billed $20 more than I'd been led to expect a moment earlier.

Imagine getting to the register at a bricks and mortar store and having the clerk up the price on one of your items by $20 as the register computed the sales tax. That's how it feels to your online customers -- pretty outrageous.

You've got the right to charge what you want -- but you don't have the right to change prices mid-transaction. So think ahead.


I am curious whether you tried to work this out with them before posting here. I am guessing that it was an accident and that they would work it out with you if you had contacted them. If you did, what did they say?
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Cher
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smithhemb wrote:


I am curious whether you tried to work this out with them before posting here. I am guessing that it was an accident and that they would work it out with you if you had contacted them. If you did, what did they say?


It probably was an accident; they could be completely unaware that it even happened. If a mistake is made at a brick and mortar store, a live person is right there to handle to situation and smooth it over. Since online purchasing is automated, the people involved don't even have an opportunity to make it right unless you contact them. You have to seek out customer service, so it seems more frustrating. However, there is a good chance that they'll take care of you if you call them and explain the situation.

 
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M C
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Funagain gouging??

Inconceivable!
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Kenneth Bailey
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Crockerdile wrote:
In Mich. they have to sell at the low price and also pay you something like 5 times the difference to boot. At least that is how it used to be. Back in the day, I nailed my local Kroger on numerous occasions, for this violation.

If you catch it at the cash register, they just have to change it. To get the 5 times difference, you have to go up to the service desk.
 
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Sue Hemberger

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I emailed them immediately (i.e. Friday afternoon) and haven't gotten any response yet.

I purposefully kept this post non-inflammatory because of the very real possibility that someone just wasn't thinking clearly about what order to do things in. On the other hand, as my husband pointed out, it's a deceptive practice regardless of intent and the only reason I wasn't livid was that I happened to catch the price change the moment before I was about to authorize the credit card charge. I wasn't notified of the item's price change between the initial totaling of the contents of my basket and the addition of my shipping charge.
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Joshua Hall
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Funagain has a great website, but they have been more expensive on every game I've ordered... thus I have never ordered from them. Do people have reasons they prefer Funagain to other retailers? I'm new to the hobby and would be interested.

As for me I've ordered the lion's share of my games from fairplaygames.
 
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reddogfive wrote:

Yep in Canada they "still" do something like this too!

I think if the item on the shelves is less than 10.00 dollars and they mis charge you they gotta sell the item to you for 1 cent.

If the item is more than 10.00 and they mis charge you then the rebate is calculated differently (maybe 10.00 off real price)...

ArrOOoo!



I've never heard that before.
Do you have a link to that? If so, I'd love to read it.


Note that the internet is exempted from most of these rules, probably to allow for typos. Similarly, stores are not required to match pricing errors in their own out-of-store flyer pricing. There was an incident a few years ago where an online company was selling PCs for a fraction of what they meant to. Even after the customers had completed their purchase, the store was NOT required to honour the sale.

Here is the Canadian legislation I know of:

There is a guide at

http://www.competitionbureau.gc.ca/internet/index.cfm?itemID...


The rule against 'double ticketing' is in s. 54 of the Competition Act,
which is at

http://laws.justice.gc.ca/en/ShowFullDoc/cs/C-34

and it says,

54. (1) No person shall supply a product at a price that exceeds the
lowest of two or more prices clearly expressed by him or on his behalf, in respect of the product in the quantity in which it is so supplied and at the time at which it is so supplied,

(a) on the product, its wrapper or container;

(b) on anything attached to, inserted in or accompanying the product,
its wrapper or container or anything on which the product is mounted for
display or sale; or

(c) on an in-store or other point-of-purchase display or advertisement.

In short, you get the lower of the 2 prices when the error is inside a store only. I couldn't find anything about them having to sell it to you for a penny. Sorry.
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Boards & Bits
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Sue, I am not really on one side or the other, and if you never want to shop there again, I really don't want to change your mind

I can say, however, that I believe this type of thing is possible (I am speculating based on their and my site processes) on many websites.

At Boards & Bits, we use a permanent shopping cart. This means that you can place something in your member cart and it will remain until you purchase it, or remove it.

For this reason, the prices are not locked in until you Confirm your order. Otherwise, someone could put a copy of Roads & Boats in their cart now, wait for a year or two, and try to get it for the lower price.

The timing of this was unfortunate, but I don't believe this to be gouging, and certainly not any sort of tactic from them.

It sucks to have this happen, but even if you saw the price yesterday, then went to buy it today and you had noticed the price increase, I'm guessing your feelings would have been about the same.

As for me, I would try to work with someone that felt they had been wronged, but I would ask for some understanding if the price were raised on me and I would have to take a loss on the sale.

Tom
Boards & Bits
www.boardsandbits.com

Edit: typo
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Sue Hemberger

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The price-gouging ($20 increase over last week's price) is a separate issue from the deceptive practice of increasing the price of an item in the cart without explicit notification in the brief interval between the subtotaling of the cart's content pre-shipping and the assignment of shipping charges and provision of a final total and request for credit card authorization.

I'm actually not complaining about the price-gouging -- Funagain can charge whatever they want for Galaxy Trucker and clearly the market was willing to bear this price increase. I wasn't. What pissed me off was that I agreed to purchase based on one price and it was switched on me without notice at the last minute. Luckily I caught the change in time to bail on the transaction -- had I been less attentive, I wouldn't have. I'm generally willing to answer the phone or answer a kid's question in the interval in an online transaction between the computation of shipping charges and my final approval.

As an all-too-frequent online buyer, I understand the issues involved with the quasi-permanent shopping cart. FWIW, this is not an insurmountable problem -- Amazon, for example, immediately
informs you each time you access your shopping cart if the pricing on items you left there has changed since the last time you looked at the cart. But this wasn't a come back a day later and discover the price had changed situation. It was mid-transaction.

Again, the reason I posted what I did (change the price before you send out back in stock notices on hot games), when I did (after contacting the retailer), the way I did (offering advice describing a situation that may not be the result of bad faith but that will certainly and justifiably antagonize customers), was that I don't think what happened to me was the result of some nefarious design on Funagain's part.

Funagain isn't my default online retailer, because their prices are generally higher than the others, but I'm glad they exist and I regularly purchase from them because they take risks and import things earlier. I don't fault them for trying to get the highest price they can for their merchandise in conditions of scarcity (even though I generally opt out of such bidding wars). But I do think that there are basic rules of the game about when/how you can change prices on a customer and one was violated (I'm not assuming intentionally) in this case. I point it out so that the problem can be prevented in the future -- there's an easy fix, which I've suggested.

PS I agree with Tom's point that this is the kind of problem that could easily have occured on a different retailer's website -- that's why I addressed the thread to online retailers generally rather than singling out Funagain in the subject line. I named names in the text because I didn't want (others) to assume some other site was at fault in this instance. That said, I haven't had this happen before with any other online game seller, but it's a somewhat fluky set of circumstances in which seconds mattered, so I'm willing to believe I've just been lucky (and/or usually slower to respond to back in stock notices!! I happened to be online when this one came in and just happened to have been holding back on a Funagain order in anticipation of new stock showing up once deliveries resumed in earnest after the holidays. So I was poised for action and quicker on the trigger than usual.)
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Sue Hemberger

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BoardsAndBits wrote:
It sucks to have this happen, but even if you saw the price yesterday, then went to buy it today and you had noticed the price increase, I'm guessing your feelings would have been about the same.


Nah, that happens to me all of the time and I always think: "You dummy, you saw it yesterday at a decent price, you knew you wanted it, you knew it was hard to find, and yet you didn't buy it. That's what you get for dithering."

But when I didn't get a quick (i.e. overnight) response to my email complaint, I did think "That's not how Thor or Tom would have handled it."

Sue
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Ben .
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smithhemb wrote:
As an all-too-frequent online buyer, I understand the issues involved with the quasi-permanent shopping cart. FWIW, this is not an insurmountable problem -- Amazon, for example, immediately
informs you each time you access your shopping cart if the pricing on items you left there has changed since the last time you looked at the cart. But this wasn't a come back a day later and discover the price had changed situation. It was mid-transaction.


I feel your pain and appreciate your point, but (although you're right - this isn't insurmountable rocket science) these sort of niggly issues come up all the time in online shopping software, and (as an all-too-frequent online software developer ) I would point out that if Funagain had attempted to spend as much on their online shopping software as Amazon have (in order to resolve all these sorts of issues), they probably would have gone out of business a long time ago!
 
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Ryan Powers
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Snooze_uk wrote:

I would point out that if Funagain had attempted to spend as much on their online shopping software as Amazon have (in order to resolve all these sorts of issues), they probably would have gone out of business a long time ago!


And even then amazon's system is far from problem free.
 
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Sue Hemberger

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Snooze_uk wrote:
if Funagain had attempted to spend as much on their online shopping software as Amazon have (in order to resolve all these sorts of issues), they probably would have gone out of business a long time ago!


Yeah, that's why the simple solution is to just make sure you always update the price on the item *before* you send out notices that it's back in stock. No additional expense/expertise/re-engineering required.
 
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Jeff Yeackle
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From a database design standpoint, it wouldn't be too hard for them to lock in the order during the final checkout process and have it only check for final stock availability right before the end.

They could even code it to even capture one of each of the items you are buying from inventory and virtually hold it for a bit to eliminate this as well. As long as they put in their customer service section that the checkout process has an X minute session time limit when no activity is detected before it releases everything that would serve everyone the best.

That way if the customer waffles too long during the checkout process or hasn't made up their mind yet, the vendor isn't hurt by not having something in stock for another customer, although there still is the chance the other customer might look when the item is being held, but the same would occur in a B&M store if someone was holding an item while deciding to buy it or not.

However their inventory system might be ancient (like the one at my place) which could make real-time inventory manipulation impractical, impossible or financially unsound to implement in the short term, at least until a new system is adopted.
 
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smithhemb wrote:
I emailed them immediately (i.e. Friday afternoon) and haven't gotten any response yet.

I purposefully kept this post non-inflammatory because of the very real possibility that someone just wasn't thinking clearly about what order to do things in. On the other hand, as my husband pointed out, it's a deceptive practice regardless of intent and the only reason I wasn't livid was that I happened to catch the price change the moment before I was about to authorize the credit card charge. I wasn't notified of the item's price change between the initial totaling of the contents of my basket and the addition of my shipping charge.


    As someone who automates business processes for a living, my bet is that the email about the restock was automatic, and that you caught the price change just as the guy was typing it in. Very likely just a bonehead mistake.

    Funagain would do well to honor the original price for sales that occurred on that day, regardless of the law. Given that a few thousand of their potential customers are reading this, they would do well to let everyone know about it as well. It would be far cheaper than advertising on a blue chip site like BoardGameGeek.

             Sag.
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James Ludlow
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smithhemb wrote:
The price-gouging ($20 increase over last week's price)


That isn't price gouging.
 
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Al Johnson
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The best thing is to respond with your pocketbook. It's just plain supply and demand. I used to buy from Funagain but don't buy from them anymore because their prices are outrageous compared to most of the other on-line retailers. In fact I'd just as soon go to a local game store rather than buy from Funagain because when you add shipping the prices aren't that much different. If more people buy from the other on-line retailers Funagain won't have any other option other than to lower its prices.

This is not a Funagain attack or anything like that - they definitely have the best selection, their service is good, and their website is outstanding - I just think they are priced too high in comparison to the other on-line retailers. I guess their defense would be that they are supplying better service (website) and convenience (selection). Both are valid points in their favor. You as a consumer have to decide what's important to you and shop accordingly.

Good luck and happy gaming!
 
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It's a constant source of amusement to me when the phrase "price gouging" comes up on a web site centered on fanboy-ism (and fangirl-ism too). Every time somebody with a cross to bear doesn't get the price they think is fair expect this pergorative to be trotted out.

But to Sue's experience... I can understand the frustration Sue... even though it isn't even close to price gouging in the real world.

The other thing that is comical is the wealth of bogus factiods that spring forth about all these supposed "laws" that demand retailers honor pricing they either may not be in control of or that was in error. I don't think anyone will be able to produce laws that back those claims up. Retailers had long been the victims of tag-switchers and even now, in the age of bar coding, tag-switching is common for the malicious fun and can generate seething anger agianst a retailer who is being victimized by tyrannical "shoppers".

What Tom surmises seems the most likely case to me. But isn't it a bit of an over-reaction to gather the torches and pitchforks and organize a mob to protest a retailer who, unlike many of us, appears to be somewhat less than the exalted epitomy of blessed perfection?
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Scott Everts
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I was lucky to get Galaxy Trucker when Funagain got their initial Essen copies and was selling for $45. Since they seem to be the only ones that are able to get it in stock they jumped the price up drastically recently. Not a big surprise for them. They have a habit of doing it.

Unless you must have the game right now I'd either watch eBay for a cheaper copy or wait for other online stores to stock it. Unless its a FRED exclusive I expect it will become available elsewhere eventually. And fear the FRED exclusive stuff. They really mark those up to drastic prices!

Normally I'd vote with my wallet and never buy from them but sadly with all the exclusives Funagain is doing its hard to not buy some of those games even with the huge markup they have. I feel like a junkie buying my drugs at whatever price the dealer is charging!
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Curt Collins
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ScottE wrote:

Unless you must have the game right now I'd either watch eBay for a cheaper copy or wait for other online stores to stock it.


This is the biggest sign of price gouging. When ebay, known for being way overpriced, is cheaper...

Funagain is pretty much last on my list of game stores, and only as a last resort would I buy from them. If I'm going to pay full price I might as well support my FLGS instead. Besides, there are other companies that support the club I'm a part of (GASP), and they get my money first anyway.
 
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JDGroovy wrote:
Funagain has a great website, but they have been more expensive on every game I've ordered... thus I have never ordered from them. Do people have reasons they prefer Funagain to other retailers? I'm new to the hobby and would be interested.

As for me I've ordered the lion's share of my games from fairplaygames.


They sometimes have a different/better selection of games. Also, if other stores sell out.
 
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