TomTom Ticks Off Customers With Pricing Errors, Tries To Make Good

Angry TomTom customers have been writing to us all day today to complain that the GPS maker had canceled orders they placed last week on the company’s website.

E-mails sent by TomTom to customers explained that the orders were being canceled due to a pricing error. Most pricing errors we hear about involve a single item with incorrect discount info. The complaints coming in about TomTom represented an entire array of products.

So we asked TomTom what the heck happened. Here is the company’s explanation:

Despite our best efforts, pricing errors occasionally occur and we can confirm that on Feb. 2, 2012 incorrect prices were listed on TomTom.com in relation to our Valentine’s Day sale. As a result, we will cancel orders for the mispriced units and will refund any customers who have already been charged for their original orders.

We apologize for the inconvenience this has caused our customers. The Valentine’s Day promotion will continue as planned through 2/20/2012 and we’re also offering affected customers an additional $20 off the promotional products (Via 1505, XL 350TM, XXL 540M WTE, GO LIVE Top Gear edition).

The $20 discount was not enough for a few upset readers, who believe that TomTom should honor the lower price.

As we’ve mentioned before, in spite of popular internet rumors to the contrary, pricing errors do not necessarily constitute bait-and-switch and sellers are generally not required to honor such mistakes.

That being said, honoring those errors can sometimes be a good public relations move, especially if it works to retain loyal customers who will pay full price for your product in the future.

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  1. BrownLeopard says:

    Tomtom sent my family down back country coal roads and closed logging roads when my wife and I got married in WV. Sadly, those that used Garmin were brought right down highway 26 to route 7 to get there. I’ll never own a Tomtom. Garmin all the way.

    • Cat says:

      I was given a used Garmin. I logged on and found it had never been registered, and was also informed of a recall for a minor battery issue. Printed the pre-paid mailing label, and sent it in a week ago.

      I’ll get a brand new battery in a 4 year old unit. Works for me.

    • BorkBorkBork says:

      Oy no. My parents own a Garmin Nuvi, I own a TomTom.

      The Nuvi has the worst touchscreen response I’ve ever seen, it lags, it takes me down the wrong roads calling them the ‘quickest way’ (they’re not). On vacation in Niagara, the thing decided to shut itself down and not turn on again until we found our way home. Too bad it’s hardwired into their car, because it’s complete garbage.

      None of this has ever happened with my TomTom. But YMMV – I see this as a PC vs. Mac sort of thing.

  2. Such an Interesting Monster says:

    Wait… people pissed off over not getting items at too-good-to-be-true prices?!?!? *shocked*

  3. Cosmo_Kramer says:

    I googled “slickdeals tomtom” and it appears that these people are whining because they didn’t get a $250 GPS for $50-70. It’s an obvious pricing error. Cry more, assholes.

  4. aaron8301 says:

    I received a free SatNav unit when I purchased my cell phone. It has excellent turn-by-turn navigation, live traffic info, and you can search for businesses and other things via the internet. Wait – other GPS units don’t have internet connectivity? Shame.

    Google Maps on Android FTW!

    • RueLaLaLa says:

      I’ve been using GoogleMaps on my Droid as well, and so far have never been steered wrong.

    • GoldVRod says:

      Even better than google maps is Waze – for those looking for a great free TBT navigation and reporting app http://www.waze.com/ tis indeed a nifty little thing.

      Firstly it’s free and secondly the company encourages people to drive with the app open as THAT’S how they’re building their road data including the roads themselves. This means that when you see a slow moving lane notified on the app that’s because the Waze users are traveling slowly there currently and this data is streamed to everyone else. Simple! You can file an accident report or local speed camera/bear taking piccies etc plus it has local POI etc and all the usual GPS stuff.

      For the price it can’t be beat – even the source code is available for free. Footnote: I have no affiliation with the makers/devs/publishers at all I’m just passing on something that smartphone users may find useful instead of those dedicated tomtom/garmin nonsense devices or google’s clunky maps. Do remember to ‘shut down’ the app when not needed as it runs in the background even when not running.

    • nicless says:

      Bing maps on my Windows Phone works as well. Of course, my issue with phone based GPS systems is that I’ve gotten phone calls (that I ignore!) and they take over the screen. Missing a turn because Aunt Gertrude* is lonely and wanted to chat is not cool.

      * I do not have an Aunt Gertrude but she sounds like a lovely lady.

    • Cosmo_Kramer says:

      Have fun in areas with slow or no cellular internet service.

  5. Scamazon says:

    I received this offer and purchased on February 2nd it as it seemed like a good deal and I use and love TomTom. This was not a pricing error on their part they was it was advertised on their website in multiple locations. I received the denial email on February 7th and it smelled of wrong doing all over it. Their “special offer” in lieu of my new GPS system is not enough especially since they still have my money that they still have not refunded through PayPal yet. Now I want nothing to do with these idiots…EVER! (After they refund the money they owe me)

  6. MyTQuinn says:

    I ordered one of the Top Gear Edition at $60 (currently on sale for $200). Sure, I thought it was a mistake, but I decided to give it a shot. About 18 months ago I became extremely frustrated with TomTom’s customer service and tech support regarding recurring issues that I thought would never be fixed. I bought a GPS app with on-board maps for my Android phone and sold my TomTom. This outrageous deal is the only reason I was willing to give them another chance, and I was still debating selling the unopened unit on eBay.

    I’ll probably never buy another TomTom unless I see rave reviews about some new device and their HD Traffic. I’m disappointed, as I’m sure many others are, but anyone who thinks TomTom owes them a GPS unit for $30-$60 is nuts.

  7. lemortede says:

    I have been a SD’er for about a decade. I can tell you that the first rule of a SD don’t call. The second rule is if its too good to be true, it probably is. There is no point in whining about the “bait and switch” or saying they should honor the deal and lose a lot of money. If you get lucky and get one at the great price good on you. Otherwise move on to the next deal.

  8. TerpBE says:

    I was one of the people who ordered one of these, realizing it was probably a price mistake. I figured it would be canceled, but it was worth a shot. However, the $20 “coupon” is pretty worthless since even the post-coupon price on most of these is much more expensive than their price on amazon. I almost think it would have been better for them to just apologize for the error and not offer any “deal”.

  9. TJ_in_IL says:

    From their “Terms and Conditions of Online Sales”-
    “Prices are subject to change at any time but will not affect orders for Hardware, Software, or Services made prior to the date of the change.”
    Purchase was made at advertised price, payment processed, confirmation of sale sent. 4 days later sale cancelled due to incorrect price… hmmm… violation of their own Terms? And, we have to wait 30 days to get funds returned?? BULL SH!T!
    Hello, Massachusetts States Attorney’s Office? Yes, I have a complaint….

    • Brenell says:

      From the same Terms and Conditions:

      “TomTom reserves the right to reject any orders in full or in part or to apply a maximum order amount.”

      • x848 says:

        “TomTom reserves the right to reject any orders in full or in part or to apply a maximum order amount.”

        In the paragraph before that, their T&C states: “Any purchase order submitted is subject to acceptance by TomTom. Only upon acceptance by TomTom by way of an order confirmation is the agreement concluded.”

        My order being accepted by the order and payment confirmation I received; hence, the agreement is concluded (accepted – and not rejected – by TomTom) requiring my unit to be sent.

        I ordered the TopGear edition TomTom, after researching it and finding the unit was discontinued, thinking it was at a discounted price because they were trying to get rid of inventory. I have seen GPS units at these types of closeout prices when companies are trying to get rid of inventory, so I didn’t think twice about the price being

      • TJ_in_IL says:

        “Any purchase order submitted is subject to acceptance by TomTom. Only upon acceptance by TomTom by way of an order confirmation is the agreement concluded.”

        Order accepted and confirmed.

  10. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    Could this post be any more vague? Some people bought some things at some prices that were too good to be true.

  11. ancientone567 says:

    Ah now I understand why the prices on the web dropped so fast. LOL I was actually bought a TOMTOM VIA 1535 TM at BESTBUY and got them to price match Amazon at 135- the unit was listed for 220- at Best Buy. The reason I went with this on over Garmin this time was that Garmin’s voice navigation was around 400- and TomToms voice navigation was 135-!!! at a retail store after price match. I even did the price match after the sale was completed.

  12. GuestResponse says:

    The insurance business seems to offer the wrong sort of incentives to its employees, if it wishes to remain privatized, and not government run. I live in the US. It used to be that no one would ever give out their social security number. Now credit card companies can track your cell phone down by way of your social security number, and it seems that its become a mandatory requirement to participate in the business deal.

    For now, you opt in.. What happens when there is no insurance available to you, if you don’t opt in?

  13. NeverLetMeDown says:

    It was clearly a pricing mistake. For all the promo items, somebody entered the “$discount” number into the “$price” field. For example, if a device was usually $199.99, on sale for $149.99, it was showing with a price of $50, while a device that was usually $249.99, but on sale for $179.99 was showing for $70.

  14. tinmanx says:

    I ordered the Top Gear edition, thought it was a clearance item since it’s discontinued. Then I notice the posting on SD, after reading that I already wrote it off as a cancelled order. It’s all good, I’m a Garmin guy anyway. Have an old Garmin iQue 3200 running on the PalmOS that’s still ticking away just fine. Plus, my phone also has GPS.

  15. tinmanx says:

    I ordered the Top Gear edition, thought it was a clearance item since it’s discontinued. Then I notice the posting on SD, after reading that I already wrote it off as a cancelled order. It’s all good, I’m a Garmin guy anyway. Have an old Garmin iQue 3200 running on the PalmOS that’s still ticking away just fine. Plus, my phone also has GPS.

  16. x848 says:

    As stated by TJ_in_IL earlier, did TomTom not violate their own Terms and Conditions? Specifically, section (3)(a) where it states: “Prices are subject to change at any time but will not affect orders for Hardware, Software, or Services made prior to the date of the change.”

    Also – according to the link you posted referring to the bait-and-switch article, it states: “If, rather than automatically cancelling the orders and refunding the purchases, the seller had contacted buyers and said, “Sorry about that, but here’s a $350 netbook you should buy instead,” then you might be able to argue bait-and-switch.”

    Is that not what TomTom did in sending their cancelation notice emails? They said “Sorry – but here’s a $20 coupon and a $200 GPS unit for you to use it on!”

  17. DBStevens says:

    I am one of those who ordered the sale item. The issue here is NOT that Tom Tom didn’t honor the order. One can’t reasonably expect a company to fulfill that many orders at such a huge loss. The issue is how it is being handled.

    It took several days before Tom Tom cancelled orders. During that time, customers were being told that some orders would be filled (people who ordered only one unit). Payments were authorized and money was deducted from debit cards or charged to credit cards.

    Now customers are being told that it will take 3-4 weeks for their refund to be processed. That is ridiculous and unacceptable.

    People get very upset when a company plays games with their money, and when they’re given false or misleading information. That is the issue here.

  18. darthmongo says:

    I’m seeing comments online on this issue about how pricing mistakes happen and people should get over it. At this point, this is about bad customer service, plain and simple. They not only took my money and have yet to refund it (at time of this writing), but they waited a week to tell me about the problem, sent me an email confirmation that I was signed up for their services (marketing ploy?), and sent me email confirmations that my order had been processed and would be shipped (still shows “INPROCESS” on my account on their site). They’re sitting on my money (and others’, from comments I’m reading on other sites’ forums) and collecting interest, presumably. I’ve gone down this road before with other places and had emails within hours stating that there was an error and was given immediate refunds or credit.

  19. ams199 says:

    They should be glad their orders were cancelled immediately, and that money wasn’t left hanging with an order status of “Pending” or “Processing”, as many other online stores do in cases like these.

    IMO, they should take their money and spend it on a decent GPS – I have a TomTom unit I bought a year ago to replace my Magellan unit, and everything about it is lousy. It can’t find satellites, the voice guidance says the exact opposite of what the screen map shows, the touchscreen rarely works, etc. You’re better off with a cheaper Magellan or Garmin unit.

    • DBStevens says:

      Actually, that’s what people are upset about…at least me. The orders WEREN’T cancelled immediately. It was 5 days later after payments had been authorized and deducted that anyone got a cancellation notice. Orders are still left hanging. I haven’t gotten a refund yet. I don’t expect them to lose money from a mistake. But they didn’t handle this very well. They also told a lot of people different things, and they DID ship a few of them. It’s all in how they handled it.

  20. Scamazon says:

    Is it ironic that TomTom is navigating customers that placed orders the wrong direction?

    Placed order on 2/2 and paid with PayPal (Ok, ok, only because I had money in my account), TomTom transferred the money on 2/6, Order Cancellation letter on 2/7 and despite numerous contacts with TomTom customer service, no refund to my account as of 2/9. Given the nature of how the deal was broadcast all over their website when the order was placed this was no accident and I suspect there is something far more sinister going on here…