CompUSA: This Video Card Is $114. Whoops! Just Kidding!

Joe was browsing through his CompUSA catalog and noticed a good deal on a video card, but when he tried to order it he was told that it was a misprint and that CompUSA wouldn’t be honoring the advertised price.

I’ve always been a good customer for Compusa, even after their local stores here closed and they went to catalog and online sales only. I’ve ordered a full computer for my inlaws less than 3 months ago, and several parts from their online or catalog advertising they send me via mail or email.

This week I received a catalog in the mail from Compusa. The front says Vol. I Issue 6BE. I was paging through the catalog like I normally do to see what they have. I noticed a videocard that looked to be a good deal and I was interested in it. I tried to order this card yesterday morning.

The videocard is a Visiontek Radeon HD 3870 X2 Overclocked Edition which is advertised in the catalog on page 54 for $114.99 twice including a picture of the actual card. When I went to their website I saw the card was $399.99 at this link:

I thought, wow, what a good deal. I must have to call into the # on the catalog to get this pricing they are advertising. So I called into the # on the catalog (1-800-COMPUSA) and waited to talk to a sales rep. A guy answered the phone and I told him I received the catalog mailer and would like to order a video card. He asked for the part # and I said V261-3874. He said ok, and asked for the priority code listed on the back of the catalog I received. I told him that info was KFE-2801. He said ok, I see we have that card for $399.99, how many would you like? I said I am interested but the catalog pricing shows $114.99 not only once, but twice in the ad with a picture of the videocard.

I was put on hold for several minutes. He returned talking frantic and said that it was a misprint in the ad and that their cost for the card was much more than the advertised price. I said ok, but I want the advertised price, it wasn’t an error in one spot, you show this card part # for $114.99 twice on the same page. He said they would not honor the mistake and that if I wanted one I would have to pay $399.99 for it. I said, what are you doing for those who got the mailer with this pricing. He became rude and told me I was one of about 600 people who tried to call in and get this deal and they are not helping anyone for that type of price. He immediately went on to ask me if there was anything else I would like to order instead. I asked again if they were honoring their advertised pricing and he said no and have a good day.

Typically, stores aren’t required obvious misprints such as a car for $200.00, etc. Things get a little foggy when the misprint isn’t obviously a typo. Usually what a reputable store will do in a situation like this is to post a notice informing their customers that there’s been a misprint. For example, placing a notice on the CompUSA website would have been the appropriate thing to do in this case. What’s not ok is to wait for their customers to call about the mistake and then offer to sell them the video card at a higher price. CompUSA should be making an effort to inform their customers that there’s been a misprint in their catalog.


Edit Your Comment

  1. scoobydoo says:

    And thus begins the Tigerdirectification of the old CompUSA brand.

    TigerDirect has ALWAYS done this. They have been posting price “mistakes” for years, and it is obvious that itis done on purpose.

    CompUSA sucked, but TigerDirect will manage to make it even worse.

  2. satoru says:

    In any case it’s pretty obvious that the ad is a misprint. Just because it’s in 2 places doesn’t change that. They have a clear policy on how misprints work as well:

    Typographical Errors
    In the event a product is listed at an incorrect price or with incorrect information due to typographical error or error in pricing or product information received from our suppliers, shall have the right to refuse or cancel any orders placed for product listed at the incorrect price. shall have the right to refuse or cancel any such orders whether or not the order has been confirmed and your credit card charged. If your credit card has already been charged for the purchase and your order is canceled, shall immediately issue a credit to your credit card account in the amount of the charge.

  3. RINO-Marty says:


  4. Gopher bond says:

    Why do they have an “Add to Cart” button in a print ad?

  5. Clipdat says:

    @testsicles: I was thinking the same thing! The only thing I could come up with is “because it’s CompUSA”

  6. @testsicles: Whoa, good catch. That’s a little bizarre.

  7. midwestkel says:

    I dont see how that is an obvious mistake. Now if it was $39.99 then I can see that as a problem.

    @satoru: Its policies like that, that lets them do whatever they want with the price makes me mad because they can get away with anything.

  8. acknight says:

    @midwestkel: Unless they feel like just pointing out that the lower end of the same model number is $80ish more than the mispriced card.

  9. GMFish says:

    “and thus begins the Tigerdirectification of the old CompUSA brand.”

    Great line!

  10. @midwestkel: But the problem is CompUsa doesn’t make,typeset, and print the catalog. This is why ads in the paper and catalogs have the typographical error warning. Also, as long as they post a sign or something in store, they have alerted you that there was an error, and don’t have to honor it. Signs IN STORE, however, are produced by the store, so they have to honor them.

  11. revmatty says:

    As noted above, this is not the CompUSA that you used to deal with. As lame as they were before they were far more inept than shady. Tiger Direct is the opposite and that’s who you’re actually dealing with. Why do you think they wanted the CUSA brand to hide behind? Because so many people have learned to not deal with Tiger that the only way they could stay in business was to make people think they were dealing with a reputable company.

  12. Jbball says:

    Cry me a river. You got pwned. No, they’re not going to give you a $400 product for $114. Would you go into business and basically pay for something and effectively give it out to people for a FOURTH of the price you paid? No, that’s not good business. I think it’s funny that the first place you complain is here. Move along, nothing to see here.

  13. Caduceus says:

    Human error is allowed. More courteous customer service should be expected, though if “600 people” have called, the operator should have more of a rote answer at the ready.

  14. Pylon83 says:

    @Git Em SteveDave has a crush on the Swedes:
    That’s not entirely true. Ad’s are not offers (generally), thus they don’t HAVE to honor them. There might be a state law saying they get fined if they don’t, but they won’t be compelled to sell it at the wrong price.

  15. dialing_wand says:

    In Quebec, they’d have to. If you got a flyer with a price on it, and the store has the item they HAVE to sell it to you at that price. Same with a mis-print in store.

  16. dialing_wand says:

    @Jbball: It’s bad business not to check your ads, or as some have said, post “mistakes” to lure customers in.

    The funny thing is that if I noticed a place constantly made such “mistakes” on hot items I wouldn’t give them any business, so I can’t see how (even if this is a conspiracy) it would work to bolster business – most people I know would boycott such establishments.

  17. MissNikki says:

    First of all, I have to say, I love how people like you always have to talk about how much business you have given the company. Even if you spent $100,000 all in one trip, life still goes on for that company and they still have to make money and pay bills. Next, as a CSR working in the same type of business (catalog and online sales), it’s sucky that they wouldn’t honor the price after you rolled on the floor crying making a scene, but too bad. It was a mistake probably made by the catalog printing company.

  18. How is a misprinted price (or intentional misleading advertising) news?

  19. Gopher bond says:

    How do sales call representatives get paid? Is a portion of it by the number of calls they handle? Because a misprint like this would likely increase the number of calls received.

  20. Norcross says:

    funny, I never heard all the TD bashing until now. I’ve had nothing but excellent service from them for years. I just got a new HD and some RAM a few days ago.

  21. scoobydoo says:

    @heavylee-again: Because the senior editor of the site thinks it is interesting. And I agree with her.

    It allows consumers to make a well informed decision when they are looking for a reliable vendor to deal with.

    Tiger and CompUSA have a long history of not being completely honest.

  22. @Jbball: Welcome to Conusmerist, you must be new here.

    Seriously, if it’s printed at $114, they damn sure better honor it, and we as the consumer have every reason to believe that they should. Compensation should at least be offered for their mistake.

    Blaming the consumer is a time honored tradition here, but when a company openly fucks up like this, Consumerist is the first place we have to go when no compensation is offered.

    Seriously, buzz off you corporate shill.

  23. I guarantee in the disclaimers section of the catalog, there’s a clause allowing CompUSA to not honor any misprints.

    If you’re the one to bring it to their attention first, maybe they should give you the price, then post a notice and not honor it again.

    But this isn’t Consumerist material – it’s just a price mistake. If they have language in their catalog saying they don’t have to honor price mistakes, then they don’t have to.

  24. InThrees says:

    That is a pretty glaringly obvious misprint. I would certainly have called to try to order one, but my surprise level would have been very low upon being told it was a mistake.

    …Which it obviously is.

    Mistake does not automatically mean customer profit.

  25. etc says:

    “Typically, stores aren’t required obvious misprints such as a car for $200.00, etc. Things get a little foggy when the misprint isn’t obviously a typo.”

    Ummmm, that isn’t true whatsoever. I typically support Consumerist, but it is this kind of misinformation that is so dangerous, and creates an attitude of entitlement that isn’t supported by case law.

    This blog should be about accuracy, and promoting consumerism, not sensationalism, attitudes of entitlement, and misinformation that I am starting to see more of lately.

    For the record, I think they should have honored the price as a gesture of good will to the customer, because that is good business, but your assertion that they are legally bound to is garbage.

    I implore you to do a bit more research before recklessly running your mouth.

  26. Pylon83 says:

    Compensation? Compensation for WHAT? The OP wasn’t inconvenienced in anyway, they didn’t rely on the ad to their detriment, why in god’s name should they be compensated? There was no injury to compensate for!

  27. etc says:


    Under what authority do you make these claims? A moral authority that the company owes it to the consumer? How do you quantify your damages? Were they reliance damages? Why does the company OWE the consumer money.

    If they want to provide something to the consumer, then they do so in a gesture of good faith and good will, but they sure as hell aren’t forced within the bounds of moral authority to do so.

    Your sense of entitlement is fabulous though. Are you on welfare by any chance?

  28. CapitalC says:

    Anyone who tried to cash in on that typo knew damned well that it wasn’t the REAL price for it (an not just some crazy sale) so seriously, suck it up and pay the actual price or don’t complain when the company tells you it’s a mistake.

    No company has to honour a mis-printed price, no matter how good a deal the typo presents.

  29. etc says:

    @dialing_wand: If you are correct (not saying you aren’t), Canada would have quite a bastardized interpretation of contract law. Ads aren’t considered advertisements. A lot of that is for consumer protection as well. If ads or prices were really offers, at what point is acceptance? When you pick up the item? If you put the item back, would that be a breach of contract etc?

    The price itself is considered an invitation to negotiate, and your attempt to purchase the item is an offer. The company receiving your money and giving you the product is acceptance of that offer.

    Come on guys. This is simple, yet people seem to get it wrong so much…and consumerist is promoting this misinformation.

  30. Metropolis says:

    Did this reader really think he was going to get that card for that price? If he did hes a straight up jackass. If he knows anything about graphics cards he would have automatically known this was a misprint.

  31. @etc: Sorry buddy, they put it in print. They can’t just decide to not honor their claim; Where does it stop after that? Companies need to be held accountable for their mistakes like this.

    I’m more upset at the people who think that this consumer was unreasonable in his expectation for CompUSA to honor their own price.

    Nice personal attack by the way; no I’m not on welfare. Why are you so committed to defending their decision to not honor their own advertisement? You’re obviously on the wrong website.

  32. etc says:


    No, you just have a very puerile and elementary grasp of our legal system, and what constitutes reliance damages etc. Who say they can’t decide not to honor their claim? You? Because the law doesn’t say that.

    As consumers, it is a give and take. You are the type that feels entitled, so it is all take take take. The price being in print is irrelevant. If they honored the price, they would be going above and beyond. Companies make mistakes too, and in a catalog of millions of products, it is to be expected. I have had company’s honor their price mistakes before, and I view it as a gesture of good will, and I am impressed, but they are by no means obligated to do so.

    Captain, it is people like you that give a bad name. It is entitled sensationalists like you that make consumerist seem like a mob. You ultimately do consumers and consumerist a disservice with your attitude.

    Snide as it might be, it wasn’t meant solely as an insult…it was a legitimate question.

    I am not on the wrong website at all. I am hear to defend consumer rights and privileges. You are hear just to bitch and troll. Who do you think does consumers more service?

  33. Machina says:

    Anyone with half a mind would realize that the card price was a typo. If dell had an offer for a $50 laptop that was top of the line, would you expect them to honor it?

    Printed ads are not a contract, and not an offer. Had he seen that in the store, then he would have a leg to stand on. But trying to call the store to cash in on a blatant typo deserves nothing at all.

    Just because they printed it and you got it in the mailbox, does not mean they are obligated to give you the price.

  34. freshyill says:

    @Captain_Collide: Oh please. The ad was wrong. If they printed $389.99, and somebody wanted to order it, I’d say they were dicks for not honoring it.

    Nobody was shocked when Wal-Mart cancelled tens of thousands of orders for Super Smash Brothers a few months ago when it was listed on their Web site for $20, because it was obvious that it was incorrect. This is the same thing. The company doesn’t owe anybody shit beyond an apology. It was an error, plain and simple.

  35. tripR6 says:

    The 3870 X2 would never ever be offered at $114, it normally retails for 4x that. This is like seeing a plasma tv on sale for $100 and bitching when you find out its a mistake.

  36. Gopher bond says:

    Well let’s say they purposefully make these errors because they know that people who call up to order, often “bundle” things together. Like, well, the video card is a good deal so I’ll order that and while I’m at it, I’ll order the X and Y thing I need too. A good percentage of these people, upon hearing there’s a typo, will go through at least with the other order since they’re ready to make a purchase.

    At what point does that become a problem for consumers?

  37. tripR6 says:

    For instance, look at the price list.

    3870 – $194.99
    3870 X2 – $114

    A 3870 X2 is exactly what it says it is – its two 3870 chips on one card. Why would it be offered up for half the price of a single gpu card? That’s mad.

  38. Gopher bond says:

    @tripR6: I dunno. I sometimes have to buy older electronic equipment for my job due to compatibility issues and many times the rep will tell me I can get the new and improved model for cheaper but that’s not what I need, I need the older, not-as-good model and it’s often more expensive.

  39. @etc: It’s not a matter of legality. I’m by no means saying that CompUSA is criminal for not giving up the card.

    But I think it’s shady when a company claims a price in print, and makes no effort to redact that claim unless someone goes all the way to buy the product, only to be told that it was a mistake.

    How are you defending consumer’s rights and privileges by dismissing a store’s widely published mistake, and subsequent unwillingness to rectify the situation, either by compensation, or simple correction of their mistake, as a simple error that has not inconvenienced the consumer in any way?

    The simple fact of the matter is that the consumer was lied to, and the company made no effort to make right on their mistake. Big companies like this aren’t on the level of the Burger King cashier who bungled your order. When they make a mistake like this, it is up to them to try to appeal to their consumer base, not shift blame and refuse customer service.

    What’s sick is what you view as ‘above and beyond’ should be the standard in business these days, but we’ve become so willing to swallow the bitter pill of average customer service.

  40. I normally don’t accuse the consumer, but ARE YOU F**KING STUPID? It was a misprint. Let it go. No need to give the guy on the phone a hard time, and most def no reason to post this to the consumerist?

    The consumerist used to be about valid complaints where is a buisness was really screwing the consumer. More and more ofteen the consumerist is a place where people whine about there not so perfect customer expieriences, or they not getting what they want.

    If I saw that cataloge I would of called comp usa to ask if that is the correct price. On hearing misprint I would of just hung up. What a freakin idiot. When the phone rep says it is a misprint and you keep hasseling him about it? YOU’RE A JACK ASS! It isn’t like you paid for the card and then didn’t get it because it was priced wrong. All you did was call a number, they don’t owe you anything.


  41. etc says:


    All I need to do is quote your post to refute it.

    In one sentence you concede it was a mistake, in another you accuse them of lying.

    From the looks of above, your fellow “consumerists” aren’t exactly concurring with your entitlement attitude.

    The question was posed earlier, which you fail to respond to. What compensation do you think is justified?

    On one hand you characterize their corrective actions as “appealing to their consumer base”, but that seems to be far different than the moral standard by which you are holding the company.

    They made a mistake. You don’t get to get your product for 25% of the retail price. Tough shit. Having been on both ends of the spectrum, I know that this stuff happens. Maybe perspective is something that YOU lack.

    The fact is, you hold the company duly responsible for a mistake, and that is demonstrative of your way of thinking. Just know that your entitlement sentiment isn’t shared by most of your fellow consumers.

    If you made a mistake, would you be so bold as to blame yourself? If you overpaid your phone bill, wouldn’t you demand the disparity to be refunded?

    If you have proof that they did it intentionally, please share it. I am not willing to swallow any pills, period, but I am not going to hold a company to some ridiculous standard because of some self-created moral authority.

  42. 2719 says:

    Hey $399 is a pretty good deal!
    $50 off the retail price!

    This is a top of the line ATI chip and it’s just stupid for thinking you could get it for $115.

    It is an obvious typo.

    It is like selling a top of the line car for 1/4 of the MSRP price. But regardless of that they do have a typo disclaimer so I think Consumerist should remove this article.

  43. elwoodxrl says:

    Ah, this is nothing compared to the Intel e8400 processor fiasco in which C-USA took orders at $139.99 and shipped them, only to have UPS do a package recall. They claimed that they sent the wrong items when in fact it was a price mistake. Some people got them, others did not. Others were able to complain (like I did) and ended up with the processor(s) re-sent to them at the $139.99 price. It was a complete mess.

  44. A purchase is a business transaction. For it to work right, both parties need to feel ok with the deal.
    They aren’t going to take a loss on a product, and if you feel they didn’t do the right thing, buy nothing, and decide if the offense was enough to cause you to never shop there ever again.

  45. vdragonmpc says:

    Please these companies pull this crap daily. I have no sympathy for them. They should have honored the price and done a write off, then employee training on how to correctly price items.

    CDW pulled this on us at work. We saw an HP color printer on a mailer THEY sent us and then they claimed that the mailer didnt exist!!! We faxed them a copy and argued until we were blue in the face no dice.. BUT IT DOESNT END THERE!!! CDW sent us the printers ANYWAY at the full marked up price! We refused delivery and they were returned. CDW could not understand why we were unhappy paying 400-500$ for a printer that is 185 at Sam’s club.

    Go on Pricewatch. Try to find the prices that match the listed prices AFTER going to the website to buy some of those products… Try Amazon… Prices always seem to be higher for the ones that actually have the product in stock.

    Kmart, Sears, Staples, circuit city and Best buy have been playing fast and loose with prices for a while now.

    The right thing to do would have been to sell it at the listed price… But after doing business with Comptiger he is lucky to have not purchased what was probably a used and damaged product.


  46. @etc: Since we’re obviously not changing each other’s mind, ill share my last thought, then stop polluting the board with arguments.

    “If you made a mistake, would you be so bold as to blame yourself? If you overpaid your phone bill, wouldn’t you demand the disparity to be refunded?”

    The difference is that the customer is not representative of an organization, nor are they trying to keep anyone’s loyalty. If i go over on my AT&T bill, I would love for them to give me the benefit of the doubt, since I made a mistake. However, if THEY make the mistake, I 100% demand a correction. Now I realize that that example involves me receiving personal damage, but there is the difference. I am not a huge multi-million dollar organization.

    I recognize that the consumer was not damaged irreparably, nor terribly inconvenienced, but I do think it comes down to accountability. If companies aren’t required to honor a print error, then what’s to stop them from also refusing to honor sticker prices in store that were carelessly mislabeled (which happens quite a bit from what you can read here.)

    I’m trying not to come off as being too entitled, as that usually irritates me as much as my rabble is no doubt irritating you (such as people who make a fuss about getting their receipt checked, and cause more trouble over nothing) but I do think that the company is in the wrong here.

    To answer your question, appropriate compensation would be something as simple as an additional 10% off of the sale price of the card for people who were mislead by the print ad. Acknowledge that there was a mistake, and take the next step to offer some discount since they inadvertently advertised a price that they cannot meet.

  47. Pylon83 says:

    Being “misled” is not injury, and deserves no compensation. While it would be nice if they offered it, one should not expect it.

  48. verazula says:

    @etc: Whoa dude! Back off the personal attack already. He posted the one comment as an opinion, not as fact.

  49. Parting says:

    @dialing_wand: Bullshit. The law concerns only merchandise in-store, only and only if it’s not labeled with the price individually, while there is a general price tag for this product, that shows a erroneous price at the cash.

    Flyers/other typed of advertisements do not apply at all.

    I’ve seen assholes demanding that a young sales rep at a local pop and mom electronics shop, gave them a price (which was obviously wrong in the flier). Luckily for him, I know well this law, and I manage to nag them about EXACT terms. (Also, not being store’s employee permitted me to be veeery snarky and short with those 2 jerks.)

  50. Parting says:

    @Captain_Collide: Have you ever noticed, occasionally companies pose disclaimers near cashes in-store, stating the typing mistake in the latest advertisement, that they won’t honor.

    If it’s an occasional mistake, a company still has its credibility. And it does not ENTITLE anyone to ”free-for-all”. (Remember fake ads on Craiglist that wrote ”open doors, come and take stuff for free.” How many people came and STOLE items, even with real owners on the premises, whining ”it was advertised, you own us”)

    And you are acting entitled. Greed is not a nice quality, since in this case NO transaction took place yet.

  51. QuinnGrimlock says:

    Just got the B2B catalog from tigerdirect and got the same thing with
    the same price. I called, they said that it was a misprint (obviously,
    given my foreknowledge of the price of the card), but I find it funny
    that it’s in both.

  52. chris101d says:

    ETC, Victor and others who keep saying AD…

    this wasn’t an ad…this was a requested catalog…

    as in an index of inventory and prices…there are few retail stores for this company now…

    what is the policy on a catalog?

    If a company chooses to replace their stores with a book of items and prices…this is not a circular in the sunday paper..this is an actual store replacement..

    no one has mentioned or considered this in all of the comments so far…

    and also…how does one get 114 from 399? Twice none the less…

    I mean if it said 199, or some variable of this I could understand…

    but my major point is catalog not flier…not advertisement..

  53. UlbrechtTantalus says:

    oh wait, I didn’t read the entire thing, turns out that they are owned
    by them. That makes sense given the identical part number….didn’t
    think the consumer catalog had the same misprint though……

  54. Pylon83 says:

    I think catalog is closer to flyer/ad than it is to store. I’d say “order form” is closer to store, but the simple catalog itself is still essentially a big ad. You still have to contact the company to purchase the items.

  55. etc says:


    Inventory catalogs aren’t considered offers. If you received an estimate from the vendor, then that would be considered an offer. I understand your viewpoint that it is a tad bit more “grey” regarding price lists, but unless they are presented as estimates (and have a limited term of eligibility assigned to it) I think you will have a hard time alleging that it was a credible offer.

    Don’t forget, the burden would be on you, as the claimant, to prove that a valid offer existed.

  56. etc says:


    So you demand the benefit of the doubt that you are unwilling to give to the retailer?

    You are a representative of yourself. Why is there a different moral standard if you are a company, then if you are a person? Whether or not they are trying to keep the loyalty of the customer is irrelevant. You are claiming that the decision to not “honor” their obviously mistaken pricing is rife with moral turpitude, and I still would like to know where you come to that conclusion.

    To those that keep repeating that the vendor was lying, and misleading their customers…don’t you think that they would make the price somewhat believable if that was in fact their intention? I also find it exceptionally humorous that people concede that the company made a mistake, and then will use the term mislead in the very same passage. Either we speak different languages, or my command of the English language is sub-par…because mislead insinuates intention.

    Nothing stops them from refusing to honor mislabeled pricing in the store…and the same sentiment stands there. Who cares whether it was through a flyer or in store…if the pricing was mislabeled…how were you damaged?

    Fine, offer him 10% of their normal price as a conciliatory gesture. Hopefully that will save him even more than he could get from other vendors, if not, then it is within the bounds of reason that he could vote with his money and purchase the product elsewhere.

    There are millions of instances where consumers are legitimately wronged or taken advantage of…championing against trite and asinine claims such as this just dilutes the cause of consumerist, and makes us look like we have a mob mentality.

    I don’t mean to lash out and single you out, but as someone else stated, consumerist has turned mostly into a whine fest. Whenever someone doesn’t like something that happened to them, they come onto consumerist to whine and vilify. That isn’t what consumerist is about.

    Let’s get consumerist back on track so I don’t have to sift through 25 posts of bitching everyday just to find the one gem.

  57. @etc: “Whenever someone doesn’t like something that happened to them, they come onto consumerist to whine and vilify. That isn’t what consumerist is about.”

    Agreed. Consider it put to bed.

  58. EdnaLegume says:

    I got a $900 knife set for $130 bucks because a certain website listed the price wrong. While that company was only the middle man, the selling company was 5 stars in my book and honored the price. They also quickly removed the rest of their offerings from this middle man site.

    I wasn’t made aware of the discrepancy until after I placed my order and entered my credit card info etc.

    I was always taught companies are required to honor advertised prices. Doing nothing at all is poor business.

    On the other hand, I can’t remember a visit to my local grocery store when I didn’t see an “Pricing Error in this weeks’ flyer” with the corrected info.

    I would personally have taken a discount. It shows they are trying in good faith to keep my business, in light of a costly mistake.

  59. trujunglist says:

    It’s pretty disgusting to me that there is even a debate about this. I could understand if the price was close and still off, but thats like a $300 profit for the consumer. I think it’s perfectly reasonable to try and see if you can get that price, knowing that it’s an obvious error. When you’re denied, why would you get all pissy about it and make ridiculous demands, again, knowing that you’re trying to put one over on them and not the other way around?
    Where the hell are your morals?

  60. theRIAA says:


    subliminal suggestion

  61. drjayphd says:

    Now that I think about it, wasn’t TigerDirect the company that started the whole receipt-checking jihad here? Just saying…

  62. agency says:

    Are most of you here purporting to be gaming / computer experts, knowing which video card costs $100 and which $400? In the computer market, with prices dropping so fast the casual observer would have no way of knowing that card cost $400 and not $100. But all of this is beside the point. A firm offer was made, no attempt was made to revoke it before the customer’s acceptance, and a contract was born. The seller can’t back out now. Plenty of caselaw on this starting with LEFKOWITZ v. GREAT MINNEAPOLIS SURPLUS STORE. If there were a misprint exception, then every bait and switch con artist could claim they misprinted the price. You can argue about morals all you want but OP should have good recourse in a small claims court for damages of 399.99-114.99.

  63. 2719 says:


    Even though they clearly state they may not honor typos?

    I don’t think so.

  64. etc says:


    No offense, but you are a blithering idiot. I have to be harsh because of the fact that you are proliferating such misinformation regarding the law.

    Where do you get your information from? Because it isn’t from reality.

    The fact is, unless the ad had specific quantities, and or specific directions, common law has stated that it is NOT a firm offer. Either you got your information from a terrible source, or you are just a moron.

    Also, recourse for contract breaches are rarely based on expectation damages, but rather reliance damages. The fact that you state there might be a claim is just patently false.

    Get your facts straight before you run your mouth. You’ve been watching too much Judge Judy, and think you know the law now I guess. Turn off Judge Joe Brown.

    In Lefkowitz they were clear that the differentiating factor was the time posted, as well as the “first come first served” remark. Did you even READ the case, or did you just read it somewhere and took from it what you wanted.

    Better stick to your dayjob goober.

  65. etc says:

    For the record:

    “The test of whether a binding obligation may originate in advertisements addressed to the
    general public is “whether the facts show that some performance was promised in positive terms
    in return for something requested.” 1 WILLISTON, CONTRACTS § 27 (Rev. ed. 1936).”

    further on in the opinion…

    ” Whether in any individual instance a newspaper advertisement is an offer rather than an invitation to make an offer depends on the legal intention of the parties and the surrounding circumstances. We are of the view on the facts before us that the offer by the defendant of the
    sale of the Lapin fur was clear, definite, and explicit, and left nothing open for negotiation. The plaintiff having successful managed to be the first one to appear at the seller’s place of business to be served, as requested by the advertisement, and having offered the stated purchase price of the article, he was entitled to performance on the part of the defendant. We think the trial court was correct in holding that there was in the conduct of the parties a sufficient mutuality of obligation to constitute a contract of sale.”

    It is the mutuality of obligation, and the specifics surrounding the offer that made the advertisement a unilateral offer. It was not its presence as an advertisement in and of itself.

    and for final reference…

    “… where an advertiser publishes in a newspaper that he has a certain quantity or quality of goods which he wants to dispose of at certain prices and on certain terms, such advertisements are not offers which become contracts as soon as any person to whose notice they may come signifies his acceptance by notifying the other that he will take a
    certain quantity of them. Such advertisements have been construed as an invitation for an offer of sale on the terms stated, which offer, when received, may be accepted or rejected and which therefore does not become a contract of sale until accepted by the seller; and until a contract has
    been so made, the seller may modify or revoke such prices or terms. Montgomery Ward & Co. v. Johnson, 95 N.E. 290 (Mass. 1911); Nickel v. Theresa Farmers Co-op. Ass’n, 20 N.W.2d 117
    (Wis. 1945); Lovett v. Frederick Loeser & Co., 207 N.Y.S. 753 (N.Y. Mun. Ct. 1924); Schenectady Stove Co. v. Holbrook, 4 N.E. 4 (N.Y. 1885); Georgian Co. v. Bloom, 108 S.E. 813
    (Ga. Ct. App. 1921); Craft v. Elder & Johnson Co., 38 N.E.2d 416 (Ohio Ct. App. 1941).”

  66. rjgnyc says:

    @agency: Dude, did you even READ leftkowitz vs great minneapolis surplus store?

    The reason that case mattered was because the advertisement was lying about “first come, first served”, because the store owner refused to sell the first comer, first server, because that person was male.

    @etc: everything you said? golf clap right here.

  67. rdldr1 says:

    I used to work clothing retail. A few times a shirt was mis-labeled with a cheaper price. Because it was our mistake, the store was willing to honor the item at that price.

  68. tripR6 says:

    I bet your shirt wasn’t $300 off.

    And yea, I am purporting to be a “computer expert.” I had two single-GPU 3870 models in my pc as of a month ago that cost my about $450 total. An X2 (same thing, one card) cost about $50 more at $450-500 during that time. It is -still- top of the line, but selling for about $50-100 less at the moment due to the 4850/4870 release and nvidia’s offerings (one of which, the $350 9800 gtx ssc, is letting me type this now.)

    TL:DR, these won’t be $100 within 3 years.

  69. scooby2 says:

    @rdldr1: This situation was not in store. If it was, they may have honored it (most likely not). Print ads mean diddly squat. Typos happen and the advertiser is not obligated to honor them.

    CompUSA is not the CompUSA of old. They are the sleezy TigerDirect. Some may be lucky and have no problem with them but it is a known fact that they do not honor a majority of the rebates that they offer.

  70. Pylon83 says:

    Damned lawyers (or lawyers in training), always offering up arguments that have real support behind them.

  71. Sparkstalker says:

    First off, no “casual consumer” (e.g. non-tech/geek/gaming nerd) is going to bother swapping out their video card, so the argument that the OP didn’t know what they were buying can pretty much go out the window. If that’s not enough, as others have pointed out, the single card version was listed right above it. Finally, it’s pretty obvious that it’s a typo. The card listed underneath it is also listed at $114.99. Whoever composed the page just pasted the wrong value in and didn’t catch it, and then duplicated what they had below when they added the picture. Chances are, the person actually putting the page together would be one of your “casual consumers” and wouldn’t recognize the blunder.

    And what more could CompTigerUSADirect do to correct the error short of what they did (tell the OP when he called in that the price was wrong)? OK, yeah, putting it on the website would be good, but beyond that? Should they have to send a certified letter to everyone they sent the catalog to just to make them aware of the mistake?

  72. donkeyjote says:

    @Pylon83: Ads ARE OFFERS. If not, define offer, and ad, in legal terms, valid to whatever state you want.

  73. donkeyjote says:

    Also to point out, the normally clocked version is 80 dollars more then the typo (Or “TRANSPOSITION ERROR”) while the lower end model is the same price, yet is agp, unlinked dvi (2 vs 4) and 256mb.


  74. Gopher bond says:

    @etc: who cares what you say, you’re bald.

  75. smbfl says:

    CompUSA/Tiger Direct is in business to make money. The margin on computer hardware is tight. They might be making 10% off that card.

    If they were to honor the price and lose $250 they have to sell that customer another $2500 worth of stuff just to break even again. Probably not going to happen so it is better for them to risk loosing a customer than it would be to loose the money.

    I don’t understand why a person would want a product under these conditions. Why is it that the company that made an error is evil and must be destroyed while the person trying to take advantage of the company is beyond reproach? An honest person would call the company to inform them of the error. A thief would call and try to get one before the company figured it out.

    Steve B.

  76. etc says:


    I’m 25…I’m not bald, nor do I have a receding hairline. I shave my head. But your comment did make me laugh. Kudos.

  77. thesabre says:

    If I was a representative of CompUSA, I would have simply offered the 512 MB version (listed for $194.99) for that price as a goodwill offer. Simply say “We’re sorry, we screwed up and made an error. However, because of the overwhelming number of calls in response to this advertisement, we have decided to offer the 3870 model for $114.99 for any customers that we’ve inconvenienced.”

    It not only shows that you’re taking the initiative in identifying and correcting an issue, but you’re also giving a good discount to users. Most people may have seen that ad and said “Hey, I wanted the 512 MB card, but HOLY MOSES look at the price on that 1 GB.” If you offer them the 512 MB version, you’re taking less of a hit (as a company) than you would giving out the 1 GB for $115 and you’re still probably giving people what they may be happy to purchase.

    Just my $0.02.

  78. freejazz38 says:

    Um, did you REALLY think inCOMPetentUSA would be any different as an online only company??????? You MUST be a moron

  79. Even in death, CompUSA continues to haunt users. Shame though, and here I thought TigerDirect could turn them around. Boy, was I wrong…

  80. alpacalypse says:

    The reason this is an issue is that the “misprint” thing is commonly a version of the venerable old con, the “bait and switch.” A customer enters a store advertising an excellent deal and is told that they’re sold out, but that there’s another product for sale that’s comparable but not as deeply discounted. The customer, having invested time and energy in the store and having gotten excited over the prospect of taking home the product, buys the item against his or her better judgment.
    Because of the prevalence of the bait and switch, actions such as conveniently misprinted prices often fall under criminal fraud laws, and if the misprint isn’t obvious, the company may be required to honor the advertisement, regardless of any compusa policies to the contrary. The point of contention here seems to be whether the price advertised is so far off as to constitute “obviously misprinted.”

  81. jhuehne says:

    I’m the OP that sent in this info. I appreciate all the comments above. I don’t believe I’m a moron for calling in on what looks to be a good price on a product in a catalog that I get sent because I’m existing customer. This wasn’t a flier placed into everyone’s mailbox.

    It clearly has my existing customer number posted on the catalog and I did look for verbage for misprints before sending in this information to this website. There is no verbage in the catalog regarding a misprint and how they will not be honored etc.

    I viewed the catalog as a mailed pricing list directly to a specific consumer that has been a loyal customer. The representative on the phone could have easily asked me for my customer information or identication # and looked to see I’ve put in several orders in the past 2 months and spent a good amount of money with their company.

    I could easily go with another online vendor instead. I didn’t call in with bad intentions or to get in argument with the rep. I was polite on the phone and things were fine until the rep put me on hold and came back lumping me in with 600 other people who supposedly called in and then was very rude to me. I wish I would have recorded it after reading some of the responses above.

    I would have been fine with them saying something like, yes this was a misprint and they honored their existing ‘preferred’, yes I’d say preferred because they are specifically sending you this pricelist due to past purchase history, by selling existing stock at that advertised price until the item was sold out and they did not feel backordering the item for a loss was a good business decision. What I wasn’t expecting was for a customer service rep to lose his cool and nearly yell and insult me over the phone for politely asking them to honor this ad they sent me.

    I’m just a consumer trying to continue doing business with a retailer I’ve been happy with up to this point.

  82. Stormslanding says:

    Boy this guy is a jerk. Trying to get something for nothing. Its obvious in the ad that its a misprint. Look at the price for the lower grade video card, ITS THE SAME PRICE. He’s lucky he called to order, because if he came to my store with that attitude, I would have thrown him out and called the cops.

  83. etc says:


    No, you were a consumer that was trying to take advantage of a mistake. Your submitted this to consumerist not because you were yelled at, you submitted it because you thought you should have gotten the product for that price. That is obvious when looking at your choice of words as you try to spin your side…price list, specific customer etc.

    The fact is, they don’t need “verbage” regarding not honoring price mistakes.

    No one should fault you for calling, but you should be faulted as one of the individuals that has turned consumerist into a giant whine and bitch fest.

    The caliber of entries that are worthwhile on consumerist is dwindling. This kind of garbage is tripe, and should be left off lest Consumerist be viewed as just a joke, and not be able to leverage its power any longer…and it is skirting dangerously close to that point.

  84. Jeneni says:

    The smart move for the company would have been to send out an apology letter stating that there was a misprint with a 20% off coupon on video cards. The cost of sending that out and the discount wouldn’t be nearly as bad as honoring the misprinted price.

    And yeah, I don’t know what video cards should cost-these aren’t things I price out often, so I think that assuming it’s a great sale isn’t unreasonable.

  85. Mike the Dog says:

    @etc: “Ads aren’t considered advertisements.” No? what are they then? I always assumed that “ad” was short for “advertisement”. Pray, enlighten us, oh wise one…

  86. Mike the Dog says:

    @Mike the Dog: Note to self… Check the date before whipping off snarky retort…