Matthew, an Air Force veteran, saw a great deal on Dell laptops on the website of the Army & Air Force Exchange Service, a network of stores just for servicemembers. 25% off in a Mother’s Day special, an impressive deal. He ordered three, because who doesn’t want new, discounted laptops for their whole family? Only Dell canceled Matthew’s order and those of some other customers, with no explanation.
Several times a year, the Consumerist inbox is flooded with e-mails from people who are livid because they purchased something online at a huge discount only to have the retailer cancel the order, claiming it was a pricing error and the item should never have been listed at that price. Some people are quick to call this “bait-and-switch,” and state very confidently that the retailer is somehow legally obligated to honor the original price. These people are mistaken.