BT denies fiddling prices on Advent Calendar sales promo

URL 'manipulation' yields unpublished discounts

BT has denied that it's fiddling prices on its online "Advent Calendar" promotion, in response to a snowstorm of customer complaints.

The promo at BT Shop promises that punters can "save up to 30 per cent on your Christmas gifts with our fantastic daily offer". All people need to do is click on the Advent calendar for the day and see what offer lies behind the window.

However, simply by changing the date in the URL, bargain hunters have been able to see what goodies and their price lie behind all of the windows running up to December 23 when the offer ends. Add in the discounts on offer and some of the items - including digital cameras, pocket PCs and phones - have proved to be quite tempting.

Shoppers, though, were stunned when they found out that the original prices of goods leapt just before each daily promo got underway, only then for the discount to be applied.

As one unhappy shopper explained: "The HP iPAQ rz1710 Pocket PC plus Tom Tom wired GPS has just leapt in price from £269.99 to £329.99 in the last few minutes! The 30 per cent off code becomes active at midnight bringing the price down to £230 (rather than the £180 hoped). Hardly 30 per cent off is it, I wonder if the price will drop again after tomorrow?"

The same has happened for other items prompting customers to complain to Trading Standards about BT allegedly inflating prices immediately before the promo discount comes into effect.

A spokesman for BT said that the company had not done anything wrong and that people had "manipulated" the URL on its website to see a price which had not been "published".

He said: "BT retail prices are influenced by supply costs and market conditions, products and prices may change on a daily basis. The future 30 per cent discount promotions in the Advent calendar have not yet been published on the site, each one is published on the day and are not available until they are published.

"BT reserves the right to change products, prices, promotion dates and discount voucher codes prior to publication. Each offer is valid only for one day and the discount applies to the price of that product on that day. The use of voucher codes provides customers with genuine savings and is not dependant upon a pre-established sales price." ®

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