Dispute over price match scheme at John Lewis in Welwyn Garden City
12:30 20 February 2011
NEVER knowingly undersold – the legendary sales pitch of John Lewis.
But a dispute at the chain’s WGC store has left some questioning the 85-year-old slogan.
A customer known as BB wrote on the Guardian newspaper’s website that he had bought a Hotpoint washing machine from the town centre store on December 27.
He paid £279 only to discover a few days later that the same model was on sale in Argos for £219 – £60 cheaper.
The customer then contacted John Lewis to try and claim the difference back under the firm’s ‘never knowingly undersold’ mantra, but was turned down.
John Lewis said the reason was that Argos was only offering a one-year warranty whereas they were offering two years.
The customer was quoted as saying: “I don’t think they make this clear in their literature and feel the store isn’t being fair.”
But a spokeswoman for John Lewis told the WHT: “Should the competitor have been able to offer the customer the same guarantee on that product, even if that meant an additional cost, but was still overall cheaper than John Lewis, we would have price matched.”
She added: “Please let me clarify that we have not made a fundamental change to ‘never knowingly undersold’.
“It has always been our commitment not just to price, but also to quality and service.
“Previously we found there to be inconsistencies in some of our shops when our partners (staff) were considering an item for price matching.
“So, in September 2010 when we applied ‘never knowingly undersold’ to the online retail space it seemed an appropriate time to clarify our position for both customers and partners.”