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Tesco won't honour £50 new iPad sales, and here's why

A Tesco glitch saw Apple's new iPad on sale online for under £50, but the supermarket won't honour the deal. Here's how it can renege.

A glitch on Tesco's website yesterday saw Apple's as-yet-unreleased new iPad on sale for the mouth-watering price of £49.99. The listing was for the 64GB Wi-Fi plus 4G version, which will actually cost £659 when it goes on sale this Friday.

Many people snapped up Tesco's accidental offer, but it was too good to be true, and now the supermarket has told the BBC that it won't be honouring the delicious deal.

"We like to offer our customers unbeatable value, but unfortunately this is an IT error that is currently being corrected," said a company spokesman. The chain's terms and conditions state, "If, by mistake, we have under-priced an item, we will not be liable to supply that item to you at the stated price, provided that we notify you before we despatch the item to you.

"In those circumstances, we will notify the correct price to you so you can decide whether or not you wish to order the item at that price."

If, when Tesco offers you the option, you decide you don't want to splash out the proper price for the new iPad, the shop will refund anything you've paid.

Sad news for bargain hunters. But this isn't the first time we've seen a retailer wriggle out of honouring an accidental deal. When Argos mistakenly flogged the Nokia Lumia 800 for £120, the catalogue company didn't honour that deal either.

As a post on consumer blog Bitterwallet elucidates, offering something for sale at a certain price legally counts as an 'invitation to treat' and not an 'offer to sell'. In fact, even if you've paid money, no contract has been formed -- that only happens once the retailer actually dispatches the item.

Never mind. Have you spotted an excellent deal online? Will you be paying asking price for the new iPad? Tell me in the comments, or over on our Facebook wall.