Boohoo: Price differences for same clothes 'a genuine mistake'

Identical clothing was sold at different prices for all Boohoo brands because of a "real mistake and not business practice", according to the retailer.
The same coat was sold by Dorothy Perkins for £ 55 and Coast for £ 89, and the brand name was cut off for the Coast item.
Joanna Sikora ordered a skirt from Karen Millen and found he had a strikethrough branded Oasis label.
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Boohoo said it didn't realize its companies were buying the same items and branding and rating them differently.
It comes as more samples of coats on the Oasis and Coast websites are sent to the BBC at different prices.
Jess, who asked us not to use her last name, spotted the khaki coats pictured, which have since been removed from both locations.
She said, "You are buying a brand in good faith that what you are getting is company exclusive. I assumed the previous instances were a slight mix-up, but after finding this one myself, I'm asking now realizes that this is a common practice in Boohoo. It does not do the company good if deceiving the customer is the main method of making a profit. "
Boohoo said these coats were part of a problem that arose when the coronavirus pandemic hit.
By closing unnecessary stores to stop the spread of Covid, thousands of high street fashion chains closed their stores for good.
Boohoo bought the online businesses of some of the fashion brands that went under management.
It was last bought by Dorothy Perkins, Wallis and Burton from Arcadia. Karen Millen and Coast were acquired in August 2019.
Retailers forced to close their doors canceled their orders from suppliers, a statement from Boohoo said.
These suppliers then offered products that they had already put up for sale to other retailers who were still on sale.
Some Boohoo brands bought some of this excess inventory to fill in gaps in their range when apparel inventories began to decline.
"Our mistake was not realizing that some of our brands had bought the same items from suppliers," the statement said.
"That's why we didn't make sure that the prices for our brand group would be the same."
Boohoo said the problem affected "approximately 10 lines in a thousand", was confident the problem had been fixed, and apologized to customers.
What brands does Boohoo own?
Boohoo and BoohooMan
coast
Karen Millen
Dorothy Perkins
Department store
oasis
Valais
Burton
Debenhams
Pretty little thing
NastyGal
MissPap
It is not a criminal offense for different retailers to sell the same item at different prices even if they are owned by the same company.
"However, it could be misleading for consumers to believe they are buying a particular brand when they are not," said Sylvia Rook, an executive with the Chartered Trading Standards Institute.
"Consumers can expect items from one retail store to be superior to another and are willing to pay a premium for them," she said.
A trader could be in breach of the 2008 Consumer Unfair Trading Rules if an ad misled consumers and led them to either make a purchase they wouldn't have made or to pay a higher price, "she explained.
Boohoo to investigate price differences for the same clothes
Boohoo clothing pricing: "I felt lied to"
Boohoo cuts UK supplier network after Leicester mistakes
Oli Townsend, quotes assistant and feature editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, said irregular pricing isn't just for one group.
In 2019, MSE research found that buyers at Littlewoods paid up to 34% more for the exact same item than Very - even though both are owned by the same company.
Mr Townsend said, "It is an ethical question if there are such price differences between retailers at the same parent company - especially if, in some cases, they share the same warehouse, courier and returns departments.
"These brands run the risk of their customers feeling cheated and losing trust in this brand."
He said MSE has encouraged customers to do price comparisons online to ensure they are getting the best deal.
"But when some retailers cut off or obscure the original brand name, it makes it difficult and puts consumers at a disadvantage," he said.
Adam French, which one? Consumer rights expert said customers "understandably see this practice as dishonest".
He said, "Companies that switch items between brands at different prices and cover up or remove the previous label risk losing consumer confidence."
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