Apple Facing Possible Fine Over Taiwanese Mac Mini Pricing Errors

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Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
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Proper pricing for base Mac mini model in Taiwanese Apple Store
AFP reports that Apple may be facing a minor fine in Taiwan after the company briefly offered erroneous pricing for several configurations of its Mac mini in that country late last week. The threat of fine comes after Apple quietly raised prices to their proper levels for the 200,000 orders placed at the incorrect prices without acknowledging how it plans to address the pricing mistake.
Apple would not say if it would deliver the products on the erroneous prices. And after an initial investigation, the city government's Law and Regulation Commission issued an ultimatum to the US computer company.

"The city government has tried to reach Apple since Friday afternoon but has not yet received any response from it over the more than 30 consumer complaints," Yeh Ching-yuan, chief of the commission, said in a statement.

"Apple has to respond to our order before the end of Tuesday or may face a fine of up to 300,000 Taiwan dollars (9,400 US) according to the consumers' protection law," he warned.
One of the mis-priced items was the company's new Mac mini with an upgrade to 8 GB of RAM, which was briefly priced at 19,999 Taiwan dollars, less than half that of the proper price and cheaper than the base model carrying 2 GB of RAM. A similar error saw the Mac mini server version with 8 GB of RAM priced lower than the same model with only 4 GB of RAM.

Article Link: Apple Facing Possible Fine Over Taiwanese Mac Mini Pricing Errors
 

rdowns

macrumors Penryn
Jul 11, 2003
27,400
12,410
Really scraping the bottom of the barrel for Macs news these days. Sigh.
 

Michael73

macrumors 65816
Feb 27, 2007
1,081
39
Meh. Chalk it up to an error, write the costs off and let those people be super happy that they got a bargain. Seriously, the consumers see the goodwill, enjoy their new apple products and are likely to go back and buy more. No harm, no foul.
 

kenypowa

macrumors 6502a
Oct 16, 2008
694
20
somewhere
Dell had a similar pricing mistake on its Taiwanese site last year. Dell eventually honored its pricing mistakes.

What Apple did here is ridiculous. Instead of acknowledging its mistake and honoring the price, Apple is changing the invoice and forcing customers to pay for the full regular retail price.

Such a thing would not happen to Amazon. Apple is getting more arrogant every day.
 

traumzeug

macrumors newbie
Jul 26, 2010
5
0
What's left out

Here are some more facts regarding to this issue -

- it raised the price, not only to the Apple Store, but also to the orders that were already placed by the customers. Whether the price is proper, it's illegitimate. An apology would do, if there happened to be any.

- they didn't have time for press release but they do have time to unilaterally alter the order.

- the erroreous price was reported in the noon on a business day, and yet it failed to do anything to make it "proper" again until 7 hours later; it is also reported that there were reporters making phone calls to report such issues. Did they respond to it? No.

Thus, it is suspicious that it intensionally made this mistake so as to re-introduce it's updated Mac Mini without paying a penny.
 

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
1,779
417
Chicago
They should just cancel the orders if the people don't want to pay the full price. At the very most Apple could offer a 10% or 15% discount, but not much more than that.

I have worked retail myself, and when there was a minor pricing error we would honor that price and build the good will, but when something was WAY over the top, the store would inform people that the sales ad had a mistake in it and not let it go for almost nothing.

Customers that placed their orders online would receive a notice that the price is changing and be given an option to cancel if they did not wish to continue.

It does not make sense for them to sell their units at a loss, especially 200,000 units. That will really put a dent in their margins and profits, maybe it won't even be worth doing business in Taiwan anymore?

Ultimately, it is us the consumers who will be subsidizing the cost of those units. Apple will just raise their prices (or not implement planned pricing decreases) to make up for the losses.

I wouldn't be surprised that if they are forced to give these units away at half price that they permanently increase all prices in Taiwan by 10% or more to make up for it.

Basically, holding Apple's feet to the fire means everyone loses, no matter how you look at it (except I guess the people who are going to get units for half price this one time).

And for the future, Apple will need to raise its cost a bit and add a verification process of some sort to monitor these kinds of things as they happen and try to prevent them from occurring in the first place. Perhaps hiring two or three full time workers to monitor prices in every official Apple store would be a good idea. That would cost Apple maybe $20k a year maximum (outsourced labor) and if they even catch ONE error every couple of years they would more than pay for themselves 100 or more times over.
 

Stella

macrumors G3
Apr 21, 2003
8,325
4,780
Canada
Meh. Chalk it up to an error, write the costs off and let those people be super happy that they got a bargain. Seriously, the consumers see the goodwill, enjoy their new apple products and are likely to go back and buy more. No harm, no foul.
Yup, its pocket change for Apple.

Take the small hit, pay the fine, make the consumer happy and Apple will have good PR. Learn from the mistake, and move on. Apple tend to let things like this drag on and on.
 

pilluli

macrumors newbie
Apr 15, 2010
7
0
I have worked retail myself, and when there was a minor pricing error we would honor that price and build the good will, but when something was WAY over the top, the store would inform people that the sales ad had a mistake in it and not let it go for almost nothing.
I am sorry but what you were doing was, cleary, ilegal in some countries (I guess in Taiwan too). In this case the shop must keep the initial price (even if it is an error) and honor the price. This is basically done so it can not be use as a "marketing technique", when shop use very competitive prices and then, later, it modifies the price to already sold items.

Regards,
 

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
1,779
417
Chicago
Yup, its pocket change for Apple.

Take the small hit, pay the fine, make the consumer happy and Apple will have good PR. Learn from the mistake, and move on. Apple tend to let things like this drag on and on.
~$500 a unit (the average amount they were mis-priced by) x 200,000 units = $100 million dollars.

That's not exactly chump change, even for a multi-billion a year company with proper accountants.
 

Gregintosh

macrumors 68000
Jan 29, 2008
1,779
417
Chicago
I am sorry but what you were doing was, cleary, ilegal in some countries (I guess in Taiwan too). In this case the shop must keep the initial price (even if it is an error) and honor the price. This is basically done so it can not be use as a "marketing technique", when shop use very competitive prices and then, later, it modifies the price to already sold items.

Regards,
You might be thinking of the bait and switch law, which is illegal almost anywhere. The idea behind it is you cannot lure people in with a low price to your physical store (I don't think online qualifies for this, at least not in the USA, but I am not a lawyer so I can't say for sure) and then say "sorry, that product is unavailable but we have these other fine expensive products!"

In our case, we posted notices on the front door stating that the particular item was mis-priced in the sales paper. If you did not like it, you did not have to enter the store. Had we not done that and just claimed the item was out of stock (and we didn't have reasonable stock on hand to begin with) and tried to upsell people, that would have been illegal (this is also why it says how many units of a sale item each store will have for really good sales like on black friday).

No regulation is needed for mislabeled pricing. If a company does this as a marketing technique and pisses off a lot of people, then people will just choose not to shop there anymore. It is the best free market solution to the problem and keeps everyone honest.

But this isn't what happened here.

Every business has a right to refuse to do business with others. Any store technically has the legal right to refuse to sell you their products, for any reason they want. Apple could simply say, we do not want to sell to you and not sell to those people who placed the orders for a really low price.

Of course Taiwanese law may be different, and if Apple's hands are tied, we'll probably see some stealth price increases on the next revisions of their products (like the upcoming iMac and Mac Pros) to make up for the losses. In the end, you can never really make a "company" pay for anything (be it errors like this, or even taxes). It is always the consumer who pays in the end.
 

traumzeug

macrumors newbie
Jul 26, 2010
5
0
~$500 a unit (the average amount they were mis-priced by) x 200,000 units = $100 million dollars.

That's not exactly chump change, even for a multi-billion a year company with proper accountants.

If they only honor the ones purchased at the Education Shop, then it would be since each person can only purchase one unit, and he has to be a student.
 

the-oz-man

macrumors 6502
Jun 24, 2009
402
153
Wow, I would have loved to buy at that price. I need to watch the Taiwanese shore more often! :D
 

Matti

macrumors regular
Nov 25, 2007
109
0
Yup, its pocket change for Apple.

Take the small hit, pay the fine, make the consumer happy and Apple will have good PR. Learn from the mistake, and move on. Apple tend to let things like this drag on and on.
Or they could make a video, in which a Apple engineer orders mispriced product from Amazon and has to go trough customer service hell to because of it.

Because being as bad as everybody else is good enough.