The pricing error for Cartier earrings that escalated from US$13 to US$13,000 and ignited a legal battle


29th April 2024 – (Tamaulipas) Rogelio Villarreal, a 27-year-old surgery resident from Tamaulipas, Mexico, stumbled upon an extraordinary deal on Cartier’s website last December. An advertisement on Instagram lured him into the luxurious world of Cartier, where he found 18-carat rose-gold diamond-studded earrings listed at an astonishing price of 237 Mexican pesos (approximately $13), a stark contrast to their usual pricing over $13,000.

Villarreal, intrigued and undoubtedly excited by the find, purchased two pairs of the earrings. However, the joy was short-lived as the price was soon corrected on the website to 237,000 pesos. This price adjustment sparked a lengthy battle involving social media spectators, legal threats, and even commentary from a Mexican senator.

Despite Cartier’s attempts to cancel the order citing a pricing error, Villarreal stood his ground. Leveraging Mexico’s federal consumer protection laws, he argued that the company should honour the terms initially advertised. Cartier responded by offering compensation through gifts, which Villarreal declined, opting instead to pursue legal recourse.

His resistance led to the involvement of Mexico’s consumer protection agency, which functions similarly to the U.S. Federal Trade Commission. The agency, known for defending consumer rights, especially in cases of post-purchase price alterations, took up the case, bringing Cartier to the negotiation table.

As the dispute unfolded, it garnered widespread attention on social media, with many supporting Villarreal’s stand against what they saw as a corporate oversight. The saga culminated in a mediation session organised by the consumer protection agency, where it was reported that Cartier agreed to fulfil the original order at the advertised price.

On receipt of the earrings, Villarreal announced on social media that “War is over,” signalling the end of the months-long ordeal. He expressed his intention to gift the earrings to his mother, highlighting a personal and sentimental conclusion to what had been a highly publicised and contentious affair.