Airports are pretty dull places. Last Wednesday, I found myself at Heathrow T2, at some unearthly hour in the morning. I wandered round Dixons to have a quick look at the latest gadgets and kill some time. I happened to see a couple of items I was interested in. The first was Microsoft Office 2003 for Student Edition (3 user license). I had already seen this on Amazon at 91GBP and Dixon’s tax free price was 110GBP which was, err, twenty pounds more expensive. So, not exactly a brilliant saving at Dixons Tax Free shopping there.

Secondly, a cheap MP3 player (Logik 1GB). This was only 63GBP at Heathrow which was odd because the identical model is available for only 54GBP in my local Dixons on the high street and has also been advertised recently in the national press. So, another triumph for so called Tax Free shopping at Dixons.

Even more odd is that Dixons have a large poster at the entrance to the store proclaiming ‘We beat Amazon/Tesco/Argos prices’. Now in the light of my very limited price comparison of just two items, that poster would seem to be misleading at best, downright dishonest at worst and possibly in breach of trading standards regulations.

The poster implies to potential customers that Dixons are proactively monitoring prices at three other major competitors and undercutting their prices so you can buy from Dixons with confidence. I realise that Dixons are under massive pressure from UK supermarkets (who sell cheap DVD players alongside Cornflakes) and internet retailers. In addition, Dixons’ profits have also been badly hit by the decision to stop forcing lucrative, extended warranties onto customers but is this really the way to win business back.

Out of interest, I sent an email to Dixons for their thoughts….