Amazon.com's Accidental Bargains - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
News

Amazon.com's Accidental Bargains

Shoppers visiting Amazon.com Inc.'s electronics store Monday night found major bargains on computer memory when an apparent glitch caused a handful of products to be sold for a fraction of their retail prices. A Viking 256-Mbyte memory board retailing for $9.99 reached No. 1 in Amazon's sales rankings before the price was corrected Tuesday morning to $329.99, and a 1-Gbyte board sold for $10.77 before being corrected to $999.99.

The cause of the mistake, how many orders were taken, and how the company will respond aren't known at this point. Spokesmen for Amazon declined to discuss the situation, saying it was under investigation. Amazon's pricing policies state that if an item is incorrectly priced, the company can cancel the sale, but as of 3 p.m. EST Tuesday, the orders had not been canceled, and customers who bought the components still showed the discounted price in their accounts' order status.

Jason Williams, a network administration student who describes himself as an "avid Internet deal hunter," became aware of the low prices through a forum on another Web site. He figured it was a mistake, but placed two orders anyway, buying $3,000 worth of RAM for about $80. He doesn't expect the sale to be honored, but says it was worth a try.

Amazon isn't the first E-business to face this problem. In March, a glitch on Travelocity.com L.P. let customers book free rooms at a Hilton hotel in Mexico City. Hilton decided not to honor the rate, but offered each affected customer one free night at the hotel as an "act of goodwill." For about an hour on Jan. 31, a computer error let 143 people buy fantastically discounted tickets for international travel through United Airlines Inc.'s Web site. United canceled the tickets, but after customer outcry, it agreed to honor the sales. "Although we had a very solid legal footing, we decided not to make that a point of contention," says a spokesman for United. "We just listened to our customers."

No matter what Amazon decides to do, Williams figures he's already won. "When an online company makes a mistake, if you complain enough you usually get a free gift certificate or something to satisfy you," he says. "You can't really lose."

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
2020 State of DevOps Report
2020 State of DevOps Report
Download this report today to learn more about the key tools and technologies being utilized, and how organizations deal with the cultural and process changes that DevOps brings. The report also examines the barriers organizations face, as well as the rewards from DevOps including faster application delivery, higher quality products, and quicker recovery from errors in production.
News
The State of Chatbots: Pandemic Edition
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  9/10/2020
Commentary
Deloitte on Cloud, the Edge, and Enterprise Expectations
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  9/14/2020
Slideshows
Data Science: How the Pandemic Has Affected 10 Popular Jobs
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  9/9/2020
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
IT Automation Transforms Network Management
In this special report we will examine the layers of automation and orchestration in IT operations, and how they can provide high availability and greater scale for modern applications and business demands.
White Papers
Slideshows
Twitter Feed
Sponsored Live Streaming Video
Everything You've Been Told About Mobility Is Wrong
Attend this video symposium with Sean Wisdom, Global Director of Mobility Solutions, and learn about how you can harness powerful new products to mobilize your business potential.
Sponsored Video
Flash Poll