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Amazon Sells IPAQs for $10 326

TomHoward writes "In a pretty huge blunder, amazon.co.uk have put the HP IPAQ H1910 (RRP about £300) for sale for just over £7.32 (plus postage and packing). It's very hard to get through to their site right now, but if you're quick you can have a look at their blunder here." Don't bother clicking through, Amazon has taken the items down.
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Amazon Sells IPAQs for $10

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  • In other words.... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Gortbusters.org ( 637314 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:26AM (#5543453) Homepage Journal
    Don't both /.'ing Amazon.

    I would have preferred the CLIE anyway. Did anyone actually make it to one of these bargain bloopers before it went down?
  • by mstrjon32 ( 542309 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:26AM (#5543456)
    but the postage and packing from the UK would have put me back whatever I would have saved.....
    • They only deliver electronics to the UK and Ireland.
    • You could have bought a plane ticket to London and back for the money you would have saved.
  • Hmm (Score:4, Funny)

    by Alranor ( 472986 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:26AM (#5543458)
    I wonder how many Mr TomHoward ordered before he submitted the article. :)
  • by Uninvited Guest ( 237316 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:26AM (#5543465)
    Amazon has said before that these things happen, and they won't honor orders for honest price mistakes.
    • by Uninvited Guest ( 237316 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:31AM (#5543494)
      Here [nwsource.com] is a link to that story about that 36-inch TV for $99 on Amazon. People sued to get the TV for the advertised price, and lost.
      • Ah, but that was under US law. This is under UK law.

        Though I still doubt it'll be honoured.
      • Here is a link to that story about that 36-inch TV for $99 on Amazon. People sued to get the TV for the advertised price, and lost.

        I remember that because I also placed an order for a $99 RCA 36" TV from Amazon and received a letter back from them stating that they are under no obligation to honor "price mistakes".

        Could someone explain why Amazon and other on-line retailers are not held to the same standards as their brick-n-mortar counterparts with respect to this? It still sounds like "bait-n-switch"

        • if it's just a honest mistake they got no legal obligation to sell it at that advertised price, at least not in most places in the world(well, we were teached this at school: if car dealer accidentally puts the price at 33 instead of 33thousand he doesn't have to sell at that price.. however it's illeagal to just use things like this to con people coming to your shop with false adverts).

          like, if they were advertising that in papers, web, tv and at all places for 99$, then it would be questinable if it wa
        • Could someone explain why Amazon and other on-line retailers are not held to the same standards as their brick-n-mortar counterparts with respect to this?

          Back when I was architecting eMarkets, I seem to recall that credit card processors (visa, mastercard, etc.) wouldn't allow online merchants to actually charge a buyer's card until the item was actually shipped. So the merchant would first do a pre-authorization for the purchase amount and then do an actual charge when it left their warehouses.

          It coul

      • Ah but in the UK, a similar thing happened with Kodak digital cameras. If I recall correctly, those customers who got confirmation that their order had been taken were legally able to purchase at that price. IANAL though.
        • That wasn't a legal thing. Kodak just realised the bad PR that was being generated was probably costing them more than the value of the cameras.

          There's also the consideration that the price was not quite obviously wrong. Very very cheap, perhaps, but this was at a time when digital camera prices were dropping like crazy. Nobody would consider a PDA to cost £7. They'd be sceptical if it was a used gameboy at that price.
    • well (Score:3, Insightful)

      by ciryon ( 218518 )
      About two years ago Amazon (US) accidentaly put a book for sale at 10 cents. I ordered it for that price and got it delivered without problems.

      Perhaps it's only recently they've changed their price policy? Ff you've got a receipt with the "faulty" price and money drawn from your account they should also deliver it. Their mistake.

      Ciryon
  • by Foxman98 ( 37487 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:27AM (#5543469) Homepage
    In a pretty huge blunder, slashdot.org have put the "HP IPAQ H1910 (RRP about £300) for sale for just over £7.32 (plus postage and packing)." story up for its readers to digest. It's very easy to get through to amazon's site, and the item ain't even there anymore. Don't bother discussing, Slashdot shouldve have taken the story down.
    • Re:In related news (Score:3, Insightful)

      by goetz ( 628042 )
      I think partly it's the vicariously experience that makes this story interesting.

      Mistakes like these are out there - you just have to find it and hope the vendor will go along with it. I have a friend who got a flat panel LCD monitor from Amazon that usually goes for about $700, for $150. Amazon actually honored the transaction!

      The differences with this story are probably (1) the price markdown to 2% is way too drastic for a vendor to honor (that would bring the term "bargain hunter" to a whole new level

    • In a major blunder, Microsoft leaked copies of Service Pack 2.1b for the ShortShrift Operating System. The OS itself is due to be released only late 2004. The Service Pack fixes about 231 blunders in the LongHorn a.k.a ShortShrift OS.

      Steve Boiler explained the rationale: Frequently, we are criticised for long delays in fixing bugs in our code. As part of our Secure Computing Initiative, we now write Service Packs first, before writing the code. This helps us to solve problems faster than the Open Source Co
    • Whoever posted this story must have wanted Amazon to see their mistake and take action fast. A good /.'ing gets management's attention a lot faster than a letter from a concerned customer.
      Why someone would want to do that is beyond me, unless they had Amazon stock or something like that.
    • At the least they could start a new category for these stories "Web Blunders", so we can put them on ignore...
  • by sploxx ( 622853 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:27AM (#5543473)
    This is just another form of advertisement. See how many vistors amazon.com attracts... even a slashdot story pops up :)
  • by Inda ( 580031 )
    We had the same thing happen with Argos and TVs some time last year. Argos never honoured their commitment to sell cheap TVs though. They are the ones who have the final say in the matter; there is nothing to say that they must sell anything.
    • The defence used by companies is that if the price is obviously unreasonable, then it isn't a valid sale. In the Argos case, £299 TVs were sold for £2.99. No one in their right mind would think that was a valid price.

      However, there was a similar case where Kodak were selling cameras for "a very special price", I think a £360 camera went for £180. In this case, it was much harder to claim that the price was an "obvious mistake".

      I would provide links for these above cases, but I'm la
  • Yawn (Score:5, Funny)

    by mikeage ( 119105 ) <slashdot@NOspAm.mikeage.net> on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:30AM (#5543485) Homepage
    This kind of thing happens all the time. Anyone who frequents the fatwallet or anandtech boards knows about it-- they will NEVER honor prices like this. That's why their disclaimer includes things like "not responsible for typographic errors." But it's still sometimes fun to order 1,000,000 when the prices are accidently posted as 0.00.
  • Don't bother.. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Night0wl ( 251522 ) <iandow@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:31AM (#5543497) Homepage Journal
    "Don't bother clicking though, Amazon has taken the items down."

    Then why even bother posting the story? If you actually bothered to look and see that the link was invalid, then you should already know how pointless it is.
    They made a pricing mistake and caught it, woopy doo. Why don't you report on a pricing mistake which meant something? Like the Best Buy pricing scandal, http://hypothermia.gamershardware.com/articles/bes tbuy_gf4deal.html

    Yeah, this is a bit of a rant.
    • Re:Don't bother.. (Score:2, Informative)

      by VirtualAdept ( 43699 )
      You mean, like this: http://slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=02/04/24/181821 0&mode=thread
    • Amazon shuts after price error

      The Amazon UK website was temporarily closed after a pricing error on its website saw pocket personal computers being sold for just £7.

    • Well, to play (off-topic) devil's advocate, I think there is a valid reason to post stories like this: to promote discussion of the underlying issues. Slashdot is not just a reporter of news -- it's a forum for discussing it (hence our ability to post comments).

      In this case, based on the various posts, it seems that many of us were uncertain about the legality of refusing to sell items in brick-and-mortar stores at the listed price. By posting this story, /. readers can discuss our understanding of the cur
  • by RainFX ( 571362 ) <rainFX AT ntlworld DOT com> on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:31AM (#5543502)
    I should probably keep my mouth shut, but they were also offering the H5450 for a little over £23 quid. Now that one comes with Bluetooth and 802.11, which is much more of a bargain.

    Needless to say, I've ordered both.

    I don't really expect them to fulfil the order - as far as I know, they should email me notifying me of the change of price (back to what it should've been), and holding the order until I confirm it at the new price. It's not legally binding until they email you to say they've dispatched it, according to their conditions of use.

    Will be interesting to see what they do next.
  • by jkrise ( 535370 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:32AM (#5543503) Journal
    1. Put up a product at a ridiculous price on Amazon, say about 10% normal price.
    2. Get noticed.
    3. (optional) Process about 10 orders at absurd price, to gain goodwill from market.
    4. After a threshold number of 'absurd' orders, take down product.
    5. Send link to Slashdot.
    6. Enjoy.

    Wonder what Amazon's charging HPaq for all the 'free' attention.
  • Worthy of /.? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mildness ( 579534 ) <.moc.hpmab. .ta. .llib.> on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:33AM (#5543511) Homepage
    I can see this on AnandTech's Hot Deals forum [anandtech.com] but /.?

    Bill

  • by Lev13than ( 581686 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:33AM (#5543512) Homepage
    Lev13than [slashdot.com] writes "In a pretty routine blunder, slashdot.org [slashdot.org] has inexplicably posted an article about Amazon making a typo. The article is for sale for just over $0 (plus postage and packing). It's not very hard to get through to their site right now, but if you're bored you can have a look at their blunder here [slashdot.org]." Don't bother clicking through, Slashdot will post a dupe in 20 minutes.
  • The story was originally on the inquirer. The original [theinquirer.net] came out and amazon noticed and pulled the whole site down for couple of hours, fixed the problem and put it back online. Only then does the slashdot story come online. I was wondering when the story being shown to subscribers first will come into problems.
  • by wsimmonds ( 532383 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:33AM (#5543521)
    The BBC have quickly picked up on this, you can find their story here: http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/2864461.stm [bbc.co.uk] It claims that "some workers were rumoured to be placing orders for 50 or 60 of the computers at a time"
    • Blah (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Its clearly a very slow news day when all you can do is wait for news.

      LATEST: Shop puts wrong price on item. Corrects mistake.

      LATEST: Person does something. Another person reacts.

      LATEST: Dog barks at passer-by, cat sleeps on sofa.

      Seriously, what the hell is this?
  • I ordered one! (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Raumkraut ( 518382 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:34AM (#5543523)
    I don't expect to get one, but I (and one of my workmates) put in an order nonetheless.

    Not mentioned anywhere else I've found was that the HP iPAQ H5450 was priced at about GB£23 also!
    Needless to say that I ordered me one of those, too. :-)

    Remains to be seen whether Amazon will honour the price, but I doubt it.
  • refunds (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:34AM (#5543524)
    There was also a £560 wifi model going for about £27. The £7 one was #1 on the sales list, while the £27 one got to about #20 before they shut the site down.

    If you read the small print it says they won't charge your credit card until the order is ready for shipping (i.e not right away, so they haven't actually taken your money & hence accepted the contract to supply the goods).
    They also reserve the right to refuse your order in the event of mispricing.

    We ordered a couple & got the acceptance, but we're not expecting to actually get them. Still, you've got to be in to win...
  • I still don't understand how sites like Amazon can get away with not honoring posted prices. In the US when a brick and mortar store mis-lables or mis-prices an item they have to honor the mis-labled price. I even think it is a law. Why is it not the same for online shopping?

    • Surely this isn't quite right - it's the same in the UK - but the shopkeeper is not obliged to sell you anything at all.

      I.E. Can't they just refuse to sell the item at *ANY* price...
      • That's my understanding of UK law - if they advertise a given price they either must sell at that price, or not at all. If they refuse to sell to you at that price, they must also refuse to sell to anyone else at that price (otherwise it's discrimination) so basically, if they sell once at the wrong price they must honour all subsequent orders at that price UNTIL they correct the advertised price.

        I used this today in Dixons - they had a sign up saying "All Gamecube accessories 20% off marked price" - so I
    • If a brick-and-mortar store mislabels an item, they don't have to honor the price. A lot of the department stores do, because they sell so many items, and they are all cheap, and the value of good will is more than the value of the item.

      Also, if they mislabel the item, and sell it at price to whites, but not to blacks (or Catholics but not protestants, etc), they can get in trouble that way.

      And if you *call* the store, and ask "Do you have a Black-n-Decker Stove-top drill with automatic surprise reverse
    • Come on, if it's an honest mistake and you are an honest person, why would you insist on robbing them?
  • This isn't the first time that Amazon has posted the wrong price for an item. In fact, they've done it quite a bit.

    I bought the movie The Insider on DVD from Amazon when it was first released for $0.99 because of a pricing error.

    Sometimes they will honor the pricing error on small ticket items. Usually, however, they will just send you an email announcing that they are unable to fill your order because of a pricing error and that your order is cancelled.
  • by RMH101 ( 636144 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:43AM (#5543567)
    No contract until they bill you. Amazon don't bill you until it ships. Price cannot reasonably be thought to be correct. Under UK law they have zero requirements to give this to you. Quit whining: Governing Law and Contract Formation No contract will subsist between you and Amazon.co.uk* for the sale by it to you of any product unless and until Amazon.co.uk accepts your order by e-mail confirming that it has dispatched your product. That acceptance will be deemed complete and will be deemed for all purposes to have been effectively communicated to you at the time Amazon.co.uk sends the e-mail to you (whether or not you receive that e-mail). For the avoidance of doubt, any such contract will be deemed to have been concluded in the United States of America. Further, any such contract will be interpreted, construed and enforced in all respects in accordance with the laws of England, and you and Amazon.co.uk irrevocably submit to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the English Courts. "
    • No contract will subsist between you and Amazon.co.uk* for the sale by it to you of any product unless and until Amazon.co.uk accepts your order by e-mail confirming that it has dispatched your product.

      Exactly. This is not the same as the time they bill you. The price quoted on the web site is an invitation to treat (invitation to enter into a contract); the actual contract is formed when you get the confirmation message.

      So if there are some lucky people who ordered the item and got a confirmatio

    • Best Buy had a blunder like this a while back.

      They had $800 printers for $8, I ordered 100 or so. Turned out they caught the mistake and canceled the transactions, but not before they gave everyone who ordered one $50 certificates.

      Even in the case that you don't get what they made a mistake on, you can still get something out of it, so its always worth trying. I'd love to have had a few nice printers and a boatload of money form the EBay sale of the rest, but I'll gladly accecpt the $50 of hush money.
  • Never! (Score:5, Interesting)

    by benjiboo ( 640195 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:43AM (#5543569)
    Some more links:

    The Register [theregister.co.uk].

    ZdNet [zdnet.co.uk].

    People who I know must have orders 250+ between them. There is no way they would honour this - and every person who ordered realised it was a mistake, so they have nothing to whine about.

  • Seen this before (Score:3, Informative)

    by dimer0 ( 461593 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:49AM (#5543607)
    They've done this before, so this isn't big news. About 9 months ago, they had the new RCA/Xbox TVs, 36", MSRP of about $1200, on sale for $99! (It was funny, it said "YOU SAVE 92%" or whatever the number was)

    It circulated pretty fast. I ordered 6 of them.

    I did find their policy posted, tho - which stated that the could at any time increase the price of an ordered item and then notify you for your approval.. Or, if the price posted was too high and you ordered, they'd drop the price - and this wouldn't take your approval to push it through.

    Needless to say, about 3 days later a bunch of us got emails stating that there was an error, and if we'd like to order them at $999, then we could re-confirm our order.. Hah

    • With respect to items sold by Amazon.com, we cannot confirm the price of an item until you order; however, we do NOT charge your credit card until after your order has entered the shipping process. Despite our best efforts, a small number of the items in our catalog may be mispriced. Rest assured, however, that we verify prices of products sold and shipped by Amazon.com as part of our shipping procedures.

      * If an item's correct price is lower than our stated price, we charge the lower amount and ship y
  • Early Buyers (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rf0 ( 159958 ) <rghf@fsck.me.uk> on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @09:55AM (#5543640) Homepage
    Going by a mailing list I'm on it seems that some of the early buyers actually had their credit cards charged for this. Now under UK law these make a legally binding contract as payment has been made. Its going to be interesting to see how Amazon reacts to this one.

    There was a similar case a few years back with Kodak where the mispriced a camera and finally ended up honouring the deal. Details on the inquirer [theinquirer.net].
  • Maybe somebody hacked the site to get a dirt-cheap iPac. Then again, who the hell would want one of those POSes except maybe his grandma?
  • I think the first of the major pricing blunders was buy.com who, back in the day, put up a 19" Hitachi CRT monitor for somewhere around half price. Many ordered, few if any got their monitors, however there was a class action suit and we won. I got a check for $50 out of it. So, for what its worth, there is *some* history of the customer being right in cases like these.
  • Patent claim: A method of increasing sales comprising the distribution of items to a plurarity of customers, in exchange for financial reward (the "sale price"), wherein the sale price is of lesser quantity than the sale price offered by competing merchants.

  • Aren't there scores of websites dedicated to uncovering up-to-the-minute pricing blunders, for people to take advanatge of? Is this really the remit of Slashdot?
  • by rf0 ( 159958 )
    Somehow so try http://www.jonnyclark.com/amazon.html [jonnyclark.com]

    Rus
  • This just in.. (Score:3, Informative)

    by DarkMan ( 32280 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @11:13AM (#5544132) Journal
    According to BBC radio 2, Amazon have decided not to honour any orders placed.

    Unfortuantly, no web link yet, and the radio was somewhat lacking on detail, but they implied that no-one was going to get one at that price.

    This wouldn't be the first time that a retailer has renaged on an online deal, offereed in error. A couple of years ago (Sept 1999), Argos offered a £300 TV for £3. They refused to honour it, and I'm not aware of any legal rammifications for Argos.

    So, looks like this will be just another one of those curiosity stories.
  • IRAQs? (Score:3, Funny)

    by Stephen ( 20676 ) on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @11:17AM (#5544155) Homepage
    Did anyone else read the headline and think that Amazon was selling IRAQs? Or was it just me?
  • by Cedric C. Girouard ( 21203 ) <cedricgirouard+s ... m ['l.c' in gap]> on Wednesday March 19, 2003 @12:30PM (#5544615)

    In Quebec, we have a policy on displayed price. It's rather easy.
    If the misspriced item is of a 10$ or less value, the dealer MUST give you the item at no charge.
    If the misspriced item is of a 10$ or more value, he MUST give you a 10$ rebate on the price of the article.

    There is no question of selling it to you or not. They fucked up, they own up. And it has worked surprisingly well to date, with misspricing going down radically, or misspriced item being corrected after one or two articles sold.

    For those who dig Molière's language, here's a link [gouv.qc.ca] to the law.

  • James Gilden is a travel journalist reporting for the Los Angeles Times. He once found a roundtrip fare on Travelocity for Los Angeles to Rome for $90. Of course, it was a mistake, but he booked it anyway. Read about his experience [latimes.com] (free registration needed) with Travelocity. This company rejects 30 reservations per day (or about 10,000 per year) on a total of 10 million annual bookings. When you manipulate -- and refresh several times per day -- databases as big as the ones from Amazon or Travelocity, it's
  • http://www.msnbc.com/news/887491.asp?0bl=-0

He keeps differentiating, flying off on a tangent.

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