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Pricing glitch allowed Prime Day customers to buy a $13,000 camera lens for $94

By Cal Jeffrey · 16 replies
Jul 18, 2019
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  1. Amazon’s Prime Day exceeded Black Friday and Cyber Monday by having more than 100 million customers make purchases. With so many people getting in on the low prices, the most common question at the water cooler this week has probably been, “You score anything good on Prime Day?”

    Several users on Slickdeals got the ultimate bragging rights for killer deals. Due to an apparent glitch in Amazon’s pricing system, some were able to pick up various high-priced items for just over $94.

    The chaos began when a Slickdeals member posted a Prime Day deal that was selling the Sony a6000 mirrorless camera and 16-50 millimeter lens for just $94.48. The bundle has an MSRP of about $550. It is not unheard of to see deeply discounted deals on Amazon, but often they are too good to be true often ending up as counterfeit goods. However, this package was being sold directly from Amazon rather than a third-party seller, so it seemed legit. Needless to say, it sold out quickly.

    However, that was not the end to the rock bottom steals. Other members on the Slickdeals forums began reporting other items that were similarly priced.

    “Everything with the prime day tag on my account is 94.48. I just bought a 3000$ telescope for 94.48,” said user killroyriley.

    Another user claimed to have ordered a Sony a7 III camera for the same price. That camera usually sells for around $2,000. AyoItsPat said that he got a $13,000 Canon EF 800mm f/5.6L IS USM Super Telephoto Lens for Canon Digital SLR Cameras for $94 — a 99.3-percent discount.

    Whether Amazon will honor the sales is another question. One user who goes by the handle SoccerMomDeals ordered five of the $13,000 lenses and claimed that all were delivered.

    “That’s $65,000 worth of lenses! Can’t believe Amazon actually delivered!” SoccerMomDeals wrote.

    "A merchant might be able to cancel the purchase if the price was so low that a buyer should have known it was a mistake. An online retailer's fine print may relieve it of the duty to fulfill orders based on pricing errors."

    By law, Amazon is not required to honor a sale price if it was a clear mistake. However, once the purchase begins processing, obligations become a little less clear.

    “It's generally a myth that retailers must honor a posted price if it's simply a mistake, although some stores might do so as a matter of policy or on a case-by-case basis,” Jane Winn, a professor at the University of Washington Law School told Consumer Reports. “The issue gets murky if the retailer begins processing the order, something that is more likely to happen online. But even then, a merchant might be able to cancel the purchase if the price was so low that a buyer should have known it was a mistake. An online retailer's fine print may relieve it of the duty to fulfill orders based on pricing errors.”

    It is even more unclear whether Amazon can charge the customer for the actual price or ask the items to be returned if they have already been delivered.

    Federal law states that if you receive merchandise that you did not order, you have the legal right to keep it as a free gift. An example that the FTC lists is if you ordered a “free sample” and the company sent you more than one of the item and demanded payment for the rest. In that case, you are not obligated to pay the seller or return the items. These Amazon bargains are a bit different since the customers did order the products, it’s just that they were not charged correctly.

    Gizmodo reached out to Amazon for comment but did not hear back from a representative. It will be interesting to see how Amazon handles the fiasco.

    Image credit: Julie Clopper via Shutterstock

    Permalink to story.

     
  2. VitalyT

    VitalyT Russ-Puss Posts: 4,529   +3,095

    Only to find out that the cost of manufacturing is $10, and they got ripped off :)

    Seriously, I think they were supposed to pay 94.48% of the original cost, after the discount, but the system placed $94.48 as the total cost instead.
     
  3. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,477   +644

    Isn't this similar to that other story about a guy ordering a TV on amazon and they sent him the wrong one. And they came back to collect after.
    So this guy that got 65k of stuff for $500 I'm sure amazon will be contacting them to correct this issue.
    And if the person plays hardball they will just send the cops or take them to court so not really a win in my book.
     
    Cal Jeffrey likes this.
  4. Cal Jeffrey

    Cal Jeffrey TS Evangelist Topic Starter Posts: 1,822   +441

    Yeah. I didn't include it in the article, but the guy (actually I think it was a woman based on the username: SoccerMomDeals) also said, "Can’t believe Amazon actually delivered! Now the question is what’s the best route to get these sold? Should I head straight to Adorama and see if they will purchase them?"

    I was thinking, "Don't go spending that money too fast now."
     
  5. Lionvibez

    Lionvibez TS Evangelist Posts: 1,477   +644

    lol agreed.

    When there is a banking error and you all of a sudden find an extra 100k in your account the last thing you want to go do is spend that money which doesn't belong to you.

    Can't fix stupid though.
     
    SantistaUSA, p51d007 and wiyosaya like this.
  6. Dimitrios

    Dimitrios TS Guru Posts: 499   +369

    Publicity stunt or workers were on the scheme.

    There seems to be a lot of employee's doing shady stuff like taking out products and putting something different in it or even pieces of particle board wood. I got scammed from Amazon warehouse it was an SD card for my tablet and I got instead a luggage leather ID tag.

    Mark my words Amazon knows but doesn't want to scare it's buyers. Thank god they do have a great return policy though.
     
    MaikuTech likes this.
  7. MaikuTech

    MaikuTech TS Evangelist Posts: 1,072   +187

    Welp they can automatically be glitched to pay off my over draft fees and fend off wells fargo disputes. >_>
     
  8. Sir Alex Ice

    Sir Alex Ice TS Enthusiast Posts: 53   +26

    If the items actually got delivered, you get to keep them as american movies and series endlessly remind us possession is 9/10 of the law.

    Of course Amazon can ask the users to return the goods, but on what legal grounds should they do so? If the purchase was made in good faith, that is 1~2 items, the buyer has a clear conscience and it is Amazon fault for the mistake and for going through with the delivery.

    Now if we are talking buyers that went for 5pcs, that clearly was not in good faith and it was done to exploit the error and the goods should be returned fully. Greed and profiteering should not be allowed and rewarded in any way.
     
    Lionvibez, Cal Jeffrey and wiyosaya like this.
  9. Odium

    Odium TS Enthusiast Posts: 50   +23

    "if the price was so low that a buyer should have known it was a mistake."
    How should I know that it is too low? It might seem just right to me. I know it's obvious that it was a mistake, but you know, that putting your phone in a microwave will kill it is also obvious.
     
  10. stewi0001

    stewi0001 TS Evangelist Posts: 2,219   +1,657

    Glitches can happen. Something similar happened to my boss once with Home Depot's website. He informed them about it but they said they would honor the glitched price.
     
  11. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,119   +2,406

    Thinking about this a bit, I bought a single SSD from Amazon a few years back. They sent me 10. I notified them and returned the extra 9.
     
  12. Plutoisaplanet

    Plutoisaplanet TS Booster Posts: 101   +78

    We need more people like you in the world.
     
    Lionvibez and wiyosaya like this.
  13. wiyosaya

    wiyosaya TS Evangelist Posts: 4,119   +2,406

    Thanks for the compliment! :)
     
    Lionvibez likes this.
  14. gollum21

    gollum21 TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +14

    I'm confused how this even happens. Doesn't the seller of the item list their item at a price on Amazon? If Amazon misrepresented the price the seller listed the item for, wouldn't that be Amazon's fault?
     
  15. Trillionsin

    Trillionsin TS Evangelist Posts: 1,822   +419

    I'm pretty sure Amazon can't make any legal actions against them if they dont return the stuff. Once it's delivered, transaction is closed. Amazon's mistake. I've heard about this happening before, instead of receiving a single item, they received basically the whole pallet instead containing several of the same item that was purcahsed. They didnt have to return them, but in good conscience they did.

    Recently ordered a Weber grill myself from Home Depot website, they actually sent me two for some reason. They did not contact me.
     
  16. McMurdeR

    McMurdeR TS Addict Posts: 148   +115

    Amazon do cancel orders against listing errors, at least here in Europe.
     
  17. Graloc25

    Graloc25 TS Rookie Posts: 38   +11

    Given Amazon's profit level it'd be like dropping a quarter when you just won a slot jackpot. Would you really care? Hell the guy's just dropped 30 gazillion on his divorce, probably quite pleased to quit the telephoto lenses. Taking the long view maybe?
     

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