An Amazon glitch led to items being sold for a penny

If Black Friday taught us anything, it’s that people love a bargain so much that they’re willing to beat the life out of someone else in order to get it. The Amazon Marketplace is not the kind of place you’d see such behaviour, but if Currys or Asda had a bunch of stock available for a penny, you can be sure people would go absolutely nuts.

It happened though, and many retailers are angry because between 7pm and 8pm on Friday night their stock ended up being sold on the UK Marketplace for a penny. And we don’t mean a ‘it’s a penny but shipping is £15′ situation either, stock was being sold for basically nothing, and people were taking advantage of that. If I was one of the affected retailers I’d be pretty damn angry too.

Apparently the problem was one errant piece of software messing everything up. The software in question was RepricerExpress, a service that automatically changes prices to ensure that Marketplace retailers’ prices remain competitive with other online outlets. Needless to say, dropping prices to a penny is taking the whole competition thing a bit far.

RepricerExpress is a third party outlet, not officially part of Amazon, but is apparently working with the company to try and figure out what caused the software to initiate an extreme drop in price. According to Amazon most of the orders have been cancelled, and the sellers will not be penalised for the problem.

What it hasn’t mentioned is what’s going to be done to compensate sellers for stock that was dispatched and can’t be reclaimed.


Tom Pritchard