Businesses threaten lawsuit after Amazon UK prices drop to a penny
written by Hayley Tsukayama
Due to an outside glitch, several British merchants on Amazon found their good were selling for just a penny last week. (Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg News)
A groups of British Amazon.co.uk sellers were shocked last week to find their goods had gotten an unexpected and drastic price cut — to just a penny.
Although Amazon and other retailers do occasionally run promotions where things only cost one cent, this glitch was the fault of non-Amazon software from RepricerExpress, which automatically reprices items online. The problem only lasted for about an hour, but it came during peak shopping time ahead of Christmas, at a time when many customers are looking to online shopping to get last-minute gifts to their destinations on time. And, according to Britain’s Sky News, some retailers say the glitch cost them tens of thousands of dollars, and may even put some of them out of business.
Repricing software is commonly used by retailers and individuals who regularly sell items on Amazon and other online marketplaces. These automated tools are used by sellers across the globe to send prices down (or up) depending on market demand.
When reached for comment, RepricerExpress referred The Washington Post to its public blog posts on the matter but did not say whether it worked with sellers in the United States.
The company, which claims to support over 2,000 sellers on Amazon and Raukten.com, has apologized for the error and said it’s looking to “put measures in place” to keep the mistake from happening again. As of Monday, the company said, systems were running normally.
Most affected orders were canceled. In a statement, Amazon said it’s working to remedy the few orders that were processed and will be reaching out to sellers on its own. (Amazon’s chief executive, Jeffrey P. Bezos, owns The Washington Post.)
The retailers affected by the RepricerExpress glitch have since started a Facebook group — it currently has 96 members — for those ”willing to fight for their money” lost due to the software company’s mistake.
Some also seem to hold Amazon responsible. “Amazon who allows Repricer Express on their platform is responsible and must cover the losses,” wrote one of the group’s administrators in a Facebook post.
Amazon, for its part, has said it’s working to cover some of the costs. ”We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders,” the company said in a statement.