The curse of online retail: 6 great price glitches
This week, department store chain John Lewis became the latest victim of the dreaded price glitch.
Although seen as an opportunity for bargain hunters, items being mispriced on a retailer's website can be a headache for companies that have to admit to the error. Despite often not being bound by contract law to honour mispricings, retailers often have to pay for their system glitches by offering customers who have tried to take advantage of the surprise lower prices by offering some sort of "gesture of goodwill".
We take a look at six memorable price glitches that have happened in the UK.
1. John Lewis
Glitch occured: January 2015
Nature of glitch: Pictures and prices of software placed alongside descriptions of hardware such as laptops, PCs and tablets. This meant that laptops worth £500 were advertised at just £40. John Lewis has offered to credit customers who tried to buy the items with £25 as a gesture of goodwill.
Glitch occured: December 2014
Nature of glitch: Products of third-party sellers on Amazon found their products priced at 1p each, from PS4 games to beds and mattresses. Amazon's efficient fulfilment processes meant that some customers received their goods before the error was realised. Some retailers, who were small businesses, appealed to customers to return items.
Glitch occured: January 2014
Nature of glitch: Everything in the DIY chain's catalogue was priced at £34.99, including power drills and a sit-on mower worth £1,599.99.
Glitch occured: March 2012
Nature of glitch: Apple iPads, worth around £650, were being priced at £49.99. Tesco did not honour the orders, much to many customers' chagrin.
5. Marks and Spencer
Glitch occured: January 2012
Nature of glitch: 50 inch, 3D TVs worth £1,099 were on sale for £199 on the Marks and Spencer website. At first the company was going to just credit customers with £25, but decided to sell the TVs at the lower price after being faced with a customer petition.
Glitch occured: November 2013
Nature of glitch: Trainers worth £100 were marked as free, with customers being charged for delivery only. Reebok did not honour the orders, but refunded the delivery charge and gave customers 20 percent off their next order.
Sales fell last quarter, including in Christmas period, despite online groceries growth
Christmas came early for some shoppers when a pricing software error valued thousands of pounds’ worth of goods at just 1p.
2014 - the year of the data breaches, online shopping and beacon technology