Pricing blunder hits Apple online

Pricing blunder hits Apple online

Summary: It looks as if a digital camera deal on Apple's online store was, in fact, too good to be true

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TOPICS: Tech Industry
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Apple appears to have become the latest firm to offer goods online at the wrong price and subsequently refuse to honour the sales.

A number of customers shopping for a great bargain in the January sales thought they had found just that when they saw an Olympus digital camera advertised for £98.70 on Apple's online Education store.

The camera, which Apple claimed was in stock and ready to ship within 24 hours at that price, normally retails for around £600.

However, one unhappy shopper has contacted ZDNet UK sister site silicon.com to say Apple subsequently reneged on an email confirmation of his order — which even confirmed a £420 discount — claiming the sale had been cancelled as the product was "no longer available".

But the customer told silicon.com he later found the same item — an Olympus E-1 Digital SLR — available elsewhere on the Apple Web site, closer to its normal, far higher price, leading him to believe his order had in fact been cancelled because Apple was advertising it at the wrong price.

Apple remains tight-lipped on the controversy and has failed to respond to enquiries about the cancelled sales or the validity of the original offer.

In the past, companies have hidden behind a defence which claimed customers had bought in 'bad faith', evidenced by the fact they often attempted to buy dozens of the wrongly priced items.

However, the silicon.com reader in this case said he had not attempted to capitalise on the mistake as he had only ordered one of the item. He believed it may have been a genuine offer with companies slashing prices during the sales and the cost of digital cameras falling sharply in recent months.

And he wasn't alone. A number of members of the Web site MoneySavingExpert.com also took Apple up on the offer in good faith, though some others seemed to know the offer may have been too good to be true. One posting on the community site, which shares information on price discrepancies and bargains alike, reads: "It seems a lot like a mis-price as it is still listed at £600+ on their main site, but it is worth a go just in case it is some sort of mega promo for schools."

Another member wrote: "I'm just about to buy two. One for me and one for eBay", echoing a number of other postings which suggested the auction site was going to be the first port of call.

Other members pointed out that multiple orders were the very thing which would alert Apple to any potential mistake.

In 2003 Amazon.co.uk refused to honour a mistake on its site which saw Compaq handheld computers advertised at £7.32. Later that same year Thai Airways refused to make good on the sale of flights to Bangkok for £111.

In 1999 Argos was caught out advertising televisions for £3. In September 2005 the blundering retailer repeated the error with a TV advertised for 49p. In both cases Argos refused to honour the sales.

Topic: Tech Industry

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5 comments
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  • Hello,
    I am actually one of the many customers who bought this camera in good faith. I have sought legal advice and shall be taking legal action against Apple store UK for ''loss of bargain''. I am more than happy for you to cover the progress of my claim if you should wish. My Contact email is
    anonymous
  • Hello,
    I am actually one of the many customers who bought this camera in good faith. I have sought legal advice and shall be taking legal action against Apple store UK for ''loss of bargain''. I am more than happy for you to cover the progress of my claim if you should wish. My Contact email is
    anonymous
  • You will find that the problems with Apple are not confined to the Olympus E1- I ordered a Nikon 5200 from the same site online, for
    anonymous
  • Just to add, money has also been taken from a number of the customers who have ordered. Which has yet to be refunded by Apple.

    Inaddition Apple claims the reason for not being able to fulfil there contract to supply the cameras is not due to a pricing error, as they make no mention of this officially. The reason is that these cameras are not being made anymore. However a call and email to Olympus the manafactures confirms this is not the case and that the camera is still inproduction. Which suggests Apple is still not only liable to fulfil the contract to supply, but worst they lied to all there customers. I think this is what is annoying everyone, that Apple think they can just lie to all there custmers because of there position.
    anonymous
  • How long does it take apple to change a price field 8am until 6pm. Or if it was aunavailable how about stockcontrol stock = stock - 1 thats how you do it! Why keep churning out confirmations all day? Perhaps this is just a publicity stunt to drive people to their store. Why don't other retailers follow suit with their own phantom bargains, cheaper than advertising, just let word of mouth drive people to your store.
    anonymous