Did hackers cause site's steep discount?

Microworkz.com sells PCs cheap, but some customers received extra money off for reasons it can't explain.

Did hackers cause customers of Microworkz.com to get order confirmations showing discounts of up to 85 percent? The company says no, but it's not that simple.

Microworkz.com is best know for its Webzter PCs, which feature rock-bottom pricing of between $299 and $699. But three customers received discounts of at least 20 percent and as much as 85 percent during a 20-minute period on May 6th. ZDTV News learned about the problem today, from a customer complaint.

Microworkz won't honor the prices, claiming the steep discounts came from a programming glitch, but one of the customers sent ZDTV News a copy of a handwritten fax on Microworkz letterhead that reads, "We've had hacker problems -- there is no 20 percent discount."

Microworkz officials say that no hack occurred.

Bug or hack?
"Our site's security was never compromised," said an emphatic Rick Latman, Microworkz' CEO, in an interview today.

Latman says a software problem is the culprit. The problem is, the company can't recreate the problem. And during the interview, he even hinted that one of the customers may have either created or stumbled on a way to generate the price discounts.

While it remains to be seen which of the two stories is true, neither suggests anything to inspire customer confidence: Either the company has billing software it can't debug, or there's been a hack.

Looking forward, Microworkz says a planned upgrade and redesign of the Webzter site is slated to go live Monday, June 21st. That upgrade promises to correct whatever caused this problem. In the meantime, the site now clearly states there are no discounts on any products.

Alice Chegia contributed to this story.