A Glitch On Amazon Let People Buy Anything For 1p --  And Businesses Are Furious

AmazonREUTERS/Phil NobleA glitch has caused huge problems for Amazon.

Small businesses in the UK have formed a support group to cope with the Amazon 1p price glitch that has plunged hundreds of businesses trading through Amazon into chaos.

City A.M reports that some fear they may go bankrupt after a technical fault on Amazon MarketPlace caused products to be incorrectly listed for a single penny. 

The error happened on December 12 between 7 p.m and 8 p.m and affected hundreds of items. It was caused by a problem with Northern Ireland-based RepricerExpress, an online tool for automated pricing. 

The blunder could cost individual retailers thousands of pounds, warns The Register. Many took to social media to tell customers that their livelihoods were at stake — as some consumers celebrated their bargain purchases. It is thought that smaller, family-run businesses are most at risk.  Businesses probably won’t fulfil orders bought for 1p, but some of those orders were processed on Amazon making them a pain to undo — and causing customer ill-will.

A furniture seller called Mehboob Rasool told City A.M that smaller businesses who sell on Amazon have clubbed together to hire a lawyer to represent them. He explained he had been charged nearly £5,000 in fees from Amazon, after products worth thousands were bought with the massive reduction.

Seller Judith Blackford, owner of kids’ dress up company Kiddymania, said she lost £20,000 overnight and is calling for support. She tweeted:#supportkiddymania through the amaZon 1p crisis……please”. 

RepricerExpress has apologised and responded to the situation on its website. It says it worked with Amazon to rectify the glitch. 

A statement from CEO Brendan Doherty reads: “We understand that you are angry and upset and we will endeavour to work to make good on this issue and to work to restore your confidence in our product and service.”

Amazon said it cancelled most of the orders placed when the 1p pricing was in effect. However, the e-commerce giant is looking into a “small number of orders” that were successfully put through at the time. 

The company tells Business Insider:

“We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk. 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. We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly.”

Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.

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