Up to 75 million items on Amazon were affected by the online retailer’s 1p price glitch, FeedVisor tells Business Insider. Around 2,000 sellers were said to be hit by the fault on Friday.
On Dec. 12 between 7 p.m. and 8 p.m. an online automated pricing service called RepricerExpress saw hundreds of traders’ products drop to just a penny each. A lot of Amazon sellers use such services to manage their retail output. FeedVisor is a competitor of RepricerExpress.
Small businesses are now fighting back as they say Amazon is still dispatching some of the products ordered during the hour. One US-based group of sellers says on Facebook that many stand to lose thousands as a result. Some traders appear to be seeking legal aid.
Although Amazon cancelled many of the orders, Amazon trader Dawn Calvert argues that some were processed and, 3 days on, are being sent regardless of their incorrect prices. She says this should not be the case.
Fellow seller Lora Von Bury agrees. She said in a comment:
“Amazon knew and didn’t stop. Even a few people assured me it will stop when I called within and hour, I believe they were just saying, to get me off the phone, saying engineers are working. 50 hours later, I talked to another person from Amazon, and he was able to stop only 2 orders, out of 30 remaining. Meaning Amazon neglected my request on Friday. I believe they could have cancelled many orders right away.”
An Amazon spokesman told Business Insider that the online marketplace “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.” But he also said Amazon is reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly.
Another issue is that sellers have been in the dark about whether RepricerExpress will compensate traders for all the losses incurred. A company spokesman told Business Insider that he could not comment directly. A statement from CEO Brendan Doherty that was released on Monday.
Doherty apologises for the disruption and claims Amazon will not penalise seller accounts. Moreover, RepricerExpress says it has communicated with the retail giant to “minimise orders with incorrect prices being shipped”. Calvert says on Facebook that traders have been asked for details of any losses and costs, but nothing more.
While many items had been cancelled by Friday, those that remain will likely be honoured as they usually are, according to FeedViser, which also manages an inventory of Amazon sellers.
The organisation’s Shmuli Goldberg told Business Insider:
“Any orders that have already been shipped, which would include the majority of FBA orders placed at this time of year, will be honoured, and the seller would be expected to cover the cost of Amazon’s shipping fee, as well as incur the loss of the item sold.
Any order not yet fulfilled, Amazon will allow the seller to cancel, and in the vast majority of cases will ensure the seller’s feedback is not penalised for the cancellation. While sellers can take solace in knowing that their feedback score will not drop too dramatically, the seller will still have to go through each and every negative feedback for weeks to come and ensure he lets Amazon know which came about because of this glitch.”
There are further complications. Stuart Cameron, of online retailer Face & Co, said in an email to Business Insider that the biggest problem is actually the “Amazon Seller Matrix”. Cameron explains that Amazon scores its sellers.
He says: “The dark side is we also get scored for our cancelled orders and bad feedback. This (glitch) has thrown our account health from 100% excellent to poor in a matter of hours. This is a massive hit for us as it means we will lose orders now for months.”
Disclosure: Jeff Bezos is an investor in Business Insider through his personal investment company Bezos Expeditions.
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