A glitch in a third-party selling tool for Amazon has resulted in items being listed for just one penny, resulting in claims of tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds in losses for many UK sellers.
As well as selling items from its own stock, book-seller turned everything-retailer Amazon has long offered the ability for third parties to sell through its web shops. From the 'Marketplace' for independent vendors - and even individuals selling unwanted gifts and second-hand items - through to allowing sellers to use Amazon's own warehousing and logistical services, the site supports many thousands of smaller businesses world-wide.
Sadly, a good many of Amazon's UK business partners were left fuming last night after a glitch in a third-party repricing package saw their goods being sold at a fraction of their true cost - as little as one penny, in some cases. As reported by The Guardian
, the flaw is claimed to have been active for around an hour and may have cost businesses tens to hundreds of thousands of pounds in automatically-dispatched orders which cannot be cancelled.
The flaw has been traced to faulty repricing software, which is designed to automatically adjust the prices of listed items depending on stock levels and demand. High-demand items, for example, will see their prices gradually raised to improve profit margins, while lower-demand items will have their prices reduced to encourage buyers. RepricerExpress, the company behind the glitched software, has apologised for the flaw, which some of its users fear may leave them bankrupt.
'I am truly sorry for the distress this has caused our customers. We experienced a problem with RepricerExpress yesterday at about 19:00GMT and worked to fix the original issue by 20:00GMT. We continued to work over the following few hours in conjunction with Amazon to revert any incorrect prices to their original prices,
chief executive Brendan Doherty. '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.
Meanwhile, sand-baggers have taken to social networking services to share their 'bargains,'
with many having ordered hundreds of mis-priced items for resale on auction sites.