Eagle-eyed buyers who spotted two bargain-priced HP pocket PCs on online retailer Amazon's website today, advertised for a fraction of their true cost, will be disappointed to find the company is not honouring its offer.
The site featured HP's iPaq h1910 for £7.23 and its higher-end sibling, the h5450, for £23.04. Retailers Comet and Dabs.com are currently selling the iPaq h1910 on their websites for just over £300 and h5450 for just under £550.
Amazon.co.uk was forced to temporarily close its website around lunchtime after being inundated with orders. When the site reappeared after about an hour both products had disappeared. It has not yet confirmed how many orders it received.
"Obviously errors occur. We are cancelling all orders made and will contact all customer involved asking them if they wish to either cancel their order or replace it," said a spokeswoman for the company.
The order confirmation email sent out to customers was subject to Amazon's terms and conditions which state "No contract will subsist between you and Amazon.co.uk for the sale by it to you of any product unless and until Amazon.co.uk accepts your order by email confirming that it has dispatched your product."
The key word in that bit of legal spiel is 'dispatched' — emailed order confirmations, therefore, do not represent a contract to deliver the goods. Perhaps Amazon could spend a little time rewriting its confirmation notice to make this clearer to customers.
In the now infamous Kodak case, the company was forced to sell its cameras at the price advertised because it was deemed a 'reasonable' price — buyers could reasonably believe the camera cost £100.
With a £290 difference in the RRP and Amazon's price, 'reasonableness' might be harder to prove should buyers decide to take legal action.