Yes, Those Free DVDs On Amazon Were Too Good To Be True
from the taking-it-back dept
From time to time, you hear stories of websites accidentally mispricing items, allowing customers a brief window to buy things at ridiculously cheap prices. This has happened a number of times on airline websites, allowing people to travel for less than $1. Apparently, Amazon.com committed such an error around Christmas, when it offered two DVD box sets for the sum total of $0.00. Naturally, several customers enthusiastically took advantage of the generous offer. But they were not so happy when the company tried backing out of the offer after the DVDs had already been sent. Once the company realized the error, it contacted those customers and told them that if they didn’t send back the DVDs, they would go ahead and charge their credit cards. In some cases, we would accept that a company shouldn’t have to stand by a glitch, particularly if the product had yet to be shipped. But even if Amazon felt it was entitled to charge the customers full price for the DVDs in this case, it’s not clear that doing so makes sense here. Whatever minimal profit it got from going ahead and charging customer credit cards will certainly be lost through customer ill will and the negative publicity from the action. Even more important, the fact that they then feel entitled to go in an put unauthorized charges on credit cards can only lead to all kinds of trouble. Obviously, companies are in business to make a profit, but sometimes it’s better to just let things go while admitting a mistake, than to make a few extra bucks in the short term.