Amazon 'Pricing Error' Leads To Graphics Card Preorder Cancellations

Online deal-hunters are furious that Amazon priced a graphics card at $175, only to be so overwhelmed with pre-orders that it canceled them and hiked the price to above $250.

By checking out the listing for the card, which is plagued with angry 1-star reviews protesting the price change, you get a sense of the outrage, while Slickdeals, Overclock and Hardforum also are also tracking the heat this pricing snafu has caused.

Amazon doesn’t seem to be offering angry customers any compensation for the switcheroo.

(Thanks, Eric!)


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  1. agent 47 says:

    It was a mistake. Big deal. I once tried to buy an 32 inch LCD from Dell for $99. When they canceled it due to it being a mistake, I said “figures” and moved on.

    • Coyote says:

      The crux of the situation is if it was an honest mistake or if they noticed the popularity of the item and thought it better to cancel all the orders. It’s very unethical to sell somebody something then before they actually get their hands on it jack the price up.

      • bwcbwc says:

        $175 is close enough to $250 that I have to wonder about the kind of “error” involved. If they didn’t have enough allocation to satisfy the pre-orders at that price, it’s called bait and switch and it’s illegal throughout the US.

        Even K-Mart would offer a rain-check for sale items out of stock.

        Amazon might get off the hook legally as this was a “pre-order” price, which allows them some wiggle room for “unexpected” price variations. But they deserve whatever PR fall-out comes from this one.

    • The Marionette says:

      Yeah it’s honestly no big deal. It was a mistake, they fixed it. Now had it been a mistake that would’ve hurt the customer they would’ve wanted them to fix it in a heart beat, but because th is a pricing error they don’t want it fixed.

    • jason in boston says:

      I think I was on that deal! I was pissed, but no credit card charge no harm.

    • AI says:

      $175 for a $250 item is not the same as a $1500 TV for $99 mistake. One is obviously a mistake to the consumer, the other is just a good deal.

    • Raekwon says:

      Except that people had bought the item successfully at that price before and it was relisted at least once at that same price.

      • Griking says:

        I really don’t feel that it’s a completed purchase until you get the item that you purchased. So really what I see are a lot of people who tried to buy the item.

      • dbeahn says:

        Meh. As with ALL online *and offline* “hot deals”, YMMV. Sometimes you win big, sometimes you waste a little time.

        The “outrage” over (if I understand it right) a *pre-order* “purchase” that was *never charged to the credit cards* is out of proportion.

        • Clyde Barrow says:

          I agree with you. Shit happens, get over it. Some folks think that because THEY ordered the item, well, the supplier just has to follow through with that order NO MATTER WHAT. Well I wish life were that convenient.

  2. Beeker26 says:

    If a price seems too good to be true then it probably is.

    • Difdi says:

      Except when it isn’t too good to be true but only looks that way. How do you tell the difference?

      • SkyHawk says:

        Trial and error, really. If you get the amazing deal and it actually is an amazing deal, win for you. If not, oh well, and move on.

  3. jessjj347 says:

    Why is everyone so mad at Amazon? They’re just the middleman. It’s Beach Audio that is selling the product.

    • danmac says:

      Thanks for pointing this out, although I’m sure it won’t stop a slew of knee-jerk outrage.

    • evnmorlo says:

      Yeah, Amazon itself automatically raises prices when orders spike.

    • moofree says:

      Nope, indeed Amazon was the seller. Beach audio’s price was always ~$260, Amazon removed their listing, they didn’t increase their price.

  4. Random_Tangent says:

    Customers angry when deal that appears too good to be true turns out to be.

    Amazon should offer everyone who complains one of these:

  5. tonberry says:

    Pricing errors happen, get over it. and the above $250 price is not amazons price, it is the price of one of the third party sellers on their site

  6. f5alcon says:

    The new price is too high, comparable cards sell for $240 elsewhere

  7. Ekopy says:

    And just how many of these people were going to turn around and resell on ebay for close to $100 in profit?

    I tried buying a 50″ or so LCD TV from Best Buy online for about $100 dollars before but it was promptly canceled. I didn’t go on a bad review writing rampage on the product page.

    Write a letter to your congressman and call the Whaaaaambulence.

    • 99 1/2 Days says:

      This wasn’t a pricing difference by an order of magnitude, dude. It wasn’t even half price.

  8. Deezul_AwT says:

    If Best Buy had done the same thing, people would be screaming from the rooftops to honor it or give them some kind of a discount. But it’s Amazon, so we should give them a pass…

    • SecretAgentWoman says:

      It’s NOT Amazon, it’s Beach Audio who is selling on Amazon. That’s like blaming eBay for a seller’s shenanigans.

      • FrugalFreak says:

        Well the reason is that for the most part, Amazon is usually fair to consumers so that deserves some leeway.

    • hosehead says:

      Part of the reason Amazon gets the pass is the fact they are not the direct seller, Beach Audio/Camera is.

      Also, Amazon has historically had great customer service. No retailer is going to be faultless throughout their dealings. What is BestBuy’s record wit customer service?

  9. photoguy622 says:

    Monday I ordered a 50″ Panasonic 3-D plasma from Amazon, with Amazon as the seller, for $1098. The deal seemed too good to be true, but it’s scheduled to ship in 3 weeks. We will see. I ordered it based on a tip on Gizmodo.

    With that said, I have never had a problem with Amazon, and if it gets cancelled, such is life.

  10. danmac says:

    Phil, the headline of this article is misleading, as the pricing error was on the part of the third-party seller who is advertising the product.

    Also, why is “pricing error” in quotes? Is it not really a pricing error? Were you being sarcastic? If you wanted to do it right, it should have read: “Amazon” Pricing Error Leads to Graphics Card Preorder Cancellations.

    See? Moving the quotes made the headline accurate.

    • Thanatos says:

      The price started at $210 then they lowered it, a few times even, till it was $175 which was a couple of weeks ago how they can change the price 4 times over the last two months (from the provided links) without realizing the “Mistake” definitely sounds fishy.

  11. aybara says:

    Some of the complaints say that they ordered almost SIX WEEKS ago on a backordered product that had a good price. So Amazon (or the third party) didn’t realize they were selling it too cheaply for almost 2 months? Sounds sketchy to me.

  12. Starfury says:

    I pre-ordered a board game from them in July. The game is out at other online retailers but Amazon has it back ordered. If you search for the game Amazon lists it and you can purchase a copy from Amazon fulfilled by a secondary vendor.

    For $15 more than my pre-order price.

    They say it’ll be shipping by October 9th…if it doesn’t I’ll just cancel my order. Overall I like buying from them but in this case I’m not happy.

  13. Hi_Hello says:

    way back when I was a kid, my teacher told me that went something like this happen… the vendor is require to sell the produce to one person base on the error price.

    for all we know, the seller probably made it cheap to get people to notice them and their product, then cancel it and list as the original price..

  14. Vulpine says:

    Isn’t there a federal law that says that any purchase made on a published price before correction MUST be honored? It’s certainly true for print ads; it should be true for an internet ad too, especially if there’s any verifiable proof that the ad existed.

  15. parliboy says:

    Contracts are not complete until money changes hands. No harm, no foul.

    If anyone was actually charged, then refunded, I can see them being more annoyed, especially as the listed price, while low, is not unconscionable. $175 is about the right online price for a similar card with 768MB instead of 1GB. It’s not unreasonable to see this as a sale.

    Question: when I buy from a third party vendor through Amazon, whose name shows up on my credit card?

  16. syzygy says:

    Amazon is not at fault here, the third-party seller is. Why should Amazon compensate the customers? Have the customers lost anything? The most Amazon should do is stop offering products from third parties they know have a history of doing this kind of thing, assuming that it was intentional, and not just an honest mistake.

    Seriously, people are angrily spamming Amazon with 1-star reviews because they didn’t get the price they wanted, and instead were charged absolutely nothing? What a bunch of immature jackasses. Save your outrage for when you’ve actually been maligned.

  17. hewhoroams says:

    I can see the rationale of “price mistake, move on”, but when it’s only off by a small factor and not obviously a price mistake, I think more actions should be done to mollify the customers.
    Sears has done this in the past too, where something is low priced, but not horribly so, and they canceled all the ordered when they didn’t like it.

    If the card was $99, I’d say forget about it, but at 175, it’s obviously not a typo or something.

  18. NotEd says:

    I once tried to buy a $211 hard drive from Dell that had 2 seperate $100 rebates on it based on one of these posted deals. They offered to cancel the order, as the rebates were not supposed to overlap.
    I was not happy but I was ready to accept it as an error.
    Still enough people complained about it that Dell did reinstate the order and make sure both rebates were honored. It was actually a great deal and made me continue to order from Dell, at least for components and small electronics.

  19. Puddy Tat says:

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about so someone mispriced something and you didn’t get to slink out the door with the beyond great deal.

    Would you like some cheeze with that WHINE?

  20. raz-0 says:

    The article isn’t exactly explaining it clearly. Beign one of the very annoyed people who got their order canceled, I’ll explain why.

    1) Amazon no longer lists the card for sale by amazon, just 3rd parties. The complain IS about the item when it WAS sold by amazon. They just no longer list it, so people are complaining in the listing available.

    2) Pricing mistakes happen, sure. But I placed my order on 08-09-2010, and my order was canceled 9-29-2010. In that time, they not only initially listed the card at $229, but dropped the price to $219 twice, $209 three times, and $174.99 two times. All these prices are at least $20 below the next best competitor’s prices.

    3) They didn’t cancel any orders before 9-29. They in fact fulfilled a few orders at $209. Like many others, I contacted them vis phone multiple times to get price adjustments and was assured it was not a pricing error.

    People are pissed that less at the orders being canceled, but that it took 60 days and people were repeatedly mislead by Amazon over that time period. Effectively costing them the opportunity to get a decent deal elsewhere.

  21. Avrus says:

    Well to fill in some of the gaps here I read through the comments. I guess the outrage is because of the following:

    – The card has already previously been sold at $175 and they ran out of stock
    – The price ranged between $175 and $209 for more than a month while it was in stock.
    – The $175 price was on the website for weeks, not days.

    At that point one has to ask whether it was a price error, or rather the vendor raised their prices and Amazon cancelled orders so they wouldn’t have to take a loss.

  22. Dyscord says:

    A misleading headline? HERE?! Preposterous!

    Seriously though, what proof is there that this was anything but a pricing error?

  23. JollyJumjuck says:

    Well, it seems that enough people are happy with the end result, because they also bought the Remington MB-200 Mustache and Beard Trimmer. Because, really, when I upgrade my graphics card, I need to upgrade my trimmer as well.

  24. andyg8180 says:

    why would they be angry… everyone knows that if there’s a price mistake, (esp on a preorder) they are not obligated to sell you anything… Amazon is one of the best sites out there for customer service… no compensation… just a get over it and move along…

    Oh, and amazon wasnt selling it… so why should they be responsible for you trying to cheat the system…

  25. dolemite says:

    I almost bought this, but figured it would be $155 in a few months anyhow, and my GTX260 really hasn’t been bogged down yet.

  26. Razor512 says:

    $175 is a ripoff for that card. for a non overclocked version, the card is about $200 and can easily be overclocked using rivatuner

    Also, the gtx 460 doesn’t perform fast enough to justify the price tag, a GTS 250 is less than half it’s price and offers almost as much performance in many games more than doubling the price for around a 20% or so performance boost is not a good reason to get it unless you feel you must have support for direct x 11

  27. Minj says:

    This happens all the time. Price mistakes are a gamble that cost nothing to play. Only newbie deal seekers get upset if they don’t “win”.

  28. lint42 says:

    Amazon almost always does something to compensate people when they put up a mistake. They are *the best* internet site to buy from imo. I recently ordered some bubble bath that should have been nearly $60 for a 3 pack but instead was $0.99. I ordered four of them and they sent an e-mail out to everyone saying they would honor one 3 pack per customer, which I think is a heck of a nice thing to do on their part. They can’t do much about third party sellers that mess up though or they could get taken advantage of. Every site that sells stuff makes mistakes, but its how they deal with them which tells you if the site is great or not.

  29. TasteyCat says:

    1 star reviews. Nice, harm the manufacturer because you’re mad at Amazon.

  30. zegota says:

    I’m really damn tired of all the bad product reviews for meta-reasons. I read the reviews to see if the product is any good, not whether or not your freaking preorder went through. Engaging in that behavior doesn’t hurt Amazon — it hurts the customers.

  31. MrMan09 says:

    This is not a pricing error by Beach Audio or any other retailer offering it right now.

    Amazon was offering the card themselves.
    Amazon dropped the price, updated people who had been waiting with the new lower price, and then pulled the rug out claiming pricing error.

    Cameltizer is good for this, shows the Amazon and Other Retailer prices over a timeline.

  32. rdldr1 says:

    I remember way back when, Amazon had a listing of a 50″ flat screen HDTV for $140 (must have been a partner retailer).
    Of course, mobs of people jumped at the chance to buy this up, including me. It sold out quickly, and my credit card was billed.

    Amazon realized the mistake and canceled all the orders, e-mailing us that it was a pricing error. Of course the angry mob wanted to have a class action lawsuit.

  33. UnicornMaster says:

    Are we sure it was Amazon or was it an amazon reseller? Thats a big difference.