For one hour on Friday evening, a glitch caused the prices of thousands of items sold on Amazon’s U.K. marketplace to fall to one penny. Toys, clothes, home furnishings—you name it.
It wasn’t Amazon’s fault, though. The frenzy was apparently triggered by a bug in the popular third-party software, RepricerExpress, which is used by thousands of sellers to automatically readjust prices in response to market forces like demand and competition. The pricing fiasco occurred from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. before the loophole was shut down.
An Amazon representative told BT.com that the “vast majority” of the orders placed were canceled immediately, and that “no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these canceled orders.”
While the holidays came early for some Amazon customers, the toll was devastating for some e-store owners. One woman who runs a children’s store claimed to have lost £20,000 overnight.
RepricerExpress CEO Brendan Doherty says that the sellers won’t be punished for the glitch. “Amazon have assured us that seller accounts will not be penalized for this issue,” he said. “I understand that this issue comes at the most important time of the year for our customers and I am deeply sorry by the disruption that has been caused.”