Amazon re-pricing glitch means coal in the stocking for some online sellers

Charlotte Bankruptcy Lawyer Bryan W. Stone of Arnold & Smith, PLLC answers the question “Are my 401k and IRA protected in bankruptcy?”


The holidays should be a time of cheer for retailers, including those selling their wares online. For a group of sellers who offer their products on a pre-Christmas cyber nightmare could be pushing them into bankruptcy in the New Year.

Amazon Box Charlotte Debt Lawyer North Carolina Chapter 7 AttorneyThe nightmare’s name was glitch—a close cousin of the Grinch—and the glitch affected re-pricing software that Amazon sellers use to produce the cheapest prices on the market.

As “eagle-eyed” buyers began tweeting around 7:00 p.m. on Friday, the re-pricing software—developed by a company called RepricerExpress—began going haywire, reducing prices on items across some platforms to just a penny each.

One tweeter observed that “Amazon is all kinds of broken… Mattress 1p. Headphones 1p. Batteries, clothing, games all 1p. Someone messed up big time.”

Martin Le Corre, whose company MB Housewares sells toys and games on Amazon, said buyers managed to snap up 1,600 orders before he took his store offline. Nearly $50,000 in orders had already been “marked as dispatched” by Amazon by the time Le Corre took his store offline. That means, The Guardian reports, that those orders “could not be cancelled and shoppers would be able to keep the goods.”

Amazon is trying to cancel the orders, but sellers are complaining that the cancellations are hurting their seller ratings on the site. The seller ratings are established by buyers who rate the sellers, sometimes negatively, with cancellations being among the chief reasons for negative ratings.

Sellers have more than negative ratings to complain about. Steven Palmer, who sells televisions and phones online, said one of his customers ordered 59 mobile phones for a penny each. The phones were worth nearly $2,500. Palmer said the orders were marked as dispatched by Amazon twenty-four hours after the orders were placed, despite his calls to the site to cancel them.

Amazon chief executive Brendan Doherty acknowledged the problem with RepricerExpress and said Amazon was working to resolve the issue and “to work to restore” sellers’ confidence in Amazon’s product and service.

Sellers are worried that if they are forced to honor the sales, they could be driven into bankruptcy, with losses ranging from the tens to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Both the Guardian and Biz-Tech report that once “automatically dispatched” orders are placed, they cannot be cancelled. Forcing sellers to honor penny prices on expensive items as a result of a glitch in re-pricing software may result in a windfall to the buyers who spotted the penny prices and may have known the prices were not intended.

Biz-Tech has called the buyers “sand-baggers,” suggesting some of the buyers acted in bad faith. The buyers, Biz-Tech reports, have “taken to the social networking sites to share their bargains, with many having ordered hundreds of mis-priced items for resale on auction sites.”

If you find yourself needing the services of a Charlotte, North Carolina bankruptcy attorney, please call the skilled lawyers at Arnold & Smith, PLLC find additional resources here. As professionals who are experienced at handling all kinds of bankruptcy matters, our attorneys will provide you with the best advice for your particular situation.



About the Author

Bryan 1Bryan Stone is a Partner with Arnold & Smith, PLLC, where he focuses his practice on all aspects of bankruptcy, including: Chapter 7, Chapter 11, Chapter 13, home loan modifications and landlord-tenant issues.

A native of Macon, Georgia, Mr. Stone attended the University of Georgia, where he earned a BBA in Banking and Finance, and Wake Forest University School of Law, where he obtained his law degree.

Following law school, Mr. Stone relocated to Charlotte, where he currently serves as Chair of “Bravo!” – a young professionals organization associated with Opera Carolina – and founded the University of Georgia Alumni Association of Charlotte.

In his spare time, Mr. Stone enjoys perfecting his barbeque skills for the annual “Q-City BBQ Championship” and playing softball in the Mecklenburg County Bar softball league.






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