IT firm RepricerExpress in Amazon pricing chaos
Software error put coats, headphones and mattresses on sale for just 1p
A software firm based in Northern Ireland has been left red-faced after sparking a cyber catastrophe when a computer glitch saw people able to buy products like coats online for as little as 1p.
RepricerExpress, which has a base on Londonderry's Strand Road and carries out work for one of the world's biggest online retailers, Amazon, was forced to apologise for the error which saw online sellers complain of potentially losing out on sums estimated at hundreds of thousands of pounds.
Some firms even feared the error could put them out of business. For consumers who were quick off the mark it meant some bagged items like clothing, headphones and even mattresses for one pence each.
Already there have been online calls for "heads to roll" and legal action has been talked about.
RepricerExpress chief executive Brendan Doherty issued a statement last night apologising for the error.
He said: "We experienced a problem with RepricerExpress on Friday evening which caused incorrect pricing to be sent to Amazon. We managed to get the problem resolved so that any new prices going to Amazon were correct within about an hour of the problem being reported. It took a further few hours to get incorrect prices reverted to their original prices where possible.
"Amazon have assured us that seller accounts will not be penalised for this issue. Amazon has also issued a statement which states that the vast majority of orders placed were cancelled.
"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. We have communicated with Amazon to help minimise orders with incorrect prices being shipped and we encourage sellers to contact Amazon for up to date info on this.
"Again I would like to take this opportunity to apologise to our customers for this issue. We will continue to investigate the cause and to put measures in place to prevent it from happening again."
A spokesman for Amazon said: "We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk
"We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders.
"We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly."