Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Man 'buys' $3billion CD-ROM on Amazon

A man in the U.S. has 'bought' an item on Amazon with a price tag of nearly three billion dollars - just to see what would happen.
Brian Klug spotted the copy of the Discovery Channel's 'Cells' CD-ROM for sale at $2,904,980,000 (£1,800,979,540).
Out of sheer curiosity, convinced the price tag was a mistake, he put in his credit card details to buy it and stepped back to see what would happen next.
First off, Mr. Klug from San Mateo, California, was charged $3.99 for posting and handling.
Mr. Klug has posted on the Reddit website links to the Amazon site and confirmation of his purchase.
One Reddit commentatator posted: 'This is going to end poorly, I can feel it.'
'Might be a good morning to buy Amazon stock,' wrote another, while a third pointed out that had Mr. Klug had Amazon's Visa three per cent rewards card, thus entitling him to roughly $87million in rewards.
Some suggested Mr. Klug pay in Zimbabwean dollars, while one left a note saying: 'Dear Sir: I hereby award you a gold star for your gallant efforts in propping up the US economy.'
'Geez, at least they could pick up the postal charges,' was the sentiment of many, while others voiced hopes that Mr. Klug actually has Win98 - the only operating system the CD-ROM can run on.
Luckily for Mr. Klug, however, Amazon does not charge user's credit cards until after their order has entered the packaging process.
In possible anticipation of such instances the Amazon website does state: 'Despite our best efforts, a small number of the items in our catalogue may be mispriced.
'If an item's correct price is higher than our stated price, we will, at our discretion, either contact you for instructions before shipping or cancel your order and notify you of such cancellation.'
However, the problem for Mr. Klug is that the CD-ROM is not being sold by Amazon, but by a third party named suburbanbooks. And Amazon's policy on third parties is: 'This policy applies only to products sold and shipped by Amazon.com.
'Your purchases from third-party sellers are charged at the time you place your order, and third-party sellers may follow different policies in the event of a mispriced item.'
Fortunately, suburbanbooks has received a 99 per cent positive feedback rating from 4,302 users - presumably having never charged any of them billions of dollars for computer software.
Another Amazon seller appears to be trying to take advantage of the mispricing by offering their version of the same CD-ROM for a mere $250,000.
It is not clear if anyone has taken the second seller up on their offer though 16 customers have tagged the items as 'a little pricey'.
The CD-ROM is due to be shipped by January 4 or 5, arriving at Mr. Klug's house any time between January 8 and January 26.
It was described as 'new in shrink wrap' (presumably there would have been a discount had it been used), and is being shipped from Berkeley, California.
Whether it will actually turn up remains to be seen.

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