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HTC Flyer Tablet Briefly Listed At $99.00

By - Source: Ars Technica | B 25 comments

It's never pretty to see a treasured friend flounder aimlessly in a desperate attempt to feel young and relevant years after that part of their life has passed them by. Maybe they have a ridiculous comb over. Maybe they dress like a 15 year old girl even though they're pushing 50. Or maybe they flirt with a jaw-dropping price hike for a signature tablet computer.

This morning, the HTC Flyer tablet was briefly listed for sale at the staggering low price of $99.00. To put that in perspective, when the device launched back in May, the basic version cost $500.00, plus an additional $80 for customers who wanted an optional stylus. That might sound competitive with iPad, but despite 16GB memory, the smallish 7-inch screen kind of made that price look like a slap to the faces of recession-scarred consumers, and they responded accordingly.

At the original full price the Flyer didn't sell very well, which is why it was announced last week that the price would be slashed to a more reasonable $299.00. That sounded like a good idea, until Amazon's Kindle Fire, with its viciously undercutting $199.00 price tag, was announced. Now Kindle Fire is enjoying record pre-orders and the Flyer is stuck trying to suck in its gut and brush over that unsightly bald spot.

While it might make sense for HTC to further lower the Flyer price tag in light of Kindle Fire's success, a drop like this looks financially suicidal, and indeed, Best Buy is now claiming that the $99.00 price was error. Currently the Flyer is once again listed at $299.00 and Best Buy has stated that orders made during the brief $99.00 window will not be honored. People who made those purchases will either need to pony up the full amount, or get a refund. Even so, one has to wonder if this 'error' was more a matter of timing than price. HTC might be willing to take a financial loss if it saves their tablet. I'm betting even if the $99.00 mistake was actually that, we'll see another Flyer reduction before the holiday shopping season begins in earnest.

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Top Comments
  • 21 Hide
    Jerky_san , October 7, 2011 1:13 AM
    I'm a firm believer these "mistakes" should start being honored. If you made an order you ordered and that is it. If you buy a product at walmart for a marked down price and it was a "price mistake" you don't seem walmart knocking on your door saying "we need the rest of the money or the product back in unused condition"
Other Comments
  • 21 Hide
    Jerky_san , October 7, 2011 1:13 AM
    I'm a firm believer these "mistakes" should start being honored. If you made an order you ordered and that is it. If you buy a product at walmart for a marked down price and it was a "price mistake" you don't seem walmart knocking on your door saying "we need the rest of the money or the product back in unused condition"
  • 5 Hide
    lunyone , October 7, 2011 1:26 AM
    TOTALLY AGREE Jerky_san!!! If the price is listed wrong, than you have to honor the price in the shopping cart. If it's the wrong price than fix it and honor your screw-up!!!
  • Display all 25 comments.
  • 3 Hide
    burnley14 , October 7, 2011 1:29 AM
    Jerky_sanI'm a firm believer these "mistakes" should start being honored. If you made an order you ordered and that is it. If you buy a product at walmart for a marked down price and it was a "price mistake" you don't seem walmart knocking on your door saying "we need the rest of the money or the product back in unused condition"

    I couldn't agree more. When companies make mistakes they should pay the consequences. Savvy consumers should be rewarded for their attentiveness to deals and companies should be obligated to honor the prices they set.
  • -7 Hide
    Azn Cracker , October 7, 2011 1:30 AM
    What why should they honor it? If you are missing a digit on the price and you are selling a house, are you still obligated to sell the house at that price?? It is the companies choice not honor it and anger the customers. Either way they lose money.
  • 3 Hide
    Jerky_san , October 7, 2011 1:56 AM
    Azn CrackerWhat why should they honor it? If you are missing a digit on the price and you are selling a house, are you still obligated to sell the house at that price?? It is the companies choice not honor it and anger the customers. Either way they lose money.
    Your comparing apples to oranges.. Apples "this little BB fiasco" to a person selling a house "a binding contract must be accepted before the sell can continue and this binding contract must satisfy both parties"
  • -3 Hide
    Jerky_san , October 7, 2011 1:56 AM
    Azn CrackerWhat why should they honor it? If you are missing a digit on the price and you are selling a house, are you still obligated to sell the house at that price?? It is the companies choice not honor it and anger the customers. Either way they lose money.

    Your comparing apples to oranges.. Apples "this little BB fiasco" to a person selling a house "a binding contract must be accepted before the sell can continue and this binding contract must satisfy both parties"
  • 5 Hide
    kinggraves , October 7, 2011 2:01 AM
    Azn CrackerWhat why should they honor it? If you are missing a digit on the price and you are selling a house, are you still obligated to sell the house at that price?? It is the companies choice not honor it and anger the customers. Either way they lose money.


    If I was selling a house and at every step during the process I forgot to list that extra zero on the price, then yes I am obligated to sell it at that price. That's why people check the paperwork. I can't forget to put a zero on my taxes and get a larger refund. It's their choice to not honor it, and I'm not surprised at all they won't considering how BB does business these days. It does make them look bad however that they can't pay up for their mistake. You said it yourself, they lose money either way, any consumer oriented business would accept the loss and fire the guy who messed up the site so the customer would be happy. The real question is why the consumer would pay for their mistake, not why Best Buy would.
  • 0 Hide
    otacon72 , October 7, 2011 2:04 AM
    The only way any place has to honor it is if it's part of a promotion to bring in business. If it's simply a mistake they don't have to honor it.
  • 1 Hide
    klavis , October 7, 2011 2:06 AM
    Azn CrackerWhat why should they honor it? If you are missing a digit on the price and you are selling a house, are you still obligated to sell the house at that price?? It is the companies choice not honor it and anger the customers. Either way they lose money.


    Actually yes, if you put this in the perspective of buying the house you are obliged to sell it at that price. The company in question took the money, the sale was complete. If I pay for the house and sign the papers they have to give me the key, they can't do a take back because they messed up. These companies should be honoring this and not saying, never mind here is your money. I'm not even sure they can deny you the purchase if you have already given them their money. Someone with spare income should talk to a lawyer about this.
  • 0 Hide
    the associate , October 7, 2011 2:08 AM
    Azn CrackerWhat why should they honor it? If you are missing a digit on the price and you are selling a house, are you still obligated to sell the house at that price?? It is the companies choice not honor it and anger the customers. Either way they lose money.


    Depends, in some places they have to honor it by law. But I only know that for sure in an actual store and under certain conditions, as for online, I couldn't say for sure since I never read the "Purchase Terms & Conditions" and "Online Policies" of best buy and similar relevant legal info from whichever state/province it was purchased from.

    Source:
    http://www.opc.gouv.qc.ca/webforms/SujetsConsommation/BiensPersonnels/ArticlesSports/IndicationExactitudePrix_en.aspx

    Specifically under "When the policy doesn't apply"
  • 1 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2011 2:37 AM
    I many jurasdictions, it can be successfully argued that a company does not have to honor pricing mistakes that no prudent person familiar with the product would consider to be reasonable. For example, if you see a car dealer where the letter fell off of a sign, and a 29,995.00 car read as 9.995.00, the dealer does not have to honor that price, as no normal person would reasonably expect a new car with a sticker of 29 thousand dollars to be selling for 9 thousand dollars.

    What should be considered in this case is whether this would fall under any of those rules. To me, 99.00 is an almost reasonable price for a doorbuster type of sale.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2011 2:43 AM
    Hey Larry don't forget to mark down those flyers to 99 in Nov for black Friday.Got it boss will do!!! Juggle boss I screwed up and input the 99 price last night instead of next month like you told me to please don't fire me!!!!
  • 1 Hide
    pliskin1 , October 7, 2011 4:07 AM
    I tried getting me one of them, placed an order early am at $99. Got cancelled in the afternoon. Apparently some stores had price card printouts for $99. Was probably meant to be a black friday deal.
  • 4 Hide
    hiryu , October 7, 2011 4:10 AM
    camcclellanI many jurasdictions, it can be successfully argued that a company does not have to honor pricing mistakes that no prudent person familiar with the product would consider to be reasonable.


    Not long ago HP touchpad was sold for $99.00, so in this case, it is definitely reasonable.
  • -3 Hide
    drfan , October 7, 2011 4:20 AM
    I got my Best Buy order cancelled once due to pricing mistake and I think it's fair. How do you think if you yourself own a car dealer and go bankrupcy just because of a computer error show the price of every car is $1.

    Think before you speak.
  • 2 Hide
    nottheking , October 7, 2011 4:35 AM
    camcclellanTo me, 99.00 is an almost reasonable price for a doorbuster type of sale.

    Hiryu actually beat me to it; we must recall that this is precisely the sticker price HP actually put on their TouchPad tablets. Since this is a tablet that belongs to the "not an iPad" crowd, $99 could be seen as a perfectly expectable price: after all, consumers have seen that price before.
  • 2 Hide
    eddieroolz , October 7, 2011 5:43 AM
    Frankly I find it unethical that mistakes are no honored. If a customer mistakenly purchases a product then he/she has to go through a lot of hassles to return it, if that's even possible at all. Yet when companies make mistakes it's okay for them to just toss orders out?

    Unbelievable.
  • 0 Hide
    doive1231 , October 7, 2011 6:59 AM
    There's a famous abbreviation that most websites & stores display and that is E&OE. Errors and omissions excepted, because we all make mistakes.
  • 0 Hide
    Anonymous , October 7, 2011 8:52 AM
    They should honor it for the simple fact that if it were a physical store that had made a mistake they would honored the mistake until the price was fixed in their computer system. Or they would have a memo posted for customer review, acknowledging that a mistake had been made in an newspaper ad, etc, but their computer systems would reflect the true price. So why is it that their WEB stores can have different rules. I have had several on-line stores like ATT and Amazon that would not honor mistakes even though the sales transaction (contract) had been completed.
  • 1 Hide
    HappyBB , October 7, 2011 8:58 AM
    $500 for HTC's Flyer!? That is outrageous! That device is never worth that amount of money. What was HTC thinking? The device is far inferior than iPad and HTC dared to sell it at that price initially? That's a rip-off.
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