I was browsing for Java programming books yesterday, and came across this one:
Notice the asking price? $1,421.99 (Australian dollars)
The same book (Introduction to Java Programming: Comprehensive Version by Y. Daniel Liang) at other sites such as Amazon was – depending on the edition and type (hardcover or paperback) and whether new or used – going for anything from around $20 to $240.
I thought that I’d warn the seller (World of Books) that there was a serious anomaly here, so sent them an e-mail advising that there was a major pricing issue with this particular book (and asking whether the pages were made of gold leaf).
Well, they did me the courtesy of answering, but can you imagine my disbelief that they just didn’t get my message. Here is what they replied:
We have an automatic pricing system which adjusts the prices of our items based on several variables, including things like market demand and availability. The postage prices for each country are also fixed by the marketplace themselves, so we’re unable to alter these in any way.
Our listing prices are updated many times each day – sometimes they increase, sometimes they decrease. Please check the marketplace listings to keep up to date with our prices.
Customer Service Assistant
That’s right, blame the computer – “We have an automatic pricing system” – and completely disregard the GIGO principle.
You just can’t get through to some people.