Bargain hunters, trawling the web in the small hours this morning, stumbled across a price glitch on the Debenhams website, which left them offering 99% off all Land's End clothing. This meant a coat worth £90 was priced at just 72p.
The site was overwhelmed with orders and crashed at 4.30am. It has since been closed for 'essential maintenance'. So will the orders be honoured?
The dealThe deal was discovered by hotukdeals.com user, sms12. It was immediately snapped up by a number of the site's users. Marlyn_clair said: "I have just bought myself a full new wardrobe for the summer, just spent £40 on nearly 100 items." Trolleylumps said" Just ordered 24 items, would have cost £££ hundreds."
There was a great deal of skepticism as to whether these deals would be honoured. Some users claimed to have tried price glitches in the past from Debenhams and simply had the cash refunded and the order cancelled.
JCLARSSON said: "They will charge now then refund later. I have had confirmation emails from them before then cancellation as they said out of stock. Have ordered couple of items but don't expect to get them."
Cannibalwombat added: "Given it a shot. No way it'll be fulfilled, but in fairness, the last time this happened with Debenhams (Mother's Day flower fiasco) the cash was back in my account within 3 days, which I can live with."
HopeOthers, however, recalled the deal accidentally posted by Debenhams five and a half years ago, where a £250 bed was sold for £2 plus delivery, and orders were honoured. At the time users were astonished: fauji786 said: "Guess what, it just got delivered! Cannot believe it actually came."
There have been instances more recently where accidental deals were honoured. We reported back in October about a price glitch, when ProCook accidentally sold a frying pan worth £18 for £0 plus £4.95 delivery. They decided to honour orders (as long as people hadn't ordered more than one) in a move that cost them £10,000. It told customers: "We recognise that you really wanted to enjoy the opportunity of receiving a free frying pan and so, as a gesture of goodwill, we are going to send you one free of charge in any case."
In another example M&S accidentally sold Panasonic TVs for £199. In this instance they were forced to honour the orders because their terms and conditions didn't make it clear that they had any right to cancel mispriced orders after payment had been accepted.
PessimismHowever, early signs from some users on the deals site were not good. Some items had already been cancelled within a few hours.
This approach is not unusual. Tesco disappointed customers back in March last year by advertising the iPad3 for just £49.99 online. After a flurry of excited purchases, the company cancelled all the orders and issued refunds.
Nowadays most companies have small print on their websites to make it clear that a contact of sale is not complete just because you have made an order and a payment has gone through. Instead they tend to specify that an order is deemed to have been made when the goods are dispatched.
However, as the deals website users noted, these glitches are the result of human error - so there's always the chance that another human error sees your order honoured. In any case, there's no harm in trying.
But what do you think? Would you try to take advantage of a glitch? Or would you feel guilty? Let us know in the comments.