EcommerceBytes-NewsFlash, Number 2693 - December 12, 2011     1 of 6

Shoppers Blame eBay for Last Night's HP TouchPad Meltdown

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Shoppers who flocked to eBay Sunday evening to snag a bargain-basement priced HP TouchPad tablet were disappointed when eBay's checkout failed them. Reports had surfaced on the web last week that Sunday would be consumers' last chance to buy the tablets from Hewlett Packard, which discontinued the line earlier this year - and the $99 price tag was irresistible. But many buyers who placed the TouchPads in their eBay shopping carts reported they were unable to complete payment through PayPal.

One shopper wrote, "I was in on the HP Touchpad frenzy tonight. Got to the checkout 3 times with a 32GB model and all the way to paypal on the last one. I thought once I got to paypal it was all good, but after pressing confirm, I was then told the item is no longer available. Shouldn't it one of them have been reserved for me by the time I got to my paypal account? What kind of shoddy operation is this?"

Another shopper wrote, "That has to be the stupidest, crappiest policy... It is unfair when your browser is completely stuck and won't even let you get to your transaction or when you are in the middle of a transaction to have things get taken right out from under you by people who probably just have better internet connections :/ Ebay sucks for this."

Users also used Twitter to complain - MarriedWriters tweeted, "HP sale a joke! Added tablet to cart at 7pm on the dot. Payment extremely slow then soldout message. @HP FAIL! @eBay FAIL!"

Sunday evenings are historically a popular time for shoppers to visit eBay - a fact that HP's CEO Meg Whitman is aware, since she ran eBay for a decade - sellers often schedule auctions to end on Sunday nights. Adding to the furor of demand was the decision by Whitman to announce on Friday that HP would not abandon the tablet's operating system.

It isn't clear if any other listings were impacted by what some news outlets are reporting as a "server slowdown" as a result of the TouchPad frenzy - sellers count on last-minute bidders for auction-format listings.

eBay has listings for TouchPad tablets, at higher prices, of course. But as Slashgear pointed out, last night's tablets will likely resurface on eBay: "while HP and eBay chose to limit customer orders to two units, that only applied on a per-listing basis. With several listings for each model, those with fast mouse fingers found they could grab a handful of webOS tablets."

About the author:

Ina Steiner is co-founder and Editor of EcommerceBytes and has been reporting on ecommerce since 1999. She's a widely cited authority on marketplace selling and is author of "Turn eBay Data Into Dollars" (McGraw-Hill 2006). Her blog was featured in the book, "Blogging Heroes" (Wiley 2008). Follow her on Twitter at @ecommercebytes and send news tips to

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