HP TouchPad from OnSale

Written by rsolberg on. Posted in All, Reviews, Technology

Well if you’re reading this, my guess is that you were potentially impacted by the fire sale of the HP TouchPads after the insane new price of $99 for the 16GB version was established. While most “Geeks” out there probably already had their tablet of choice in hand already or their eyes on one, the $99 price point made the device very sexy. Simply putting it on your desk as a digital picture frame, or calendar display, or eBook reader at this price would simply be amazing. Below I will recap my overall experience trying to grab one of these hot buys. If you’re looking for one, sorry I’m in the same boat as you!
Obviously something that has so much to give at $99 would be in hot demand. HP sold through their inventory very quickly. Most national and global retailers removed their stock to send back to HP. This left just a few folks whom were selling them through other channels like the re-seller platform through Amazon. On Sunday I came across a tweet alerting folks that the $99 HP TouchPad was available on Amazon. I logged onto Amazon as quickly as I could and ordered 3 of them. Again at the $99 price point, these would offer incredible value and make fantastic gifts. I then decided to pony up the extra coin to have the shipment expedited. After receiving the confirmation emails, etc. from OnSale, the re-seller, I got pretty darn excited. Normally ordering something on Amazon and selecting next day delivery goes off without a hitch. On Monday, I full expected to see a shipment notification from OnSale. Monday came and went and so did Tuesday and still not shipment notification. On Wednesday morning I checked my order status and saw “Shipping Soon.” I figured, this must be good news… I then saw some tweets from people suggesting their order had been cancelled from OnSale since the item was on back order. From the way folks were describing the situation, OnSale apparently oversold their inventory by the thousands. I decided to call Amazon just to make sure everything with my order was OK and they said, “YES” and to call OnSale with questions. I tried, dozens of times throughout the day. I’m guessing thousands of others were as well since all I got was “All circuits are busy, please try your call again later”… Clearly there was a big mess going on. Finally near 5PM I was able to get through to OnSale and they told me that they had no record of my order and that Amazon failed to send it to them. After publicly defending them and Amazon for the mess, I decided I was mad. I called Amazon and they again said, “everything looked fine” and that OnSale probably needed more time to catch up. About fifteen minutes later, I received my cancellation notice.
Clearly there was an inventory management issue somewhere in the supply chain for Amazon.com. While I know Amazon.com is not fully responsible for the re-seller channel, especially in terms of inventory, there wasn’t nearly enough communication. People were checking their front door days after ordering only to find cancellation emails. The communication on this was atrocious. If I were running the show at Amazon.com, I’d send out an email to all those customers whom tried to purchase the device with a recap of what happened, why, and what Amazon.com is doing to make sure it doesn’t happen again. While this fiasco won’t change my shopping habits, sometimes accountability will go a very long ways. If I were running the show, I’d also try to get in touch with HP and work something out. Supposedly HP may have some more inventory available within the week and a large retailer like Amazon may have enough clout to cut a deal on getting devices out to those whom ordered.
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