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Online dealer makes a Komplett hash of DRAM offer

Another Kodak? We don't think so

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Our email inbox was inundated today with complaints concerning a bargain basement price for DRAM offered and then withdrawn post- credit card-debited sale on a UK computer dealer site.

Komplett.co.uk, an online computer reseller of computer components, earlier this week offered a 512Mb DRAM module for £13. Owing to "gross human error" this price was offered at £82 less than cost price, the company explained to customers in an email.

Punters flooded into the site, as is the way with too-good-to-be true bargains, to buy the DRAM, leaving the company with a loss of £305K if it had fulfilled all the orders (some lucky punters were shipped with DRAM before the error had been spotted).

"The person responsible has been hung, drawn and well and truly quartered. His parking space has been given over to the lunch lady and pension distributed
among our warehouse staff,"
Komplett says in an email.

"All that remains is to resolve the problem with you, our much valued and trusted customers.

As you can imagine, very many orders were received overnight for this RAM at a potential loss to Komplett of £305 000 if all ordered modules are to be shipped. A figure that could potentially spell the liquidation of the company in its UK form.

We are extremely aware of the recent, well publicised errors by Kodak and Dabs which resulted in both companies shipping all items orde red for the price
offered.

We would love nothing more than to be able to do the same as these companies, but, as previously mentioned, this would be economic suicide. However, we would
like to offer you one of the memory modules at the very discounted price of £49.00. This is still a huge loss to us, but one that can be recouped from the
next 10 years' Christmas bonuses of the particular human implied in the phrase 'human error'.

Your current order for the memory will be deleted to keep things simple.

If you would like to take advantage of this offer please log onto your account and visit sku number 101321 and order 1 module of the memory at the special
price, plus any other item you require. This offer will only be open until 31/03/02. To be fair to all customers involved in this we can only allow one
module to each customer at this price.

We would like to offer our sincerest apologies at this stage and hope this has no detrimental effect to the great relationship we have built up to this point
with yourself.

Best regards
Komplett

A well-crafted letter, we think. Unlike the Kodak fiasco, no punter could have reasonably thought that the DRAM price being offered at Komplett was simply a bargain. At this point we admit to our ignorance of Komplett before this week and we suspect that most bargain hunters hadn't heard of the company before hearing about the cheapo DRAM through the Web's echo chamber. And unlike Kodak, Komplett has little to lose in terms of brand damage, by toughing this out.

Finally, there's another letter sent by Komplett to customer who did get their DRAM at the hooky price.

It ends:

"We do hope that you will come back for additional purchases in the future, and not leave this as your last or one and only purchase with us. By purchasing again on a later stage you will actively help us, the employees of Komplett, to yet again see our Christmas bonus on our pay cheques hopefully before the turn of next century.

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