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HP Pre 3 punters peeved as expected price cut is a no show

Pre bargains fail to materialise

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HP attempted to sell off the remaining stocks of its Pre 3 WebOS smartphone last week, but eager anticipation that it would do so at a dirt cheap price were not met, much to annoyance of a number of Reg Hardware readers who were told they'll have to cough up the full price.

Having sold its TouchPad tablet for just £89 the previous week, HP was widely expected - admittedly in the main by enthusiastic online bargain hunters - to do the same with the Pre 3.

And, according to readers who contacted HP early last week, company representatives in the UK told them that a "substantial" price cut was on the way.

One reader claims he was advised at the time to pre-order at the full price, £299, so he would be in the queue for a low-cost Pre 3 when they became available. He says HP took full amount of money off his credit card immediately.

During the first half of the week, various phone resellers were also taking Pre 3 pre-orders. Some admitted that no price cut had yet been confirmed, and that was still the case on Wednesday - despite rumours on the net that the price would fall to just £46.

Later, it was alleged the price would only drop to £100-120, but include a bundle of accessories.

On Thursday, many retailers began cancelling pre-orders, some claiming they had now been told that HP was retaining all stock in order to sell the handsets itself.

Come the end of the week, and HP's website was updated to show that the Pre 3 had "sold out" and that "these [WebOS] products are no longer available at HP UK".

The Palm UK website, run by HP but separate from the main site, now says: "No new orders can be taken for this Product SKU at this time. No change expected to that position. We do not now expect any further qty's of this SKU."

HP emailed some pre-orders punters this weekend stating, "there has been no price reduction", but they have a Pre 3 allocated for each of them at full price.

HP emailed some pre-orders punters this weekend stating, "there has been no price reduction", but they have a Pre 3 allocated for each of them at full price. They can cancel the order if they wish.

To be fair to HP, it never said outright that the Pre 3 would be discounted - we only have one punter's word for it that he was told by an HP sales rep last week that a "substantial" price cut was in the pipeline. If you were made such a promise, please let us know.

Most folk after a Pre bargain appear to have merely assumed there would be a sale simply because HP previously sold off the TouchPad cheap. Caveat emptor.

However, HP should have anticipated a rush of bargain seekers. It could have clarified the situation, even for resellers.

One dealer described the experience as "very frustrating... for all of us". ®

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