Computer manufacturer Lenovo got in hot water with customers this week after falsely advertising a sale of its merchandise. If there’s one thing you should never mess with as a business, take it from Lenovo — it’s discounts.
Last weekend, an ad for a “door crasher” deal went up on the technology company’s website. Some of the offered deals were incredible discounts, with as much as 80% off several of their laptops. The Y510p model, for example, had its regular price of $879 slashed to $279.
Customers quickly started placing their orders, only to receive a message that the sale had been a mistake on the company’s part, and that the discount was not available. Several customers, however, only received this message after a charge had been added to their cards.
“Dear valued customer … Due to a pricing error on our website, we will have to cancel your order,” reads part of an email Lenovo sent out to its would-be customers. “We sincerely apologize for the inconvenience this has caused.” Many angry customers now feel as if they had been drawn into a bait-and-switch by the company, which falsely advertised low prices in order to draw them to the website.
According to Lenovo spokeswoman, Milanka Muecke, “This is not a bait and switch.” She says that the mistake was not intentional. “We truly apologize. We deeply regret what happened. It’s an inconvenience and it has caused a lot of unhappy customers.” The company issued a later statement saying that the “doorbuster” coupon had accidentally been combined with another discounted price.
Unhappy customers are the tip of the iceberg right now. Many users took to Twitter with a #LenovoSucks hashtag, and a petition on Change.org demanding that the company honor the original pricing has over 4,000 signatures. Consumers are angry both with what happened, as well as the company’s delayed response in addressing the issue. Some customers have yet to receive credit back on their cards.
“I have designed and managed many e-commerce sites and I understand that these kinds of things can happen — a slip of the finger without notice equals something written wrong in an email or on a price list,” says Tim McDonald, Head of Marketing at RankXpress. “Human error happens, but when it does it is on the business to make up for the mistake, and sometimes that means taking a hit to your profits to avoid any negative PR.”
To try and appease the angry masses, Lenovo is offering any customers who experienced cancelled orders $100 off a new Lenovo laptop.