The High Stakes of Wrong Pricing in E-Commerce: Examples and Lessons Learned


In the dynamic world of e-commerce and online marketplaces, setting the right price for your products can be a daunting task. Prices not only reflect the value of the products but also influence consumer behavior, brand perception, and ultimately the success of the business. However, things don’t always go as planned, and there have been some notorious examples of erroneous pricing in the e-commerce realm.

In this article, we’ll delve into the world of wrong pricing, its consequences, and how to avoid such mishaps.

The Case of FIFA 23: A Shocking Surprise

In a notorious case, EA Sports encountered an instance of wrong pricing with the pre-order of FIFA 23 on the Epic Games Store. Due to a decimal point error, the game was listed for less than $1 in India, instead of its intended price of $60 for the Ultimate Edition. The error quickly spread online, leading to massive orders from around the globe, a clear illustration of the far-reaching impact of wrong pricing. EA Sports honored the purchases made at this price, recognizing the mistake as their own.

The Zappos Case: A $1.6 Million Mistake

Another classic example of wrong pricing involves, a Zappos sister site, which in 2010 mistakenly capped the maximum price of all their items at $49.95 for a period. Considering that the site offers luxury items costing thousands of dollars, this wrong pricing episode led to losses exceeding $1.6 million. However, Zappos decided to honor all sales made during this period, taking responsibility for their error. The incident highlighted the importance of robust pricing software and accurate systems in e-commerce.

The Best Buy Mishap: Too Good To Be True

Best Buy, a renowned electronics retailer, experienced a pricing error in 2015 that led to a $200 gift card being sold for $15 on their website. The pricing error quickly went viral, and many customers rushed to take advantage of the deal. However, unlike the previous examples, Best Buy chose not to honor the incorrect pricing and canceled all orders made at the erroneous price. This decision was met with significant customer backlash and negative publicity, illustrating the potential reputational damage that can come from such incidents.

Amazon: Wrong Pricing Issues

Even Amazon is not immune to bad pricing on its website. On Amazon Prime Day 2019, there was an incident where the marketplace showed different prices for the same products depending on where the user was looking. When viewing the Fire TV Stick and Fire TV Stick 4K in Amazon’s “Today’s Deals” section, the prices were shown as $14.99 and $24.99, respectively. However, the full price was displayed when a user clicked on the product pages for these products. To make things even more confusing, the sale price was only applied when the item was added to the cart from the Today’s Deals page, but not from the product page​.

And in 2022, a shopper noticed a significant price discrepancy on a Gourmia Pour Over coffee maker. The product was featured on the Amazon homepage as a “Deal of the Day” for $17.99. However, when the shopper clicked on the product, it led to a product page that listed the price as $149.99. Despite the customer’s attempt to contact Amazon’s live chat support and provide a screenshot of the coffee maker with the $17.99 price tag, Amazon did not admit any mistake or honor the lower price. The “Deal of the Day” coffee maker at $17.99 was soon replaced with another item, indicating that Amazon recognized the error but chose not to rectify it for the customer.

Lessons Learned: Avoid Wrong Pricing

While these instances make for interesting stories, they highlight the significant implications of wrong pricing in e-commerce. These include financial losses, damaged brand reputation, and potential legal issues. To avoid such scenarios, brands and retailers should invest in reliable e-commerce systems and pricing software, routinely audit their product listings, and have a contingency plan in place for when errors do occur.

This is where a solution like Netrivals can play a crucial role. Netrivals offers a powerful pricing intelligence tool that helps online retailers and brands to monitor, analyze, and compare their prices with competitors. This tool can help companies avoid wrong pricing online, ensuring that they stay competitive and profitable while minimizing the risk of costly errors.


In the fast-paced world of e-commerce, mistakes can happen. However, these incidents underline the importance of correct pricing. While some companies may choose to honor incorrectly priced orders, others may not, leading to different consequences. Either way, brands and retailers must strive to ensure accurate pricing to maintain customer trust, uphold brand integrity, and secure their bottom line. After all, the price is not just a number; it’s a reflection of your brand’s value in the marketplace.

Get Your Pricing Under Control!

Adrian Gmelch

Adrian Gmelch is a tech and e-commerce enthusiast. He initially worked for an international PR agency in Paris for large tech companies before joining Lengow's international field marketing & content team.

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