On Friday an internal HP email was leaked that stated that they would have a bunch of refurbished Touchpads available for sale through their HP Ebay storefront starting at 6pm CST. This email was supposed to go out to HP employees only, with a public announcement following on Monday morning. Well of course this couldn’t be kept a secret and so the email was all over the internet on Friday. I read about it on no less than five different tech sites. So what did I do? I set my alarms for 7pm EST and got my Ebay and PayPal information ready to go.
Now I am no internet dummy, so I realize that I was one of probably many thousands of people that will be clicking that buy it now button on the Touchpads Ebay listing. I knew my chances of actually getting one were slim to none, but I had to try anyways. My wife has been talking about getting a tablet ever since I got mine, and I thought it would be a perfect Christmas gift for her. Well I navigated myself to the HP storefront and saw that they added four new listings of Touchpads at 4pm CST with the full retail price on them. Three of the listings were for the 32GB model and the other one was for the 16GB model. I figured they would just change the prices once 6pm came around.
I was watching my clock tick down to 6pm, and sure enough, as soon as I hit refresh on my page the prices changed on the Touchpads to $99 and $149 US, the same price they were selling for during the first fire sale. For the next hour straight I clicked the buy it now buttons, got an error, hit back, tried again, hit refresh, tried another listing, and at the time of this writing, 80 minutes later, I have nothing to show for it. The 16GB listing was removed after the first 10 minutes, so that just left the three 32GB listings left. Everytime I would hit refresh I would see the sold counter keep ticking upwards, and never have it connect for me. The listings finally stopped counting the sold ones after the 2700 mark on all three. Once the numbers stopped going up, I knew I wasn’t going to get one. Then I saw something that piqued my interest, and ultimately the reason for writing this post.
I remember seeing HP’s feedback rating at 99.8% when I first looked at a Touchpad listing. It is now down to a 97.2% at the time of this writing with something that completely disgusts me. 19 of the 23 people who have left feedback for their Touchpad purchases have left negative feedback. Now if you have never made a purchase on Ebay, your feedback is how people tell if you are a good buyer or seller. I have been a member of Ebay for over 10 years and have bought and sold over 150 different items. I have a perfect 100% feedback rating, and am very proud of that because it takes a lot of effort to keep it there. One of the things I learned long ago about Ebay was that sometimes you will run across outrageous shipping prices. All shipping prices are declared up front, so if you decide to buy an item, you already accept the shipping cost. I just factor the shipping cost into the price of the item, and that helps me decide whether I want to buy it or not. Basically if you don’t want to pay what the seller wants for shipping, don’t click the buy button.
Now we get to the feedback. The majority of the feedback was stating that the shipping price was too high. HP was charging $19 to have your Touchpad shipped. Now this number by itself seems a little high knowing the shape and weight of the Touchpad’s box, but you can’t just use that as the only factor in shipping costs. By my estimates HP sold over 10,000 Touchpads in about an hour. And that hour was two weeks before Christmas. That means HP has 10,000 customers that will be expecting their product before Christmas. I’m pretty sure it is going to take a lot of man hours to get all those Touchpads boxed up and shipped out to the correct addresses, and HP promises that they will be arriving before Christmas. I would have gladly paid the $19 per Touchpad to have it shipped to me had my order gone through. I’m sorry but if you complain about $19 shipping on a $150 price tag for a $600 MSRP product, you just shouldn’t be allowed to buy one. Do people just not realize how great of a deal they were getting? I mean seriously, you complain about that? One user had two separate transactions, one for the 16GB model and one for the 32GB model, complained about both of them, and I couldn’t even buy one! Here’s a few of my favorite feedbacks:
“19 for shipping per each item? that is ridiculous. quit trying to steal money”
“GIVE MY SHIPPING FEE BACK!!! Ridiculous Shipping Charges!!!”
“very high shipping .. must be refunded”
“Took an hour to purchase, and $20 for shipping???”
“Ridiculous high shipping charge. With shipping and taxes not a great deal.”
This last one blows my mind! If you didn’t think it was a great deal, and knew the final price before hitting confirm, then why did you buy it?!?
The other major complaint was about slow checkout time. Someone complained it took them 45 minutes to check out. Again, did you think you were the only one that read that blog post and knew to go to Ebay? No! You and many tens of thousands of other people read the same thing. 10,000 Touchpads were sold, who knows how many other people like me tried for an hour only to not get one. I would have happily spent two hours in checkout waiting for my Touchpad. It just makes me so upset to see a company that is basically giving away some really great equipment get toasted in such a public way.
I have a Touchpad, and absolutely love it. Would I have paid full price for it? No because I don’t have $500 to spend on a tablet right now. Is it worth an hour of your life and $19 shipping to get one for $99? You better believe it is. I find it sad that some people just don’t seem to understand how the world works, and have to drag a large corporation through the mud just because they can. If you aren’t happy with your purchase, I would gladly take it off your hands for the $99 you paid for it, plus the $19 for shipping and handling.[HP on Ebay]