HP Racking Up Negative Feedback After TouchPad Sale

The big news in the shopping world last night was HP’s (last?) TouchPad firesale. The 9.7 inch TouchPad tablet was selling at $99 for the 16 GB version, and $149 for the 32 GB version, through HP’s eBay store.

Here at NFS, we reported on the initial leak of the eBay firesale. Then kept up with the actual sale in progress. Now we’ll take a look at the aftermath.

HP-TouchPadAccording to the stats on eBay, it appears that just over 10,000 HP TouchPads were sold last night. Of those, about 2700 were the $99 (16 GB) version.

While HP said in an internal memo that eBay members would be limited to two TouchPads, the TouchPads were broken up into four different auctions. Some buyers are reporting that they were able to purchase more than two by ordering from different auctions.

HP’s eBay store is racking up a large number of negative feedback comments related to last night’s sale. Much of the unhappiness appears to stem from the $19 shipping fee. While the fee was clearly stated in the auction, many buyers seem to have been surprised by it. Many are complaining that the fee was too high. Some are demanding that HP refund the shipping cost. One buyer who left feedback said “need to refund crazy shipping price… $19 per item for a total of $38..robbery”. Another stated “GIVE MY SHIPPING FEE BACK!!! Ridiculous Shipping Charges!!!”

Another item of contention was the purchasing process. Many buyers are complaining that eBay and PayPal were apparently overwhelmed. “Took an hour to purchase, and $20 for shipping???” said one. “crazzy shipping fee, checking out took good 45min to complete,” and “slow checkout, lots of crashes on the webstore.” Some eBay users on different forums are reporting they were unable to purchase the HP TouchPad due to site issues such as timeouts.

There appear to be inconsistencies with the timing of the sell outs as well. For example, some sites are reporting that the 16 GB version was sold out within 10 min., other sites (including NFS) are reporting availability was for about 20 min. While observing the sale, we also noticed that the number of units sold froze long before the item was reported as being sold out.

Last night’s sale came about in a rather strange manner. We only heard about it through the leaked notice to employees that we mentioned earlier. The TouchPads are now sold out for this sale, but HP never even officially announced the sale. Not even a mention in their blog. The public was going to be told about it, according to leak, Monday morning. But now it looks like the only shoppers who had an opportunity to purchase it are ones who learned of the leak through sites like NFS.

A question as yet unanswered… is this the last of the HP TouchPad inventory? HP had previously said that the combo deals offered at various electronic outlets were the ‘final chance’ to get a TouchPad at the firesale prices. But then they had this sale. Was this the real ‘final chance’… or will there be more?

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Faroh Sauder has spent more than 30 years working as a journalist and educator. He has written on politics, international affairs, civil rights, and consumer education. Now mostly retired, Faroh continues to stay current on tech and consumer issues and reports on his interests here at News For Shoppers.