Over the past few days customers have been rushing to buy HP TouchPad tablets with prices as low as $99. The tablet wasn’t a particularly good seller when it launched in July for $499, but at under a hundred bucks, the deal seems to be too good for many people to pass up.
Unfortunately retailers have had a hard time keeping the tablet in stock, and it’s sold out nearly everywhere. HP says more units will be in stock soon, but it’s not clear how many TouchPads are left and how long they’ll be available.
Meanwhile, some customers that thought they had picked up TouchPads for bargain prices are finding out their orders have been canceled. Apparently both OnSale and Barnes & Noble took orders for more tablets than they had in stock. In fact, Barnes & Noble customers with canceled orders have already started a petition which has more than 250 signatures so far.
While many are complaining that retailers should have had inventory systems in place that stopped taking orders as soon as the item was sold out, I’m not completely shocked to see this happen. My guess is that any inventory systems these stores do have normally just fulfills orders on a first come, first served basis… and if the store runs out of stock the seller just orders more. Unfortunately that won’t work this time since HP has discontinued the TouchPad and there won’t be any more units available.
Update: Barnes & Noble is sending out $20 eGift cards to users who had their orders canceled.