Kodak's camera sale blunder costs it £1m

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The Independent Online

An error on Kodak's UK website has cost it roughly £1m, after it priced a digital camera normally costing £330 at £100 – and was taken up on it by more than 5,000 people.

Yesterday the company finally agreed to sell the cameras to the people who had rushed to the website on 5 January before Kodak discovered the oversight. It had been arguing that there was no "contract of sale" but was critically undermined by an automated e-mail which it had sent out when the orders were placed, confirming the model and the price that the person had asked to buy it at.

That e-mail, which would-be buyers were told to keep as a form of warranty advice, essentially formed the seller's side of the contract, and so locked Kodak into selling the cameras at the price advertised.

Michael Archer, a lawyer with Beale & Company, who led the legal fight against Kodak, said: "This is very pleasing and very sensible." Alan Stevens, of the Consumers' Association, said: "We're pleased to see that they have finally honoured their obligation – although not without a great deal of arm-twisting [from legal and media pressure]."