Reliving 2019’s Big Prime Day Pricing Mistake

Amateur and professional photographers alike rejoiced as Sony cameras and lenses saw discounts up to 99.3%.

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With Prime Day 2020 kicking off October 13th, bargain lovers are buckling down for some of the hottest online deals and discounts Amazon has to offer. While typically, you can expect discounts on gadgets, household supplies, tablets and thousands of other delights, sometimes a deal pops up that actually is too good to be true (or at least, purposeful).

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If a $600 camera goes on sale for less than $100, one might assume there is something seriously wrong going on. However, the $94.48 Sony camera glitch that shocked and delighted Prime Day 2019 shoppers was all too real—but it was only available for less than half an hour in the middle of the night.

Between the hours of midnight and 12:30 a.m. on July 15th, 2019, basically every Sony camera, lense and even some telescopes were priced at $94.48 plus tax. While $100 isn’t chump change, most people would prefer it over these products’ MSRPs, with the typical $12,000 price tag on a Sony SEL400F28GM 400mm Fixed Prime Camera Lens coming in at a whopping $12,000. On top of that, all products even included free one-day shipping!

camera lens

How to Find Out About Price Mistakes

While we can’t say for sure what went wrong on Amazon’s end, mistakes like this do happen, and our community strives to be first on the scene when they do. Make sure to set up a Deal Alert for “price mistakes” if you want to receive emails as soon as new “too good to be true” offers are reported.

Slickdeals was one of the first sources to report the price mistake glitch, so the wider community immediately flocked to this unprecedented Sony deal and bought many, many thousands of dollars in photo equipment for a tiny sliver of the original price. In the original deal thread that started it all, AyoltsPat took a chance on a $13,000 lens, which came with a whopping 99.3% discount.

Unfortunately, many hopeful buyers had their hopes dashed by the expected but nevertheless dreadful cancellation email from Amazon, which claimed that the orders could not be fulfilled due to an incorrect price. Not everyone received a cancellation email, this anomaly kept hope alive during the excruciating wait for the cameras to ship.

Will Another Price Mistake Happen in 2020?

To save yourself the heartbreak, don’t get too excited—as the name implies, price mistakes don’t happen on purpose, and therefore aren’t guaranteed. However, this isn’t the first high-stakes price mistake incident for Amazon and Sony. In 2017, Amazon accidentally listed the preorder price for Sony’s new 16-35mm f/2.8 GM Fixed Zoom Lens at $1,698. The original (and correct) price tag was $2,198, which gave buyers a handy $500 discount. In this particular instance, the incorrect price was listed for eight whole days.

Some buyers reported they received this camera for the discounted price, but it remains unknown if Amazon honored every order. A similar event transpired on the Sony site back in 2015, where the company accidentally listed a $1,898 camera for just $199.99. In this instance, each transaction was allegedly canceled and refunded.

How to Distinguish Between Price Mistakes and Scams

prime day 2020
Credit: Amazon

As long as you aren’t over-drafting your account in search of a once-in-a-lifetime discount, we recommend the “don’t think just buy” approach whenever you’re lucky enough to encounter a price mistake. After all, every second counts if you’re trying to get your order in before the glitch is fixed.

However, if something about the deal seems suspect – maybe you found it on Google and aren’t familair with the seller – you can always check Slickdeals to see if our community has any opinions on the vender’s reputability. If there aren’t any posts about the store (or, worse, downvoted posts only), we recommend you steer clear of the deal.

Assuming the price mistake is real, you should almost certainly go for it. Worst case scenario, the company will send you an order cancellation email and you will receive a refund within the next few days. There’s nothing wrong with experimenting, right?

If you end up getting lucky, the order will be fulfilled for the price you paid, allowing you to kick back and relish in knowing that you may have gotten the all-time lowest price. Keep your eyes sharp and your clicking fingers poised—and may the best Prime Day deal hunter win.

While a 99.3% discount might be a bit of a stretch, you can still score discounts on your favorite Amazon selections when you set up a Deal Alert. Set it and forget it, we will let you know when your product of choice lands in your ideal price range.


Any product or service prices/offers that appear in this article are accurate at time of publish, and are subject to change without notice. Please verify the actual selling price and offer details on the merchant's site before making a purchase.
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Oliver Pretl-Drummond

Oliver Pretl-Drummond is a writer and Scorpio living in Baltimore, Maryland. They are weak for hot deals on niche kitchen appliances and they're forever on the hunt for cheap travel and lodging. When they're not surfing for bargains, you can find them writing about little-known historical narratives and the occult for Ranker. They are always down to talk about Baltimore history, printmaking and bass music.

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