In these final weeks before Christmas, retailers are throwing all sorts of markdowns at us to get us to shop.
Some of the best are Amazon's daily deals that change every few hours.
But as one man learned, grabbing them is not always so easy.
Pricing Error Means No Deal
This is busy season at Amazon.com's distribution centers.
Among Amazon's most popular items: its daily "Lightning Deals," drastic price cuts that may last only a few minutes.
Joseph Terbrueggen had his eye on one item that was in the list to become a lightning deal.
It was an Acer Windows 8 laptop, and the minute it popped up, he pounced.
"It came up, it was a very good price, about 70% off," he said. I ordered it, got my confirmation, and from there I thought I had it."
The laptop -- selling most days at $849 at Amazon -- was slashed to just $200 during the Lightning Deal. Terbrueggen gave his credit card, and received a confirmation.
But his elation was short lived.
"I hear from Amazon about 7 hours later that my order is canceled," he said, "and that I'd have to call customer service to get my money back and work with them."
We contacted Amazon, where a spokeswoman explained the price was an error, but said the site it would reach out to Terbrueggen and help him.
He has since told us he received a $100 gift card: not the laptop deal, but better than nothing, he says.
Deals Can be Tricky
Other customers, meantime, complain about other Lightning Sale errors.
Al Aponte forwarded a wacky price he found: a smartphone holder that was normally $21.25, on sale during a Lightning Deal for $21.24....exactly one penny less.
Amazon's lightning deals, in most cases, can be great buys.
But some tips:
-You need to act immediately, they are often gone in minutes.
-Make sure your receipt shows you got it at the special price. Contact Amazon immediately if your card was charged a different price.
-Save that receipt, you may need it as proof if you are charged a different price.
Its also important to know that you have just a few minutes to make your order once you click on that item.
So you need to decide before it goes live if that's the deal you want.
You may want to load the item into your cart a few minutes before the deal goes live, as that will give you a 30 second edge over other customers, which can make a difference.
That way you are not disappointed, so you don't waste your money.
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