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RealTime IT News

Shipping Glitch at Amazon.com

It's been one of those weeks for Amazon.com, which took a little heat after altering some of the wording on its privacy policy, and now finds itself trying to appease some upset customers who apparently were charged for shipping that was supposed to be free.

The Seattle-based retail giant said in an e-mail to the affected customers that there was an error and the shipping charges will be refunded.

The glitch occurred from last Friday to last Tuesday on a subset of orders that had certain promotional considerations, such as gift certficates or SuperSaver eligibility, said Amazon spokeswoman Patty Smith.

Amazon began notifying customers on Wednesday, Smith said, telling them that the charges will be refunded.

"We'll send customers an additional e-mail once the credit is processed," she said, adding that the number of people affected was in the thousands.

One analyst said that Amazon appears to have recovered with aplomb.

"Mistakes are inevitable in retail whether it is online or off-line," said Rob Leathern, an e-commerce analyst at Jupiter Research. "By its nature online retailers will be more quickly called to account and must therefore respond quickly and gracefully."

The retail site last August lowered the price for orders to qualify for free shipping, from $49 to $25.