Just three weeks after Amazon's MP3 store arrived in the UK, an e-mail marketing campaign promoting the site went wrong, allowing users to repeatedly download free music. The promotion was supposed to give only 3 ($4) off MP3 downloads over Christmas Day and Boxing Day when customers used the gift certificate code "FREEMP3S". The code should only have been redeemable once per customers, but Amazon (NSDQ: AMZN) staff noticed web forum users reporting they gained "unlimited free downloads" due to a system error; some customers had used the code over a hundred times.
Amazon hastily changed the promotion to eliminate the code aspect and require customers pay for the downloads, with the 3 ($4) refunded two weeks later. Two customers who didn't notice the change complained to the Advertising Standards Authority, which this week rejected their submission, ruling Amazon "had taken reasonable steps", even though it chose not to send out an email with the new rules.
By Robert Andrews