First, there is an asymmetry in power too. Amazon can afford to double check or triple check everything if it makes economic sense.
Secondly, companies does not have morals. If you allow big corporations to change prices as they see fit because there is a "mistake". Companies will exploit that to their advantage with psychopathic precision.
You will get your package at home and then you will be informed that the price "was a mistake" and was 10% more expensive. They will print prices in adverts and then say that it was a mistake when people gets to the shop.
Companies are not human beings, as other comments already have said, to involve morality in this issue makes no sense whatsoever.
The real question is: is this an efficient way of improving the consumers well being? If this rules avoid companies of abusing price changes and labeling anything as being a "mistake" and at the same time it encourages better quality on price setting and the "punishment" is not big enough to send all companies to foreclosure. Then it seems a very good deal.
It makes economic sense.
On the other hand, Amazon has an unbelievable amount of power. And I think things would be a lot better if we as a society applied the spider-man rule. With great power. If a small mom and pop makes this sort of mistake, then I'm all for them correcting it and not giving away $13K equipment for $100. Maybe they were doing it maliciously, but because of how small they are the scope of their malice can only affect a small number of people. On the other hand, Amazon has the power of a first world nation state. If they make a mistake, innocently or maliciously, then the scope can affect a lot of people. Yeah, you messed up Amazon. Don't export the cost of failure onto people without the power to fight it. Pay for it yourself with your considerable resources and then resolve the issue with your considerable resources such that you don't make the mistake again.
EDIT: Mom and pop might not have the resources to cover their mistake AND they might not have the resources to reasonably prevent it from happening again. And because of their lack of resources they are also on a level playing field with their customers. So if their customers feel that what was done to them was wrong, then they can reasonably challenge mom and pop in court. On the other hand, if Amazon decides that their customers are going to lose in court, then their customers are going to lose in court.
The only reason I called the police on the guy who robbed me at gunpoint was because I was concerned that he might also steal from someone who couldn't stand to lose their money AND because he was using lethal force to steal money.
I didn't really enjoy the few weeks of stress that I got from being mugged. But I otherwise didn't hold it against him. He was much more polite than a person with a gun has to be. And I could afford gas at $4 a gallon (as it was at the time) where he couldn't (credit cards showed him immediately going an filling up at a gas station).
If a rich guy had mugged me, I think I would have been a bit more upset about the experience.
But I guess the point I was making was that if stealing or taking advantage or someones misfortune is morally wrong in one context, then I don't quite see a principled way out of it, other than layering an assumption-ridden argument about Amazon being bad and therefore deserving of this. As is typical in most corporate environments some engineer/pm/sales dude is probably going to end up being the fall guy. IMHO the only way to "stick it" to Amazon and come out on the moral high-ground is to stop using them. There is a time for civil disobedience, but it is possible for most consumers to avoid shopping with them.
This doesn't change the post hoc moral reasoning, but it night have incurred less impact on you.
This argument is wrong, there is no attempt to associate morality with a company. It is the customer and only the customer holding the arguably conflicting believes that errors in favour of customers should not be corrected while errors in favour of the company should be corrected. So you can argue whether those two believes are actually morally conflicting but you can not dismiss this point based on the irrelevant point that one can not apply moral concepts to companies .
 Which may itself be a matter of dabate, after all one aspect of companies is that they are collections of people working together.
You don't say a herd of cows ought to be a good sport. A crying baby ought to be a good sport. That tree is being mean, casting shade. The anthill ought to return my sugar.
That is why there is no conflict. Because they are not the same morally and thus not expected to be treated the same.
Expecting Amazon to be a good sport only makes sense after you have decided that mistakes should not be handled differently depending on who benefits and that you are therefore not entitled to keep your amazing deal. Then you can start to appeal to being a good sport, or the benefits for the public perception of Amazon, or whatnot to explain why Amazon should honor the deal. But this also brings up question like why would you not be a good sport in case of a mistake in favour of Amazon? Note that I do not want to imply any answers here, I just want to point out which kinds of questions one might have to consider.
Everything else is attempts to extrapolate from that.
Many things that are punished if an animal does to a human, are accepted by the billions if humans do to animals.
Many times an adult has a responsibilty a child does not.
The Amazon example is one of the latter kind.
Besides morality there are legal systems. As you get more and more kinds of things, it is expedient to represent corporations as legal entities, but often they are held to a higher standard than just random people. Since a corporation can employ many people and machines, to prepare every sale, they are held to a higher standard for transactions, taxes, reporting, quality of product delivered, and so on. They also have deeper pockets and can take the hit.
I don't see any reason why it should be ok for people to knowingly rip Amazon off. There are worse things (by far) that someone can do, but there's no real justification for doing it.
To compare a company's actions to those of a mosquito strikes me as quite silly. Amazon is run by people who make conscious choices and who are responsible for their actions.
I see this all the time on HN.
Companies don't "do things". The managers (and ultimately Bezos as the top manager) are the moral actors here. "Amazon" is just shortcut name for all the people that work there, this set is ever changing.
In that case, it's not a moral violation if they screw you over, but it's not a moral violation if you end them for screwing you over either. The mosquito isn't violating morals when it bites me, but I'd still have no problem eliminating them all from my backyard if i could do it in a reasonable manner. Not many people claim it is immoral for me to swat the mosquito.
I just don't see why that kind of nihilism suddenly becomes more plausible than usual when you're buying something from Amazon.
Amazon's "mistake" looks like bait and switch, or any number of other scams. I'm under the impression they usually cancel said orders.
How is this considered abuse at all? The EU even mandates a 14 day return window for online shopping since you don't get to try stuff on or see the item like you would in a physical store.
> How is this considered abuse at all? The EU even mandates a 14 day return window for online shopping since you don't get to try stuff on or see the item like you would in a physical store.
Hmm, I think the product must be unused and unworn for you to return it. I might be misremembering though..
There's an asymmetry because Amazon can "afford" to double check everything? How? They lists millions of items. You're only in the market for a few. They're good at inventory management, but the scale is crazy which is why this mispricing is happening. Besides, I don't see why them "being able to afford" checking has to do with someone exploiting a mispricing, from a moral sense. Are you punishing them for not doing so and creating a financial incentive to be more prudent? Seems like a stretch.
> You will get your package at home and then you will be informed that the price "was a mistake" and was 10% more expensive. They will print prices in adverts and then say that it was a mistake when people gets to the shop.
It's ironic that many people still believe the narrative that corporations are evil and would screw over their customers at any chance while at the same time living through the greatest upheaval of popular consumer brands in history. Amazon wouldn't do that not because of benevolence or legal reasons, but because its not in their interest to upset and screw over repeat customers for 10% and the operational headache of somehow retrieving your item. Also considering that Amazon receives billions from Prime and that would likely drive down subscriptions. Some companies practice deceptive advertising, but these are the companies that are primarily losing favor to new more honest competitors due to the competition.
Well, Amazon shows you the percent discount. I can't imagine that there are too many items over, let's say, $1000 that are at a 90% discount at any given time. Seems easy enough to flag those for manual review, especially if they are being sold by Amazon directly.
I'm also not sure that I agree that more deceptive companies are failing in favor of more honest ones. It seems to me that many modern business models make use of questionable strategies such as dark patterns, regulatory capture, and vendor lock-in.
Perhaps the greater point is not whether a corporation would take advantage in a specific situation. Rather the larger point could be that, due to their size and distributed nature, global corporations are not accountable in the way that individuals or local businesses are.
When you sell on Amazon and for some reason don't want to sell something out of your inventory by changing the price from $10 to $999999, Amazon will put a "possible pricing error" alert next to it in your dashboard.
Not sure if they do it when the price is too low. Either way it's super easy to detect by comparing to the item's price from other sellers.
It's very easy to introduce errors since most products are batch imported with a clunky spreadsheet, or the API.
> It's ironic that many people still believe the narrative that corporations are evil and would screw over their customers at any chance...Amazon wouldn't do that not because of benevolence or legal reasons, but because its not in their interest
That is not a counter-argument for them not being evil -- that's could be more along the line of lawful evil (pragmatically evil). If it is in their interest to screw people over and they don't is more a counter-example of not being evil.
I don't think all corporation are evil. I think corporations should be judged on their behavior towards people. If they carry out evil actions they are evil (or at least part of them is). If they carry out good actions then they are probably not evil (maybe it's just that interests align with being good).
On the extreme lets say that Amazon stock goes to $0, it would reduce the wealth of the world by about $1 trillion in stock valuation. That means that $1 trillion disappears from people's accounts (with ~$100 billion disappearing from Bezos' account). This would be wealth destruction no different from simultaneously reaching into every person's wallet and removing some amount of cash and burning it.
The whole "[corp] is not a person so [immoral act] is okay" is not productive.
Unrealised profits are very much different than physical cash.
Some would say that in the first case it's morally wrong to steal my cash, whereas in the latter case I consented to the risk of my ticket losing when I purchased it; and therefore performing a lottery draw is not an immoral act.
You still own your shares. You were not robbed, your gamble did not pay off.
Also, for this to happen, Amazon would have to be very very very bad at doing its job, which is to sell products for a profit. A company that is that bad at doing its one job has no god-given right to remain liquid.
>The same behavior would happen with a company with better public trust and respect. And it’s not like anyone is selling those cameras to donate money to a warehouse worker in need.
>I just think it’s amazing how frail people’s morality is, how it goes out the window when certain conditions are met.
The parent wasn't talking about companies, they were talking about us people and how morality is shit these days. As to your focus in companies, they derive their morality from the people that run them. What's shit for the goose is shit for the gander.
People taking the high road makes a better world.
This sort of implies morality was better in the past. Do you believe that?
I am not suggesting today's morality is good but it seems like an improvement over the history of humanity to me.
People still return wallets full of money. How are they morally bankrupt?
Amazon is an example of unfettered capitalism, and are seen differently in the eyes of the consumer. Right or wrong, people just don't care about a megacorps well being (and I don't blame them).
Personally I'm in favour of worker coops with a capped pay disparity between the least and most valued workers (like 8x).
I'm not advocating for planned economies or a Chinese or Russian approach (power in the hands of the few).
That's not unfettered capitalism though. That's captured markets via regulation and laws picking winners and protecting incumbents. That's due to corporatism... when corporations, via imaginary person-hood, are given the same rights as humans. What I label as corporatism.
I think people would get more value out of work if they had a stake and a voice, instead of being peons for a super rich board of investors. I suspect we'd make longer term decisions, instead of cutting corners. We elect our leaders (antipathy aside), why can't democracy extend to the workplace? It can and does work already, so let's have more of it. More experiments, more critical thinking about the way things are. Subsidize co-ops the same as incorporations (or just get rid of subsidies entirely) so it's an even playing field.
This was a well executed marketing campaign - they are looking to see how much ROI they will get on such marketing move. By the next prime day there will be millions more people logged in - looking for super deals!!!!
Do you really think they dont have a complex system in place that would flag this huge price discrepancy 100x before the product ships out? I dont think so.
Call it whatever you want, the way big companies like Amazon operate has moral implications and, therefore, Amazon has a moral. The fact that is isn't a single living organism but a sum of many doesn't mean it has no morals whatsoever.
I do understand your line of thinking - how do we create a law that can't be exploited? Because, after all, we expect it to be exploited at some point.
Although in my country the rules are the same (the lowest announced price has to be honored) there was a issue a few years ago that a product was announced at a much lower price. A judge ruled in favor of the seller. I don't really recall the details but I think the ruling was based on the fact that the law was supposed to avoid sellers exploiting buyers, but the announced price was a clear mistake.
Common sense above all, I guess.
Don't seem very likely. When word gets out (and it will) they'll lose customers that are much more valuable than that extra 10% they just got from you.
Is society human being? Is nation a human being?
If not then is it moral to deceive and cheat them too?
It specifically doesn't mean that one non-human entity should be treated the same as all other non-human entities.
For instance an argument could be made that it can be moral to cheat the State, but not Society. It's not an argument I want to discuss now, but the point is, you can use ethics and come to different conclusions about entities that are not human beings ...
I beg to differ...
Corporate personhood is the legal notion that a corporation, separately from its associated human beings (like owners, managers, or employees), has at least some of the legal rights and responsibilities enjoyed by natural persons (physical humans).