Most of the time when a deal comes along which looks too good to be true, it is exactly that. However for possibly hundreds (probably not 1000′s) of quick-acting Aussie Windows Phone bargain hunters, the last few days at Harvey Norman have delivered them just that! Last week following on from the launch of Windows 8, Harvey Norman released a new catalogue full of Windows 8 hardware and OS promotional advertising. Also featured in this catalogue was the first major retailer pre-order for Windows Phone 8 devices. That’s right, prior to today’s worldwide (and Australian) official launch by Microsoft of Windows Phone 8 with all its unprecedented lock-down secrecy, Harvey Norman promoted open pre-orders for the Lumia 920, 820 and Samsung ATIV WP8 devices. And that’s exactly where things started to go awry….
Now we are not sure what exactly you think, however placing a pre-order without knowing the final, full amount we would be up for is not something we would be rushing to do (OK, for Surface – maybe we could make ONE exception lol). Last week after we saw the catalogue, like many other Aussie Windows Phone users and keen prospective new Lumia owners we headed into a local Harvey Norman and queried them on the pricing and availability – BEFORE – the official WP8 launch which was this morning. With little prompting, the sales person called up the pre-order SKU’s in the system and promptly let us know the prices – and confirmed an ETA of “…around mid November”. The pricing we were advised of at the time was $799 for the Lumia 820….and $699 for the Lumia 920!!!
Yes – you did read that correctly. The Lumia 920, the premium launch Windows Phone device packed full of features and Nokia excellence was being priced $100 less than the next-down new model, the Lumia 820! When we made sure there was no bundled accessories with the 820 raising the price, the sales person confirmed pre-orders could be placed then (from the end of last week) – at these rates. Late Sunday the story began to appear on certain Aussie tech forums (eg Whirlpool) – and through to yesterday it began moving into the Bloggersphere.
We contacted Harvey Norman for comment on whether the error was going to be honoured – as potentially hundreds of Aussies locked into the deal, with the RRP released today at $829 it was a considerable outright saving for launch. As Harvey Norman corrected the error, and began the process of contacting all their customers confirming their mix up, debate raged in tech forums and Blog comments over whether HN would use regular online terms and conditions to correct the pre-order pricing, offer some sort of part/added value to customers for the inconvenience – or indeed honour the pricing error.
As of late today, we can exclusively confirm to HN customers with the Lumia 920 pre-ordered at the lower $699 price Harvey Norman’s official response. Paul Bernhardt, National BM of Technology & Entertainment at Harvey Norman has confirmed to WPDownUnder that they will honour the price of ALL orders placed under the incorrect price – if the customer wishes to continue with the transaction. This is a great example of corporate Australia copping their honest mistake on the chin, and delivering value to their local customers. Regardless of whether Nokia came to the assistance of HN or not, it would have been very easy to fall back on the standard terms and conditions 99% of Australian retailers have to protect themselves from such errors.
Kudos to Paul and the Harvey Norman management team for taking this stance and not taking some of the gloss of the launch of the new Lumia Windows Phone. And to those who picked up the handset for $699 – you got a great deal – and enjoy your new premiere Windows Phone 8 device when it arrives!