Amazon cyber monday
Amazon advertised products for 1p causing businesses to lose thousands in one day.Reuters

Businesses have lost thousands of pounds and face bankruptcy after a technical error meant hundreds of products were sold for 1p on Amazon.

Members of the public cashed in after a piece of software used by retailers on Amazon malfunctioned, advertising a range of products from clothes and toys to home furnishings and health products, for a fraction of their usual price.

The software by Repricer Express automatically reprices products so they are cheaper than others in the digital market, to ensure businesses remain competitive, however the technical error meant prices plummeted.

The glitch occurred on Friday (12 December) between 7pm and 8pm, during which time shoppers snapped up the giveaways, as news that "Amazon was broken" spread rapidly on social media.

Russell Brudenell wrote on Twitter: "Amazon is all kinds of broken. Mattress 1p. Headphones 1p. Batteries, Clothing, Games all 1p. Someone messed up big time (sic)."

Joely Thompson said: "Amazon are having a glitch on their site and loads of stuff is selling for 1p. I just bought an incense holder, don't even need it.'

One of the sellers, Judith Blackford of Kiddymania, told Sky News she could be forced out of business as result of the error.

"I started using Repricer Express - a repricing tool as did a lot of other businesses a few months ago," she said. "Last night through an error in their programme they listed my stock on Amazon at 1p per item including delivery. I have lost about £20,000 overnight. Having asked Amazon to cancel the orders they are still sending them out and charging me horrendous fees. Surely someone has to be accountable for this. I will be bankrupt at this rate by the end of January."

Another online trader Belle who sells toys and games, said the mistake will see her lose £30,000 and potentially put her out of business.

She told Sky News: "It's disgusting really because this third party software, that is their business, this should not have happened, this is 2014. We have to pay for this software every month, we've been using it for 18 months no problem. At the busiest time - this was predicted to be our busiest weekend of Christmas - turnover is zero."

Amazon glitch
Online business owner Belle told Sky News the technical error could put her out of business.Sky News

A statement on the company's website from Brendan Doherty CEO of RepricerExpress said: "I am truly sorry for the distress this has caused our customers. We have received communication that Amazon will not penalise sellers for this error. We are continuing to work to identify how this problem occurred and to put measures in place to ensure that it does not happen again. Everyone here is devastated and disappointed that you have experienced this problem. We understand that you are angry and upset and we will endeavour to work to make good on this issue."

Amazon said the majority of orders were cancelled immediately and confirmed it would be working with sellers who had seen orders processed.

A spokesman for Amazon said: "We are aware that a number of Marketplace sellers listed incorrect prices for a short period of time as a result of the third party software they use to price their items on Amazon.co.uk.

"We responded quickly and were able to cancel the vast majority of orders placed on these affected items immediately and no costs or fees will be incurred by sellers for these cancelled orders.

"We are now reviewing the small number of orders that were processed and will be reaching out to any affected sellers directly."