The HP TouchPad tablet $99 fire sale has become bittersweet for the company -- though consumers may have seen the last one Sunday night in sale for refurbished models that was robust, but left many consumers frustrated.


HP killed the product earlier in the year after the company projected it as a competitor to the Apple iPad, easily the world's most popular tablet. But after sales floundered, HP discontinued the TouchPad, ditching product through a wildly-popular $99 fire sale. Demand was so high that many who wanted them couldn't get them, however.

The TouchPad quickly sold out of inventory. At the holidays, many consumers are shopping for tablets and HP brought back the TouchPad for one day only with its $99 eBay sale on Sunday of refurbished models. The sale was to last for only one day, reportedly, or until supply was exhausted.

That didn't take long, apparently. Neither did it take long for customers to get upset. Consumers had server issues, with some saying the site crashed, while others were upset that shipping costs -- $19 -- were so high for the $99 product. Others were simply mad they didn't get one before supplies were exhausted.

Yeah I'm right there with all of you, this process was horsesh** and I will make it a point that my next computer/laptop/tablet will not be an HP, wrote a customer named No more HP for me...Ever on the IBT message board. I clicked buy it now AND add to cart. ebay's server was lagging then crashed, and then they stole what I had out of my cart.

I promise you HP, I have always purchased your computers...I will no longer do lost a customer for life on this free PR stunt you just pulled.

Others complained similarly that they got the discounted HP TouchPads in their shopping cart at eBay only to find that when they reached checkout they were gone.

That was fun, 2 in the cart, then not available. i dislike HP even more today, a lot of us work in IT, going to loose lots of sales in the future because of this fopah. Good luck HP, your going to need it, wrote Boglled.

The complaints didn't end there. Some were upset that eBay, which handled the sale for HP through the company's store at the Web site, had TouchPad models popping up at higher prices minutes after the $99 refurbished TouchPad tablet sale began.

There are a ton of HP touchpads that just got posted to ebay right after the sale...I bet you can't guess where they all came form. Thanks to all the jerks that bought them just to turn around and sell them to make a quick buck, wrote one customer on a message board.

The anticipated last chance to get an HP TouchPad tablet for $99 arrived Sunday night at 7 p.m. Eastern Time at HP's eBay store.

Minutes before the sale for $99 refurbished models, which had been leaked late this week on the Internet, HP was selling refurbished TouchPad tablets for prices beginning at $499.99. For instance, the HP TouchPad 16GB Wi-Fi model was $499.99 at 6:59 p.m. ET, but at 7 p.m. on Sunday, Dec. 11, as widely believed, the price went to $99 and the sales began racking up.

Other models with more memory, like the 32GB models, were selling for $149.

Standard shipping is $19.00, and no returns or exhanges were allowed, though the sale was covered by eBay Buyer Protection.

Earlier in the week, TechCrunch had reported the brief availability and return of HP's popular $99 fire sale. HP employees apparently got first dibs before the sale began. HP notes on its eBay store a limited quantity is available.

Within 15 minutes of launching the sale, eBay noted on the $99 16GB Wi-Fi model that 485 units had already been sold. Hours later, they were all gone, but many that tried to get them were left only with frustrations.

I got in at the beginning...11 units sold, only 1 for the fire sale price. An hour and a half later, error, error, error, error, crash, crash, crash, 'item not available', 'another user is purchasing this', etc...3 or 4 times, I actually got TO PayPal, another time, I got EVERYTHING completed in PayPal, and on my last click, it errored out, wrote Mikey1969. In the hour I tried to buy, that 11 or so units sold for each of the 3 sales went from 11 or so to almost 2,800 each, yet ebay can't handle the server load enough to let me finalize MY purchase all 5 times? What a joke.