Amazon Sales – The Big Problem

Pictured: Amazon Go checkout-free concept store in Seattle, Washington.

In 1995, John Wainwright, principal software architect of ScriptX and MaxScript (scripting languages for multimedia purposes and Autodesk 3ds Max), made a purchase which signified the beginning of a new era for the retail industry. It was from a small bookselling website by the name of, and looked something like this:

Photo showing the book and packing slip included with Amazon's first order in 1995.
Amazon’s first non-employee order (John Wainwright via Quora)

23 years later, Amazon has become a household name, in more ways than one. The bookstore turned-online shopping monolith has made its way from Washington to dozens of countries, dozens of home porches, and even inside the homes of almost 22 million people through their Echo smart speakers. It is this diversity which has allowed Amazon to continue market dominance. Their logo representing “every product from A to Z” becomes truer by the year, and is set to continue to do so with recent developments like their grocery delivery service, video streaming service, “just walk out” convenience stores and more.

Major staples of the Amazon diet include sales, such as Prime Day, constantly touted as the “biggest” on their advertising. It’s “greater than Black Friday”, and seemingly has more bargains than traditional retail sale days. The mounds of reductions shown on their website back this up, offering up to 75% off a wide range of goods such as those shown below:

Screenshot of Amazon main sale screen for "Early Easter Sale" 2018 showing discounts on many items.
Screenshot of Amazon main sale screen for “Early Easter Sale” 2018

This is all well and good, and consumers will be happy to know they are getting a great deal on their purchases, but are Amazon being entirely truthful when they entice customers with items at up to 75% off?

Case Study: Amazon Early Easter Sale 2018

To investigate these deals, I decided to choose 3 products with varying reductions, and compare them with CamelCamelCamel, a price history checker, to find out whether what you see is what you get when it comes to reductions from RRP.

Product 1: Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Hair Removal Device

Claimed RRP: £575.00 | Sale Price: £299.99 | Claimed Reduction: 48% Off

Amazon price history chart for Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Hair Removal Device
Click to view larger image.

Image of Philips Lumea Prestige IPL Hair Removal Device

As seen from the graph, this item has previously been on sale for £575.00, but only for a less than 2 month period. The average price of this product since March 5th 2017 is £355.60, with the price hovering between £300 and £400 during a 20 day period before the sale.

Concluding that the RRP listed was not anything close to Amazon’s normal price, I took to some UK retailers and some eBay new listings to find out whether they offered this product at £575. My results are outlined below:

Argos: £574.99

John Lewis: £399.99

Very: £349.99

eBay: £349.99-£399.99


Amazon provides a competitive price for this product, but the RRP is deceptive, as only one retailer still offers the product at the high price it was introduced at.

Actual Reduction: 25% off


Product 2: Breville VDF122 Halo+ Duraceramic Health Fryer

Claimed RRP: £219.99 | Sale Price: £69.99 | Claimed Reduction: 68% off

Image of Breville VDF122 Halo+ Duraceramic Health Fryer

Amazon price history chart for Breville VDF122 Halo+ Duraceramic Health Fryer, 1.2 kg
Click to view larger image.








This product has been hovering around the £100 mark for 4 months after a large price drop from around £165 in October 2017. The average price of this product is £125.57, and the highest price Amazon has ever sold this product for is £175.38, despite the £219.99 RRP they state.

My retail RRP check resulted in these prices:

Argos: £149.99

Tesco: £99.00

Very: £154.99

John Lewis: £99.00


Amazon offers this product at a lower price than most retailers, but I wasn’t able to find a single instance of this product close to £219 (the most expensive was £169.99 on The Hut).

Actual Reduction: 44% off


Product 3: Philips Sonicare HX9111/21 FlexCare Platinum Electric Toothbrush

Claimed RRP: £240.00 | Sale Price: £59.99 | Claimed Reduction: 75%


Image of Philips Sonicare HX9111/21 FlexCare Platinum Electric Toothbrush

Amazon price history chart for Philips Sonicare HX9111/21 FlexCare Platinum Electric toothbrush (UK 2-Pin Bathroom Plug)
Click to view larger image.








This is an interesting one. As you can see, the toothbrush has been rapidly changing price over the past few months, even over the past 11 days there have been 5 changes: Price history table for Philips Sonicare HX9111/21 FlexCare Platinum Electric Toothbrush showing last 5 price changes.

That being said, there have been extended periods of an £80 price and occasionally a price tag of £120 in there. Keep in mind, however, that this price history shows prices for almost 3 years that the product has been on sale for. This product has an overall average price of £110.39.

Checking for the retail price of this product leads to these results:

Argos: No longer sold

John Lewis: No longer sold

Very: £240.00

Boots: £240.00


Yes, this is an ex-catalog product, an outdated product and reduced to clear by Amazon. However, it genuinely seems that while the reduction is not true when comparing the price to Amazon’s previous prices, it gives 75% off of the price you would expect to pay on high street retailers.

Actual reduction: 75% off (see above)


Final Conclusion

It is clear through research that Amazon takes advantage of the RRP/List Price on their product listings to enhance the appearance of their price reductions. This is further evident during sales, when Amazon states the RRP as the non-sale price instead of the usual price they sell the item for. However it is important to emphasise that while Amazon does not really provide the reduction they state, they do still offer an attractive price compared to the item’s usual cost.

In future, I would hope that Amazon can become more transparent about pricing, ensuring customers aren’t roped into purchases based on the fact it’s on sale, rather than at a good price to begin with. That probably won’t happen as the company has no reason to do so, and they’re technically not lying about their prices. Regardless, consumers are ranting and raving about their bargains from Black Friday, Prime Day and the many other sales Amazon hold throughout the year.

What can I do?

Take these 3 steps every time you see a bargain price on Amazon to make sure you aren’t caught out:

  • Use CamelCamelCamel to check price history, and see if the reduction is as good as it says it is.
  • Don’t buy products just because they are on sale, make sure you actually need the product and that the item is worth the price you pay.
  • Evaluate whether you would buy the product if the sale price was the normal price (would it still be “too expensive” to you?)

Footnote: All Amazon links in this article are affiliate links.


The Ultimate Fix for Write Protected USB Drives

If you are anything like me, you’ll have a pile of dead USB drives lying in a drawer somewhere, all displaying the “write protected” error. You don’t want to dispose of them, but you don’t exactly have much hope of resurrecting them. I felt the same until tonight, when upon searching for a last resort I figured out the best way to fix these drives. This guide sets out the steps you should take to remove the write protected error from your USB drive.

Method 1: DiskPart

To begin with, open a Command Prompt in Administrator Mode.

  1. Open the Start Menu by pressing the Windows Key on the keyboard.
  2. Type “cmd” (without quotes) into the Search Bar.
  3. Right click on the “Command Prompt” search result.Opening an administrator command prompt through the start menu.
  4. Click “Run as administrator”, you should see a window like this appear.
    Administrator command prompt.
  5. Type “diskpart” (without quotes).
  6. Type “list disk” (without quotes) and find the disk which has the closest number of GB in the “Size” column to the USB you are trying to fix. If you are unsure, unplug the drive and see if it still appears in diskpart. If it disappears when you unplug it then it is the correct disk, note down the disk number (e.g 4).
  7. Type “sel disk” followed by the number of the disk which belongs to the USB drive (e.g “sel disk 4”).
  8. Type “attributes disk clear readonly” to clear the read-only status on your drive.
  9. Type “exit” and close the window, at this point you can attempt to format/use the USB drive, the write protected error should be gone.

Method 2: Reprogramming controller chip

Warning: Only use this method if the DiskPart method does not succeed on your USB drive.

Before you begin this method, you must do the following:

  • Accept that your data is all but gone, and by reprogramming the memory controller you will lose all inaccessible data on the drive.
  • Ensure that no other USB drives are plugged into the system.
  1. First, download the ChipGenius program and unzip the folder to another folder on your desktop if necessary.
  2. Select your USB drive from the top menu, and find the 4 digit VID and PID numbers listed under “USB Device ID”.
  3. Go to and enter the VID and PID numbers at the top of the list, then click “search”. A list of USB drives matching your VID and PID numbers should appear, find the one closest to your exact model of drive (with matching storage capacity if possible).
  4. Find the appropriate utility to fix your drive by looking at the “Utils” column for your drive (shown below). Screenshot of iFlash tool from
  5. Copy the link shown in the utils column and paste it into your browser. NOTE: The pages shown have a high likelihood of being in Russian or Chinese, some Google Translate may be required to figure out which button is the download button, however Google Translate may struggle to translate the entire page and leave you on your own after you click the translated “Download” link.
  6. Run the tool you have downloaded, searching for instructions online if necessary. ensuring only the USB drive you wish to fix is plugged into your system. WARNING: Failure to ensure this could result in irreversible damage to other drives plugged into your system through USB.
  7. Once the tool has finished, remove the USB drive and reboot your computer. Your USB drive should now be functional.

It still doesn’t work!

ChipGenius or the downloaded utility shows an error before I can start it.

First, unzip the folder the utility was contained in by right clicking on it and clicking “Extract all”. The contents will then be extracted into the folder where it was saved (e.g Downloads). Find this folder (it should have a plain folder icon, rather than a zipped folder icon) and run the utility from there.

If this fails to help the problem, right click the .exe file and click “Troubleshoot compatibility”, complete the compatibility wizard and attempt to fix the drive again.

The utility ran successfully, but I still can’t use my USB drive.

As these utilities were designed for old versions of Windows, sometimes the drivers need to be changed or refreshed. To do this, follow these steps:

  1. Plug the USB drive into the computer and ensure other USB drives are unplugged for the best chance of success.
  2. Open a “Run” window by pressing Windows Key + R
  3. Type “devmgmt.msc” into the Run window and press enter.
  4. Click on the arrow beside the “Disk drives” category to expand it if it is not expanded already.
  5. Right click on your USB Drive name in this window (e.g Sandisk….. USB Device)
  6. Click “Update driver” and then in the window that appears click the top “Search automatically for updated driver software” button.
  7. Once this concludes, it may state that the included drivers were already up to date, but this should be sufficient to force the computer to use the new drivers that the utility may provide.
  8. Reboot your computer.

If you come across any other problems, contact me through my contact page, I’ll do my best to assist you with this. If this helped you, feel free to tell me also, your feedback is greatly appreciated.

DIY Gear Page Active

I’ve spent a couple days over the past few weeks researching the best value tools to get into hobby electronics (and DIY Eurorack) for dirt cheap. I’m pleased to say that this page is now up, and available both in the header menu of this site and at the shortlink

Hopefully you find it both informative and helpful, but if you didn’t, feel free to drop me a line at my Contact page, or on EDMP Discord.

P.S. I’m aware that the page has been up for a while now, I was just too dumb to add it to the header menu, oops.