Compaq has incurred considerable embarrassment and a limited legal risk after erroneously advertising PCs for sale for just £1 each on its Web site.
Scores of customers snapped up the chance to buy the Compaq Ipaq Legacy Lite - usually £530 - when it appeared on the site at the weekend.
But the bargain-hunters are likely to be disappointed. The firm, which blamed human error for the incident, said, "We believe it is unrealistic to expect Compaq to fulfil the request at the incorrect price. Under the terms and conditions of the UK Webstore (the Compaq site) Compaq is not legally obliged to do so."
But legal specialists say there are, as yet, no test cases to establish whether a contract is concluded after an order has been placed or only after the seller has accepted.