We've purchase from Amazon, but we don't think we've seen this one before. Amazon has been awarded a patent for a method of detecting inconsistenties among a customer's purchases. It can be an interesting way to maintain customer satisfaction, if it can keep them from buying the wrong thing.
For instance, in the example illustrated above, someone is buying a copy of Star Wars Episode III, and Amazon warns them they they have chosen the fullscreen version, noting that in the past they have always purchased widescreen versions of their movies. The prompt also allows them to proceed or choose the widescreen version if they intended to do so. (Obviously, it wont warn the customer that they are buying a terrible movie.)
Maybe one of our more savvy Amazon shoppers can fill us in on whether or not the website already does something like this.
The Abstract is below, it describes the function in patent-speak:
A computer system and method for detecting conditions resulting in an inconsistency and/or an increased likelihood of a return is presented. The computer system comprises an evaluation component and a notification component. The evaluation component is configured to evaluate an item selected for purchase by a consumer to determine whether the consumer's purchase of the selected item represents an inconsistency and/or an increased likelihood of user dissatisfaction. The notification component is configured to notify the consumer if and when the consumer's selection of an item represents an inconsistency and/or an increased likelihood of user dissatisfaction.