Earlier this month, Walmart announced that it was going to start price matching online retailers like Amazon at all its US locations. Previously, Walmart had been price-matching some online prices in about half of its stores.
It was only a matter of time before someone tried to game the system, and it appears that time has come and gone.
Anyone with an Amazon account can put items up for sale on the site’s third-party vendor wing, and it’s pretty hard to determine with a quick glance who’s selling the item – official vendors or just some random dude. Armed with this knowledge, scammers decided to post fake PlayStation 4 listings – some as low as $50 to $90 – and use those to force Walmart to price match.
“@VideoGamerPosts: "Amazon PS4 is $90" #gaming #gamers http://t.co/Q53jaOc8s2 pic.twitter.com/3nBHoVGMW5”is it too late to price match:/?
— franky (@6les9) November 19, 2014
And the scam was apparently successful:
People used Walmart's Price Match with Amazon to Buy PS4s for $90 http://t.co/54F7dMmP52 #theft #crime pic.twitter.com/y0HFYtVoAQ
— Liberty Radar (@LibertyRadar) November 20, 2014
The fun probably won’t last very long…
Wal-Mart was tricked into selling $400 PlayStation 4 consoles for $90: http://t.co/sQmx9iMJOK via @RisingGoesHam pic.twitter.com/EpGYMC4yBd
— Only In Boston (@OnlyInBOS) November 20, 2014
A Walmart spokesman provided this statement to Kotaku:
We launched online price matching because it’s the right thing for our customers. It’s making a meaningful difference for people who want to feel confident they’re getting the best price, and we’re committed tomatching online prices going forward.
At the same time, we can’t tolerate fraud or attempts to trick our cashiers. This kind of activity is unfair to the millions of customers who count on us every day for honest value. With this in mind, we’ve updated our policy to clarify that we will match prices from Walmart.com and 30 major online retailers, but we won’t honor prices from marketplace vendors, third-party sellers, auction sites or sites requiring memberships.
At least the scammers didn’t totally ruin price matching for everybody. Walmart’s updated policy just means that the company will instruct its employees to only match prices on products sold by Amazon, not ones merely on Amazon.
Image via Wikimedia Commons