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Walmart Cancels Low Price Orders from Website Glitch

9:09 PM, Nov 7, 2013   |    comments
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Buffalo, NY - A website glitch for Walmart caused people nationwide and here at home to order some normally pricey items at amazing discounts like ten dollars for a TV or computer monitor.

One of our viewers, Pamela, contacted us and said "I just got an e-mail stating that my order has been cancelled due to the mix-up. They are sending me a ten dollar store credit for my troubles. My question is... how do they get away with not honoring those prices?"

While there is regulation of on-line retailing with the Federal Trade Commission, there is also the terms of use policy on that Walmart website which is basically a disclaimer.

On Wednesday morning, Walmart.com was offering on its website expensive products like computer monitors and TV's for ten dollars. There were also too hard to believe bargains on treadmills, video games, and some toys. Some folks like Pamela jumped on Walmart.com and scooped up those ridiculously low, low prices with on - line orders. But the giant retailer announced there was a glitch, a pricing malfunction, a technical error. They then said sorry to those who ordered, cancelled those orders,  and sent them refunds instead with a ten dollar e-gift card.

As it turns out in their terms of use policy on the website, they do state under pricing information "Pricing errors may occur on the Walmart sites. Walmart reserves the right to cancel any orders containing pricing errors...and at its discretion can contact customers to cancel orders. It also notes that Walmart site pricing may be different than stores."

But a local marketing expert feels Walmart should honor the incorrect website prices like other retailers have done. It can help with customer good will before the holidays. Marketing Professor Dr. Arun Jain of the UB School of Management says "When they made a mistake they honor it. I think it's good for Walmart to do that. Walmart is not necessarily known as a very friendly store. Frequently communities are against them. I think this will be a good gesture for them to do that. Considering the holiday season and the billions of dollars of profit they have. This would be very small...not even a blink of it."

United Airlines had a similar problem in September when a website glitch offered an even better deal for airline tickets of ten dollars or less. At first United said no deal. Then after a ton  of customer complaints they basically wrote it off as a good will gesture and approved those fares. Last year on - line retailer Zappos made a similar pricing mistake but took the loss and got good publicity. We'll see what happens with Walmart. Maybe if enough people complain before the holiday shopping season, who knows what will happen.  We did not hear back from their corporate public affairs unit.

 

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