Apparently inspired by an online Sears price glitch that had Nintendo products extremely underpriced at $60, which was then price-matched by other retailers, some unscrupulous shoppers created fake Amazon marketplace pages that showed $400 PlayStation 4 consoles selling for $50 to $100.
Several unsuspecting Wal-Mart workers accepted the advertised number at face value, a fraction of its best retail price, and matched it per the retailer's new policy. Wal-Mart Stores Inc. last week announced it is now matching prices with online retailers, including Amazon, in all stores.
- The scam was first widely revealed by gaming news site Kotaku, although some gamers bragged about it on Twitter.
Retailers are certainly primed to beat competitors' prices to rack up sales, but not this way. The cat’s out of the bag now — woe to the retailer who blindly price-matches any old online price that a customer pulls up on his or her phone.
This was a crafty one, though, taking advantage of how easy it is to set up an Amazon marketplace seller account, thereby borrowing all the legitimacy of Amazon’s website for the purposes of a ripoff. There are no longer any $400 PlayStation 4 consoles available on the Amazon marketplace for less than $340.00, and, presumably, no Wal-Mart workers unaware of the need to double-check the legitimacy of a product listing’s price.