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Wal-Mart pricing glitch sparks buying frenzy online

Many Wal-Mart products were listed at more than 90% off, with TVs and computer monitors supposedly going for $8, video games for $18, treadmills for $33.

November 07, 2013|By Stuart Pfeifer
  • A Wal-mart spokesman would not say how many items were sold at the mistaken discount prices or whether the company would honor purchases customers had made at the low prices.
A Wal-mart spokesman would not say how many items were sold at the mistaken… (Jae C. Hong, Associated…)

Wal-Mart Stores Inc. says a "technical error" caused its website to offer absurdly low pricing Wednesday morning, touching off a buying frenzy that was fueled by bargain hunters on social media.

Many products were listed at more than 90% off, with televisions and computer monitors supposedly going for $8, video games for $18, treadmills for $33. Word of the deals spread quickly.

"Spent $300 on $5800 (retail pricing) of product on the Walmart ordeal. Hopefully it goes through. If not, it was worth a try!" Twitter user @samzorzSH wrote.

"Ordered a set of $300 speakers for $30 due to a Walmart pricing error. Now to hope they honor it," @CalebWilliams13 wrote.

"Wal-mart pricing errors has big games selling for $18, monitors for $8 — hilarious gold rush in progress," @markmacd posted.

Twitter user @freeshootXiggy offered advice for those looking to cash in: "People buying monitors off Walmart site in bulk are morons. Those are pricing errors, go for the smaller things maybe you'll get lucky."

Wal-Mart spokesman Ravi Jariwala said that the company resolved the problem Wednesday afternoon and will not honor purchases made at the mistaken prices.

"Given the wide discrepancy in pricing, we are notifying customers who ordered these items that their orders have been canceled and that they'll be refunded in full," he said.

Customers whose orders are canceled will receive gift cards worth $10 on future purchases made in person or online, Jariwala said.

The situation was potentially complicated for Wal-Mart, because the retailer allows customers to pay for items online and then pick them up in person. Jariwala said the company does not know how many customers did this.

One customer boasted on Twitter that he paid $330 for a $1,999 television and picked it up in person.

stuart.pfeifer@latimes.com

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