There's nothing like some good ol' fashioned corporation scamming on the holidays. And as we inch closer to Black Friday, some particularly ambitious shoppers have convinced the mega-chain Walmart to sell them PlayStation 4s for as cheap as $50 thanks to a simple new price-matching scam.
Don't cry for Walmart, though. Cry for price-matching. "We're committed to providing low prices every day," reads the Walmart website. "On everything. So if you find a lower advertised price on an identical product, tell us and we'll match it. Right at the register."
They're probably going to tweak that policy soon. Last weekend, some lucky shoppers got their hands on $60 Wii U and 3DS bundles by asking Walmart to price-match what turned out to be a glitch on Sears' website. And now, more devious shoppers have come up with a different scam to get PS4s: fake Amazon listings.
It's a simple process. First, someone sets up a bogus third-party retail listing on Amazon that will claim to sell PS4s for super-cheap, like, say, $90:
"AmzonElectronics" is a nice touch. Though Amazon is quick to remove fake listings like that—and you'll never get that $90 PS4 from them—it's still simple to snag a screenshot and bring it to one of the big box stores.
And that's... pretty much it. Anyone can benefit from this scam simply by taking the Amazon listing to Walmart (or any other retailer that offers price-matching) and crossing their fingers.
While there's a chance that more savvy retail employees won't honor the deal, at least a few shoppers have successfully pulled this one off:
Isn't human ingenuity such a wonderful thing? Too bad this blatant fraud will likely force companies like Walmart to change their price-matching plans to be worse for everyone. Sorry, guys!
(h/t Tom Scocca, Joe MacLeod)
UPDATE: Walmart has responded to the scams, with company spokesperson John Forrest Ales telling 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.
"We will continue to listen to feedback from our customers and our cashiers to make sure our online price match policy is working. Customers with questions can read the updated policy by searching 'online price match'at Walmart.com."