The PlayStation 4 is a very robust console – it’s a high tech gadget, so it comes at a high-tech price. Circling in at $400, the entertainment system plays hosts plenty of accomplished exclusives, powerful graphics and an integrated social experience. Wal-Mart has been made painfully aware of how popular the console is of late, since it became public knowledge that most Wal-Mart retail outlets are unwittingly accepting bogus Amazon listings and ad-matching them, letting gamers pick up the PlayStation 4 for the paltry sum of $90.
Those familiar with Amazon will know that anyone can create an item listing, even if the item isn’t legitimately being sold. From here, they could take a screenshot of the page – complete with a ludicrously cheap price – and bring it in to Wal-Mart so that unknowing employees will ad-match the false price. They can then walk out of the store with the PlayStation 4 in-hand, and a receipt declaring the transaction a legal purchase – though the actually legality of such an action is a gray area. It also brings to light that Amazon needs to reinforce protection against fake listings, which may be put out to scam people purchasing goods online.
Wal-Mart’s ad-matching policy goes along with this by stating “We’re committed to providing low prices every day, on everything. So if you find a current lower online price from an online retailer on an identical, in-stock product, tell us and we’ll match it.” However, it looks like most Wal-Mart cashiers don’t verify the online listing by checking to see if it actually exists, or comes from a reputable third-party seller, and have been letting people purchase PlayStation 4 consoles for a literal steal of $99.
This is likely aided by the fact that most Wal-Mart employees don’t have immediate access to an internet-accessible computer, which makes quickly verifying these printed Amazon screenshots a difficult burden during busy shopping times.
- Amazon 3P merchant lists a PS4 for $89.99 (not legit) - Wal-Mart price matches Amazon - Show listing in store, get PS4 for $89.99— Norman Caruso (@GamingHistorian) November 18, 2014
Notably, this trick could be used for a limitless amount of items. As long as an Amazon merchant lists any item, Wal-Mart employees continue unwittingly ad-matching them. Whether a BBQ, a PS4 or a can of soup, it’s clear that the company needs to refresh their policies regarding Amazon third-party sellers sooner rather than later. Despite any fiscal hit they take from the open interpretation of their online ad-matching system, they’ll still likely be the world’s largest fiscal company by revenue in 2015.
What do you think about this development, Ranters? Do you think Wal-Mart will change their policy about online third part vendors soon?
You can follow John Jacques on Twitter @Makelevi.