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PlayStation (Games) Businesses The Almighty Buck

Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart 287

turkeydance writes People are reportedly creating fake Amazon pages to show fake prices on electronics and other items. In the most heavily publicized cases, Walmart was reportedly duped into selling $400 PlayStation 4 consoles for under $100. From the article: "The company announced on Nov. 13 that it would price-match select online retailers, including Amazon.com. However, any Amazon member with a registered selling account can create authentic looking pages and list items 'for sale' online. Consumers need only take a screen capture of the page and show it to a cashier at checkout in order to request the price match."
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Customers Creating Fake Amazon Pages To Get Cheap Electronics At Walmart

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  • by vux984 ( 928602 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @08:25PM (#48430683)

    Clever crooks. Always finding the loopholes. This is why we can't have nice things.

    Presumably walmart will immediately be limiting this to items only sold and shipped directly by amazon... or they'll drop amazon matching entirely if that's too complicated for their staff.

    • Re:wont last (Score:5, Interesting)

      by camg188 ( 932324 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @08:37PM (#48430761)
      I used to work a second job at Walmart, in the electronics department. At least once a month I would get somebody trying to buy a game system with a bogus coupon. Most of them were $100 off of a Nintendo DS.
    • by mysidia ( 191772 )

      Is this really a loophole? What happens if I go to amazon.com and find one of these $100 playstations, and quickly buy it, then insist they honor the contract?

      Should they fail.... bring it to court, suing them for the difference between the price agreed and the best available offer. Subpoena walmart for records of the price match as proof that the $100 listing for sale was known and intended.

      • Re:wont last (Score:5, Insightful)

        by alen ( 225700 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @08:42PM (#48430787)

        good luck. i'm doing jury duty on a civil case in NYC now and the system will break you before you see any money

      • by msauve ( 701917 )
        If you think you'll come out ahead by suing for $100, you're sadly mistaken.
        • If you think you'll come out ahead by suing for $100, you're sadly mistaken.

          Well actually, they'd be suing to get the game console for $100, so the assumed net gain would be the difference between the bogus advertised price and the real price: closer to $300 or so; but yeah, that's still not even close to worth it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        > Is this really a loophole? What happens if I go to amazon.com and find one of these $100 playstations, and quickly buy it, then insist they honor the contract?

        Insist all you want, there is no contract until there is an exchange of value aka your card is charged. And your card isn't charged until the item ships.

        This is all well established law. Not a week goes by where someone on fatwallet or slickdeals hasn't had an order cancelled because of a misprice on the merchant's part. If they actually charg

    • They may or may not be crooks, but that question likely comes down to pedantic details about what buttons they pushed and if their amazon listing was a legit "limited time offer" or "sale." The bar to prove fraud might be pretty high here, unless they bragged about it loosely on twitter. Which I guess most of them probably did...

    • Clever crooks. Always finding the loopholes. This is why we can't have nice things.

      Presumably walmart will immediately be limiting this to items only sold and shipped directly by amazon... or they'll drop amazon matching entirely if that's too complicated for their staff.

      Walmart promises to price match any competitor, then uses their clout to get the manufacture to package the item differently, specifically for walmart, under a different SKU so the item, is in effect, unique to walmart, and they'll have no one to compete with them.

      Fair game I'd say.

      • That used to be a trick that stores used for mattresses, maybe they still do. The major companies like Serta, Sealy, and Simmons, would make a different model name for various major stores. Each store offered to beat any other store selling the same , IDENTICAL, item. Since they each sold their own "unique" mattress model they never had to actually match anyone. The fact that Sears' Foo and Wards' Bar were the same mattress, just with a different label and SKU, was of no help to the consumer.

        I have seen

        • by vux984 ( 928602 )

          maybe they still do.

          Yes. They still do.

          just with a different label and SKU, was of no help to the consumer.

          Except that you could just buy foo at sears or bar at Wards. I mean its a price matching policy...so if the Foo at Sears is cheaper than the bar at wards, and you think its the same thing and Wards is like 'uh uh different sku' then just drive to Sears. Big deal.

          Worst case its a meaningless price matching offer. They are still competing with eachother. Its just slightly harder for the consumer to com

          • The main reason for doing it with mattresses is that it lets brick and mortar stores compete with online and makes price comparisons hard. I looked at some mattresses in a shop, where I could try lying on them, and then tried to check the price online and see if the local store was competitive (I'd accept some premium for being able to try it, but not an extra 100% markup). Not only could I not find the same model online, I couldn't find it in other brick and mortar stores either. I've no idea whether th
      • What's worse, often times Walmart will have them package an inferior product with the same SKU. I remember some Sony monitors that were the exact same Trinitron model but the Walmart ones had a lower max resolution the the ones sold at Circuit City.

      • Walmart price matching is even worse than this. Despite our general dislike of Walmart, there was a toy my son wanted that we were going to buy him. Walmart had the best price on their website so we went into the store and found the toy. Unfortunately, it was more than the price on their website for some reason. We went to the customer service desk and were told they don't price match Walmart.com because the physical store and online store are two separate entities. We could order it from the website,

    • As you can imagine this is potentially illegal in many jurisdictions so these crooks were probably breaking the law to begin with.

      I also remember when someone figured out how coupon UPC's worked and got XBox controllers for unrealistic prices. Ultimately I imagine one of the reasons people get away with this type of thing with such ease is because retailer workers paid minimum wage with little or no benefits probably don't care at all.

  • People's ingenuity and tenacity to game the system never fails to amaze me.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by jratcliffe ( 208809 )

      There's "gaming the system" and there's fraud. This isn't clipping Home Depot coupons and taking advantage of Lowe's willingness to accept competitor coupons. This is forging your own Home Depot coupons on your computer, printing them out, and using them at Lowe's, since you know that Home Depot won't accept the forgeries.

      • Interesting, but in the summary they don't say anything about forgeries, they talk about people with amazon seller accounts creating sales in order to have them matched. That is nothing at all like your example. In fact, your example looks to me like an intentional fraud; it claimed to have a relevant point, and even had the form of a point, but didn't match the accusation at all.

        • Re:Genius. (Score:5, Insightful)

          by vakuona ( 788200 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @08:48PM (#48430831)

          It is fraud if you create a web page purely to deceive Walmart into giving you a discount on a product you had no intention of selling for the price.

          It is deeply dishonest, and there is no other excuse for that behaviour.

          • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

            by Anonymous Coward

            Create Web page with deeply discounted console.

            Buy 3, or more PS/4 From Walmart.

            Sell one for the advertised price--making it not fraud.

            Sell another for 3x the price you advertised the first one at.

            Keep one for yourself.


            In the stock market its called short selling.

        • "they talk about people with amazon seller accounts creating sales in order to have them matched"

          No, they're not creating "sales." They're creating sales pages they have no intention of actually delivering. Unless you think that the people pulling this scam would have happily shipped out hundreds of PS4s at $80 each, when the orders came in.

    • This is basically just price-tag switching. In the olden days of stick-on price tags it wasn't considered terribly clever to do this!
  • Retail stores have a hard time changing prices as prices signs and labels are regulated by state law... Amazon can very easily change the price in cookie-based pages. I'm not sure why Wal-Mart thinks they can price match when that happens.

    • Wrong. Amazon DOES charge the same price for everybody. They did experiment with different prices for different customers a few years back, but they got some bad media attention over it and discontinued it:

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A... [wikipedia.org]

      • by JStyle ( 833234 )

        They do, however, change their prices rather rapidly. I usually leave things in my wishlist and see the price change regularly. So this can cause confusion if a retailer wants to verify the price.

        Slightly related, I had a keyboard on my wishlist, set at $50, it recently went up to $70-75, and is now on their black friday sales listed as $60 (What a deal!). All within 3-4 weeks.

  • by jratcliffe ( 208809 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @08:33PM (#48430729)

    WalMart's already wised up, and changed the rules. Now it only applies to items on Amazon SOLD BY Amazon. No more marketplace sellers.

    http://consumerist.com/2014/11... [consumerist.com]

  • Wal-Mart shouldn't be relying on paper printouts... can't those be easily be faked?

    • I can easily create a local HTML page derived from Amazon's website. It'll be hosted in my browser, on my phone, but it'll be 100% fake.
  • Oh, boy! (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by reboot246 ( 623534 )
    These are the same Walmart employees who think they're worth fifteen bucks an hour? A six year old could see through the scam!
    • Re:Oh, boy! (Score:4, Insightful)

      by timeOday ( 582209 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @08:49PM (#48430841)
      Alternately, these might be Wal-Mart employees who've figured out how earn more than $15/hr by taking a cut of the fake savings, without appearing overtly guilty. At least, you for one are eager to assume they're too dumb to be guilty, which is probably true of their bosses also.
    • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

      These are the same Walmart employees who think they're worth fifteen bucks an hour?

      This is getting off topic, but minimum wage in the US has taken a big hit due to inflation. At the very least if compared to the 1960's the current minimum wage needs to be about $11/hr in order to have the same buying power.

      • $10.69 in 2014 dollars, but it's worth noting that was at its peak and so a uniquely misleading selection if you're comparing the current minimum wage to historical norms.
        • The underlying data (through 2012) is here. Minimum wage (in 2012 $) peaked in 1968 at $10.34, has averaged (from 1938-2012) $7.09/hour in 2012 $.

          In inflation-adjusted terms, the minimum wage was lower than current levels until 1956, above current levels from 1956 to 1984, and then mostly below current levels again since 1984 (with the exception of 1997-1998).

  • by Anonymous Coward

    This is great news, glad some savvy consumers "abused the system." Price-matching guarantees, far from being made to help the consumer, are actually economic game theory made to preserve a store's sales. Example:

    1. You are shopping for an item in a store, but discover that it is priced better elsewhere. If the store has no price match, you will leave and obtain the item elsewhere. The store loses sales because it is not as economically efficient as its competitors, and goes out of business. The free ma

  • by jtara ( 133429 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @08:54PM (#48430871)

    Fry's has a simple system for this.

    1. You tell the sales associate (it's not done at the checkout counter) what site you want them to match.

    2. They check it against the list of sites that they are willing to match.

    3. They go to the site on their computer, and look it up.

    4. They print an invoice that you take to the counter with your purchase.

    5. BTW, they have incentive to do this, because they get something any time they print an invoice. I don't know the details, but it would be dumb for Fry's to withhold whatever the reward is just because it was a price match. So, anytime somebody at Fry's is actually helpful (rare, I know, but sometimes happens...) don't balk when they want to print an invoice!

    You don't get away with just showing them your screen.

    You can show them a screen, from the web or some price-search app, and then they will go to their own browser to look it up.

    • by dunkindave ( 1801608 ) on Thursday November 20, 2014 @09:36PM (#48431025)
      There was a story a few years ago about Best Buy rigging their in-store computers [gizmodo.com] to show a higher price than their website to the public. It was a shadow system that looked like the external site, but gave different prices. Its purpose was to trick people who look something up online, see the price, go to the store, find it at a different price, and complain. The salesman would pull it up on their "website" like the customer says they did, show the customer that they were mistaken, the marked price is the price it shows, and the customer was faced with either walking out or accepting the higher price. Smartphones were the fall of this practice since customers no longer had to use the Best Buy systems to look things up. They could whip out their iPhone/Android/BlackBerry/(cringe)Windows and look it up for themselves. When some of these people questioned the sales person's answer and independently verified the info on the spot, which didn't match, all hell broke loose.
      • In addition to said shenanigans, some of Best Buy's employees are just flat-out dense.

        One time, I had a case where the in-store price was higher than the internet price on Best Buy's own website. I don't know if it was an error in their database, or if stores in more expensive areas (This was in San Francisco.) have the ability to set their prices higher. Regardless, they refused to price match their own internet price. The excuse they gave was that bestbuy.com was not on the list of sites they price mat

        • I've had Walmart do this to us too. The price on Walmart.com was cheaper and there was "ship to store", but they wouldn't match the price on the exact same item in the store. The sales associate said that the online store and physical stores are two separate entities. She also mentioned that she's had to deal with this herself. She would go to her car during her lunch break, order something from Walmart.com to pick up in the store, and then grab the item when she left her shift.

      • If you knew what you were doing, it was actually a pretty good system -- you could order out of stock items that were clearance in-store at the in-store price and have them delivered. Probably not what they intended, but the results weren't always anti-consumer.
  • by Prien715 ( 251944 ) <`moc.liamg' `ta' `epopcitsonga'> on Thursday November 20, 2014 @09:01PM (#48430911) Journal

    After all, when your employer pays you terribly, why do you care? Reject the idea, customer complains to your manager. Who is also, may not be the brightest star in the constellation, who may discipline/fire you.

    Also? Average wage at WalMart: $8/hr (weekly: 8*8=64 * 5 days=$320). Which means, pulling this once and reselling the console is almost a week's pay. Taking $300 from WalMart, whose family owns more money than the bottom 42% of the US combined [politifact.com] to feed your family doesn't seem like the most heartless crime in the world.

    • You won't see me crying over a thief that got robbed. Wal-Mart has systematically shorted employee pay, forced their employees and their families onto welfare, and demanded tax cuts meaning that other taxpayers foot the bill. They are also supporting a corrupt and oppressive government in China and n doing so helped destroy many middle class lives by having jobs moved there.

      So boohoo, they got what they deserved. Hats off to those who 'stick it to the man'.

      • Completely agreed. I can think of a couple nice things to say about WalMart, but I can think of thousands of horrible things to say about WalMart, and I can think of even more to say about the Walton family. Fuck the lot of them.

    • People with your attitude is why some companies like to hire Mexicans for labor jobs and Indians for technical jobs.

      Because as a rule of thumb, they appreciate their job.
  • People have to ruin it. Company tries to do a nice thing and match online prices... and jackasses start creating bullcrap listings.

    Neither Amazon nor Ebay really should be listed. Keep it to sites like NewEgg, etc.

  • Best Buy price matches Amazon.com, just like Walmart.

    But the policy is to price match items sold from and BY Amazon.com. So stores hosted by Amazon are NOT supposed to be price-matched.

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