Last Sunday, Sears.com erroneously listed both the Wii U and the 3DS XL at $59.99. “We beat Amazon’s price!” the website boasted in a screenshot taken during the brief window of time the sale existed. No kidding.

Sears was soon clued in about the gaffe after social media started spreading word of the sale. They immediately delinked both the pages and instructed Sears employees to not honor the listed price at any of their stores. That might have been the end of the story, buuuut……

Recently major big box franchises have begun offering price-matching guarantees to combat the threat of Amazon.com and other cheap online retailers. Even though the sale was down from the Sears website, some people were able to take a printout of the sale to Wal-Mart, Toys R Us or Target and convince the store manager to honor the price. People started tweeting photos of new Nintendo machines next to their sales receipts, and social media started blowing up again…..and all those retailers had to quickly put out the fire by immediately sending word to all their branches NOT to accept the Sears.com sale.

And THAT might have been the end of the story, buuuuuuuut……

A day later, the incident inspired a rash of fraud schemes involving Amazon.com, which offers a third-party marketplace that anyone can sell products from. People would temporarily list a Playstation 4 at around $99, skip to Wal-Mart and ask for the “sale” price. The store would look up the reported sale online to verify its authenticity, and if they were fooled into believing the third-party page was the real thing, the sale would go through. Unlike the Sears.com incident, which was the company’s fault, this crossed the line into theft and was clearly illegal, though the people who foolishly posted their receipt photos on Twitter have yet to be charged with anything.

As a result, today Wal-Mart has ceased to honor any sort of price-matching for video game consoles, and I imagine other stores will soon follow suit. Meaning if Amazon authentically starts offering them at $100 off tomorrow, you’d better get one there, or you’re out of luck. Hope you enjoyed the convenience of price-matching, for the week it existed.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.