Customers from around the country are complaining that the deals Walmart promised on Black Friday were given away ahead of time in a pre-sale procedure many are calling a scam because it was not made known to the public.
In Tracy, CA, customers who arrived before dawn to snap up the $198 eMachines laptop that was advertised as being on sale between 5am-10am discovered the stores entire inventory of 37 units had been sold the day before in a non-advertised pre-sale. The manager admitted there was no way for the general public to know about the pre-sale unless they called the store (and obviously there was no way for most people to know they needed to do that), and apparently had not told the line of customers that started forming around 3am that the laptop was not available.
In Iron Mountain, MI, shoppers who arrived to purchase the electronic deals advertised to go on sale at 5am, such as an Emerson TV and the aforementioned laptop, were informed that all electronics had sold out at 3:30am despite the fact they had been advertised as not available until 5am.
Shoppers in Harrisburg, PA and Kosciusko, Miss discovered that the eMachines laptop had sold out there by 2:30am as well. It seems the deception was done nationwide rather than confined to a few stores. I’m sure the FTC will take notice!
Why Walmart decided to ignore its ad and deceive customers remains to be seen, but that’s exactly what they did. They advertised items as going on sale at 5am and then turned around and sold them all earlier with no notice. Here’s what their Black Friday press release said:
“Beginning at 5 a.m. on Nov. 27, store items from electronics to toys to apparel will feature prices that are sure to be at the top of gift lists this holiday season. Starting today, November 23, all of these special values can be viewed online at Walmart.com. Hit the Stores Friday Morning: $3 sleepwear for the family, a $298 laptop and more, Walmart’s day-after-Thanksgiving event from 5 a.m. to 11 a.m. highlights the gifts moms want for their family. All items are available in limited quantities. Sorry, no rainchecks.”
What’s the deal Walmart? Deceptive advertising is a big no-no so you’d better have a heck of an explanation. There is no excuse for misleading customers.
If you had an experience like this at your local Walmart, please tell us about it!
Read [Consumer Affairs]