Walmart: One Brand, Two Different Prices

Update: I’ve recently learned Wal-Mart has updated their policy again. They are in fact price matching their website for in store prices now. Good going Wal-Mart.

Here’s a recent letter I drafted to Walmart, expressing my frustration with their pricing policy. This policy has also been criticized in The City Wire:  http://www.thecitywire.com/node/33922

 

Dear Walmart:

I’m really frustrated with a recent experience I had at Walmart.  I researched an air conditioner to purchase for a family member as a gift. I found a GE air conditioner listed at $99.86 online, and I made the natural assumption that I could purchase the same model at the store for the same price.

I went up to checkout only to find that the in-store price was $109.00 , $9.14 more than the price that brought me into the store in the first place.  I communicated my frustration to customer service, and was told quite frankly they do not match Walmart online pricing.

I purchased the air conditioner anyway, but went online to research the topic, and saw your answer in your FAQ: “Why are prices different in stores vs. online…” it was less than satisfying to me as a patron.  I want to express my dissatisfaction  in such a methodology: while Walmart may see Walmart.com and Walmart stores as separate entities, consumers such as myself certainly do not – they know Walmart as a single brand.  The aforementioned experience discourages me from shopping at Walmart in the future, whether it be online, or in-stores.

I urge you to reconsider this policy – as a consumer I’d be happier knowing a fair price is both in-store and online.  I look at your website to compare prices and to see whether it’s worth going to the store – I won’t be doing either moving forward.

I do encourage you to reach out to me – I plan to share this information with my friends and family, so that they do not have to experience the same issue I did. I really would like you to help me understand the logic behind this policy –  from my viewpoint I see it as a bait-and-switch tactic.

Walmart, this confusing and misleading policy encourages me to take my shopping to other local retailers, Target and Home Depot.  I know I can trust what I see on their sites, and I have never had an issue price matching their online price to their store. These stores seem to recognize that shoppers see their name as a single brand.

 

Thanks

Steve