Walmart Honors Their “Mistake Fare” When A Product Was Released Early

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Walmart Mistake

Walmart Honors The Early Release Of An Upcoming Sale

I recently took advantage of what is similar to a mistake fare in the airline industry.  Walmart had listed an item that was not supposed to be on sale yet. In a surprising turn of events Walmart honored their mistake.  At least they honored it for some people…more on that later ;).

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Last Tuesday I saw a post on Slick Deals that the PS4 1TB Spiderman bundle was listed on Walmart for $199.99. I passed it along to Shawn and PDX Deals Guy. We were not sure if this was a sale, a mistake, or what.  Shawn had thought it might one of their upcoming holiday deals.

Because this was a great deal for reselling or to give as a gift during the holidays we all jumped on the opportunity.  We figured there was a good chance that the orders would get cancelled but thought it was worth a try.

Shawn went really large, PDX went medium, and I ordered two :).

I am more of a niche reseller and I felt like I might slide under the radar if I went smaller.  I was also the only one to choose in store pick up.  My reasoning behind choosing in store pick up was that it may get filled early in the morning before they caught the error, if it was in fact an error.

Walmart Mistake


As expected Shawn and PDX got their cancellation emails later that evening.  I did not get one until Wednesday morning.  What was weird was that my cancellation email was only for one of my two items.

I found it strange that they only canceled one and I began to get really hopeful that it was going to work out in my favor.  On Thursday I received this email from Walmart:

Dear Mark,

Whoa! Was that the PlayStation PS4 1TB Spiderman for only $199?  Well, the truth is we let this deal slip a little too soon.

Unfortunately, this item was not meant to be available to purchase and we are not ready to ship it out yet. 

You might have heard that this item will be available in a few weeks.  Since this was our error, we’re going to honor 1 unit per customer, and you can expect the item to be shipped on November 19.  If you are interested in additional units, please keep an eye out for when it actually does become available to sell later in the season.

We’re sorry for the confusion on this one.

Sincerely, Customer Care

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I was truly surprised by their response.  Walmart gets a lot of flack for their customer service but I thought this was an amazing response.  They went above and beyond in my opinion.  Shawn and PDX had their entire order cancelled which I imagine is because of the large quantities ordered.  The in store pick up may have also worked out in my favor but I doubt it.

Did anyone else take advantage of this deal and have a similar experience?  Do you think Walmart did the right thing or did they go above and beyond?


Mark Ostermann
Mark Ostermann is a father, husband and miles/points fanatic. He left the corporate world after starting a family in order to be a stay at home dad. Mark is constantly looking at ways to save money and stay within budget while also taking awesome vacations with his family. When he isn't caring for his family or taking a weekend trip, Mark is working towards his goal of visiting every Major League Baseball ballpark.

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  1. I think the “right thing” is probably subjective. For someone just trying to resell who was pretty confident they were taking advantage of a mistake, I think it’s perfectly reasonable that Walmart says “we all knew this was a mistake let’s cancel the orders”. For a kid who innocently got on the website and thought they were going to be able to afford something wonderful (an honest assumption let’s call it) I think Walmart should honor it.

    Obviously WM can’t differentiate, and even if they could to do it on a case-by-case basis isn’t possible. But as a reseller myself I tend to be Ok with a retailer cancelling what I suspect to be an obvious mistake. So perhaps I’m a bit too philosophical in my approach, but whether or not it’s “the right thing” in my mind tends to be something I consider in relation to my specific transaction and I leave the rest to their own merits.

    • I agree with your points. I think they singled out obvious resellers and then honored normal purchases. They could have done an Amazon move where they give a small credit as an apology, cancelled all together, or let the sale go through. I think they chose the best customer PR route which would seem to go against what people think about them. That is what surprised me the most. I wouldn’t have been upset if they went more the Amazon route instead etc.


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