Sears website glitch: $500 playsets for $11 - Fox29 WFLX TV, West Palm Beach, FL-news & weather

Sears website glitch: $500 playsets for $11

Moms across the country were telling their friends Wednesday morning about an amazing, early holiday-season gift from Sears.

Children's play sets and strollers that normally list for hundreds of dollars were selling online for just $11.95, a 95% markdown in some cases, on both the Sears website, and Sears' listings on Amazon.

The amazing deals included:

  • A Step 2 Playhouse, listed at $659, on sale for $11.95
  • A plastic backyard slide, originally $424, also on sale for $11.95.
  • Wooden train tables, for Thomas and Friends trains, list price of $100, marked down to just $11.95.

What parent of a 2-year-old would not want to buy a wooden train table set, a perfect Christmas gift,  for just $11?

Unfortunately, it was all a website glitch, and those who were able to place orders received emails later telling them their order would be canceled.

Some Ordered Thousands of Dollars of Items

Alicia Heller, a mom of two young children, told us "I have friends in a Moms' group, all over the United States, and they were all clicking and ordering strollers for $11.95 that were normally $300."

Some of her friends "were ordering $4,000 worth of children's merchandise, in their cart, and they only paid $79."

She was skeptical, however, and held off ordering.  By the time she checked back, the deals had disappeared.

Sears' Facebook page quickly lit up with angry criticisms from women who had their orders denied.

One angry shopper, Susie Oram, called it a "bait and switch," saying "why did your IT department leave it up if it was a mistake?"

By noon, the low prices had disappeared from the Sears website. We have emailed Sears for comment, and are waiting for an official response.

What Does the Law Say?

The Federal Trade Commission has ruled in favor of stores in the past, saying there must be proof of "intent to deceive" with a ridiculously low price.

Bait and switch is illegal, such as a low price to get you in the store, and then no such prices on the showroom floor.

But the FTC says if it appears to be a pricing error, or website glitch, the company does not have to honor the price.

Some companies have honored mistakes in the past to keep customers happy.  But if an airline advertises flights to Europe for $10, that have the potential to seriously harm the airline's bottom line, they don't have to honor the error.

Car dealers have accidentally advertised $25,000 new cars online for just $2,500, and have the law on the side when they refuse to honor the price. If they did, their dealership could go out of business.

So it appears this early Christmas gift was indeed too-good-to-be-true.  Oh well, there's always Black Friday.

As always, don't waste your money.


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