Target Yanks Too-Good-To-Be-True PS3 Offer After I Try To Buy

Julie’s eyes probably bugged when she spotted the way-too-cheap PS3 deal she captured in the accompanying screenshot. She placed an order and checked out with a $50.02 charge after tax and shipping were added, but received a cancellation email the next day.

She writes:

On January 16th, both and searches for PS3 60GB showed an advertised price of $39.99, down a whopping $360 from the original price of $399.99. Needless to say, I jumped at the chance to buy one expecting the entire time to be unable to actually purchase the item at the price. However, the advertised price never changed and I was able to purchase a brand new machine for a grand total cost of $50.02 (with shipping).

The next day I was dismayed to find an email that Target had canceled my order without charging my card citing “mismatched price and product information.” How many other people were affected by this error on their site and should Target have offered some sort of monetary apology for people like me were expecting a ridiculously great deal (free shipping on my next order, $5 gift card, and additional discount of sorts, etc.)?

What, if anything, do you think is proper for Target to do for Julie to make up for the pricing error?


Edit Your Comment

  1. bsh0544 says:

    Pricing mistakes happen, they’re not really news. Most of the time the company offers nothing. If you call to bitch a lot they might offer you a small gift card or promo code to get you off the phone.

    • longdvsn says:

      She should get NOTHING – no matter how much complaining she does.

      Price mistakes happen…and the OP knows it was a price mistake. It’s not a bait-and-switch nor a sale price not being honored, just a mistake in placing a period. You order and hope…but you do NOT get upset when your order gets canceled.

      I’ve ordered dozens of times from different sites with price mistakes. Sometimes they come, sometimes they don’t – but I don’t bitch and moan when they get canceled.

      • Forrest says:

        Thank you. I hate when companies appease the one person who gets published without fixing the root of the problem, and when the person doesn’t deserve anything.

      • shadmed says:

        What the crap? She never expected it to go through. She just did it to see if she was able to get that awesome deal. She never pointed out how “terrible” Target was and that :they should be ashamed” of not giving her the PS3. You should read the last paragraph. She never “bitches” or “moans” about not getting the deal. She kindly asks how many people were affected and if she can get a reward from Target for letting this happen.

        Geez people, not every -single- email that is sent to The Consumerist is to bitch and complain about a company.

    • rushevents says:

      But you are missing the point…

      It’s not fair! Everything in life is somebody else’s problem. They made a mistake? Not my problem… theirs!!!

      It’s not Fair I say. NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO! NO!

      I am now holding my breath until I turn blue! Hhhhhhhhhhhhhup!

      (Of course the above discourse would make sense if we lived in a world ruled by my 6 yr old child.)

      As for the rest of us – tell the chick to just deal. It was a mistake and they owe her nothing – after all what did she lose?

    • KingPsyz says:

      Considering the model has also been out of rotation for something on 3-4 years it’s a non-issue to begin with.

    • Exclave says:

      Placed an order as well for this one. It was never going to happen, just wishful thinking that maybe they came across a shipping container of these old systems and were therefore selling them on the cheap. policy states that in the even of situations like these, order will be canceled. Amazon backs this up with their own policy deferring to target for target orders.

      TL:DR – You wanted a ridiculous deal, which was ridiculous.

  2. larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

    > What, if anything, do you think is proper for Target to do for Julie to make up for the pricing error?

    Nothing. Shit happens. OP even says “expecting the entire time to be unable to actually purchase the item at the price. ” Her expectations were fulfilled.

    Suck it up, nobody owes you anything.

    • Pax says:

      In Massachusetts, Target could be forced to sell her the unit for that price.

      940 CMR 6

      And, yes, part of that law does specify that Internet ads,no matter where they originate from, which can be accessed by a Massachusetts resident from a computer located in Massachusetts, count as advertisements “within Massachusetts”.

      • ajaxd says:

        How many e-tailers are actually incorporated in Massachusetts with such friendly laws? I bet Target isn’t.

        • Pax says:

          Actually, there’s a Target right down the road from where I’m sitting … in Massachusetts.

          Also, they don’t have to be incorporated here, to be subject to those laws, anyway. It really doesn’t matter where their incorporation happened. That’s just not the way it works.

          • ajaxd says:

            The web business is typically set up as a separate business entity. When a Massachusetts resident orders something from a store that is set up in another state or even country the law becomes unenforceable. Besides, where does it say OP lives in Massachusetts?

            • 451.6 says:

              Really? Because from where I’m sitting (my apartment in NY), if I order something online, I get charged NY state tax. Because that’s state law.

              • Pax says:

                And in MA, the law is “if you have a presence in MA, even yoru online sales are subject to MA state sales tax”.

          • jebarringer says:

            But the way it DOES work is that they are accountable to the actual laws, not your copypasta fail that you’ve been posting all over.

      • stevied says:

        The exclusions (gross error) are well defined by Mass law. Target is off the hook.

        • mandrsn1 says:

          You are right. Target should be completely off the hook.

          940 CMR 3.00: General Regulations

          however, that the seller shall have no obligation to sell such item at the lowest represented price if it is the result of a gross error[…]. A “gross error” is a price which was never intended as the selling price at any time during the previous 30 day period, and which, for an item with an actual selling price of not more than $20.00, is less than half the price stated by the seller as the actual selling price, or which, for an item with an actual selling price of more than $20.00, is more than 20% below the price stated by the seller as the actual selling price.

      • Alaric says:

        From 940 CMR 6.13 Section 3:
        It is an unfair or deceptive act for a seller to fail to honor the terms of an advertisement which contains a material error, prior to posting in the store a correction of the material error, in close proximity to the advertised product, unless the material error is a “gross error” . . . A “gross error” shall have the same meaning as provided in 940 C.M.R. 3.00.

        From 940 CMR 3.13:
        A “gross error” is a price which was never intended as the selling price at any time during the previous 30 day period, and which, for an item with an actual selling price of not more than $20.00, is less than half the price stated by the seller as the actual selling price, or which, for an item with an actual selling price of more than $20.00, is more than 20% below the price stated by the seller as the actual selling price.

        How do you read that as putting Target in the wrong?

        • Pax says:

          I don’t. You’ve cited provisions I missed, and was previously unaware of. Thank you for enlightening me.

          Now if only so many people weren’t being total dicks about my oversight. But I suppose that’s too much to ask of the internet, isn’t it?

          • jabberwockgee says:

            1. You were wrong and acted as if you had authority on the subject. Don’t take it so personally when someone proves you wrong.

            2. He wasn’t even being dickish. He refuted your argument and asked where in those passages you could still find Target in the wrong.

            • Pax says:

              I never said HE was being a dick.

              But look up just above your reply to me, the one authored by “ryder02191”, and – with a straight face if you can – tell me THAT person isn’t being a dick.

          • ryder02191 says:

            You’re a complete moron who, despite being horribly wrong, would not stop spouting complete garbage on topics you were obviously clueless on. I’m not sure why you expected anything less.

          • pop top says:

            You were being a total dick to everyone when you were repeatedly posting your incorrect information, but now that you’ve been proven wrong, you want everyone to be nice to you?

            • Pax says:

              “Being incorrect” does not make one “a total dick”. And the repetition was warranted, based on my understanding at the time, because so many people were insisting that any price imistake is “tough luck” for the customer (which isn’t actually true, only “sufficiently-large” price mistakes – otherwise what I posted was and is correct).

              Calling me names like “moron” and “ignorant troll” …? Yeah. That is, absolutely and unequivocably, “being a total dick”.

  3. Mr. Fix-It says: "Canadian Bacon is best bacon!" says:

    So… what’s the problem here, exactly? The OP didn’t get to rip off Target and get a shiny new PS3 at an obviously incorrect price?

    I’m sorry, but if I see a $400 product at $40, I’m going to immediately assume error was involved. I’m not sure what OP’s complaining about, aside from not getting to steal a PS3.

    • MMD says:

      Agreed, mostly. It’s not “stealing” to attempt to purchase something at an advertised price. Crazily low-priced deals do happen legitimately happen from time to time.

    • Pax says:

      In Massachusetts, Target could be forced to sell her the unit for that price.

      940 CMR 6

      And, yes, part of that law does specify that Internet ads,no matter where they originate from, which can be accessed by a Massachusetts resident from a computer located in Massachusetts, count as advertisements “within Massachusetts”.

      • Doubts42 says:

        you can keep quoting that all you want. That doesn’t make it a good law or a good practice. In most states this would be a good faith error. The fact that someone at Target fumble fingered and left out a 9 doesn’t mean you get to steal $360.00

        • Pax says:

          It’s not stealing, if Target OFFERS it (even mistakenly) at that price, and continues doing so up to the point of processing your card. NOTE … even if they don’t actually charge the card, they’ve probably put a one-day HOLD on that amount.

          • jaazzman says:

            He can post that all he wants, its not even right. It wasn’t hard to find the statute on the government page. Says right there that if the price was obviously incorrect the store has no obligation to sell it at that price.

            Correct Pricing. It is an unfair or deceptive act or practice for any person subject to 940 CMR 3.13 to charge a consumer an incorrect price for any item offered for sale. The “correct price” is the lowest of: the advertised price in any circular, newspaper, magazine, television or radio commercial, or in any other medium, or any published correction thereof; the price indicated on any store sign, shelf label, price tag or price sticker for the item; or the price rung up by the store’s automated retail system; provided, however, that the seller shall have no obligation to sell such item at the lowest represented price if it is the result of a gross error, if it is based on the price marked on another unit of the same item and the tendered item is marked only with a higher price, or if the price tag, label or sign shows evidence of obvious physical tampering. A “gross error” is a price which was never intended as the selling price at any time during the previous 30 day period, and which, for an item with an actual selling price of not more than $20.00, is less than half the price stated by the seller as the actual selling price, or which, for an item with an actual selling price of more than $20.00, is more than 20% below the price stated by the seller as the actual selling price. If these provisions for establishing the correct price are not determinative in a particular situation, the correct price shall be the price on the seller’s current price list. Sellers shall maintain a price accuracy and missing price report. Whenever a consumer advises the store of an incorrect price on goods, signage, or register scanner, or that goods required to be price marked are missing such price marks, or that signs required to be posted are missing, or that a price is not in the register scanner, the store shall immediately fill out a price accuracy and missing price report with those details, and immediately correct the problem, making prompt payment to consumers who have been overcharged. It shall be a complete defense in any action brought under 940 CMR 3.13(1)(f) that the seller has complied with the provisions of 940 CMR 6.13(2).

      • mandrsn1 says:

        @ PAX, more from Mass. CMR.

        940 CMR 3.00: General Regulations

        however, that the seller shall have no obligation to sell such item at the lowest represented price if it is the result of a gross error[…]. A “gross error” is a price which was never intended as the selling price at any time during the previous 30 day period, and which, for an item with an actual selling price of not more than $20.00, is less than half the price stated by the seller as the actual selling price, or which, for an item with an actual selling price of more than $20.00, is more than 20% below the price stated by the seller as the actual selling price.

      • Eyeheartpie says:

        That would be tough, considering the 60gb PS3 has been discontinued for years.

  4. danmac says:

    …should Target have offered some sort of monetary apology for people like me were expecting a ridiculously great deal (free shipping on my next order, $5 gift card, and additional discount of sorts, etc.)?

    No, Target does not owe you a “monetary apology” as there’s really nothing to be sorry about. Would it be nice if they gave you a $5 gift card for you inconvenience? Sure, but it’s not something to which you are entitled.

    • BurtReynolds says:

      Seriously. It is a mistake. You read about “deals” like this on sites like FatWallet and SlickDeals all the time. People pound the site but they aren’t dumb enough to be surprised or angry when their order gets cancelled. They do it apparently hoping their order slips though.

      Some companies do throw you a bone for these situations though. Around Christmas, Puma had a glitch that allowed just about every coupon code to be stacked. People were buying $500 worth of stuff for $30. Obviously they cancelled all the orders, but then they sent out a 20% off coupoun after the cancellations.

      Of course during Christmas, Target had an advertised BF deal I bought, that they then cancelled 8 days later over a minute detail in the product description that was incorrect. The cancellation said that we could buy the product again at the same price, but of course the coupon code they provided didn’t give you the same price. That was inexcusable and reeked of trying to back out of the deal. Especially since they cancelled after Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday sales were over. I’ll be hesitant to buy from Target next holiday season unless it is B&M.

  5. ArgusRun says:

    Nothing. They don’t have to do anything.

    Seriously. This post is pointless. It was clearly an error. The buyer realized it was an error and tried to buy it at the wrong price.

    No one was charged. No money or goods exchanged hands. Its the equivalent of seeing an item marked wrong at a store, knowing it is wrong and the mistake getting caught at the checkout counter. And before you say the order was the checkout, that’s all automated. When a human saw what was happening, they stopped it.

    Case closed.

    • MMD says:

      Agreed, mostly. In some states, the store would be legally obligated to honor the incorrect price at the register. I don’t think that applies online, though.

      • JacobRyan says:

        Most of the time within the companies fine print for their web ordering they reserve the right to cancel orders and not honor prices based on a pricing error. Something like this happened a few months ago on where a normally 2000 dollar TV came up for something like 50 bucks, and people were upset that Best Buy cancelled their orders then. The OP deserves no monetary apology for this, and this wasn’t much of an inconvenience. Seeing as you know this person would have never made the purchase to begin with if it wasn’t at this rob-us-blind price.

      • ArgusRun says:

        Yeah I was thinking about the price marking after I wrote that, but I have to think there is some kind of exemption for clear misprints, mistakes or even malfeasance. I mean some stock boy could misprice items for his friends to buy otherwise.

      • Pax says:

        In Massachusetts, Target could be forced to sell her the unit for that price.

        940 CMR 6

        And, yes, part of that law does specify that Internet ads,no matter where they originate from, which can be accessed by a Massachusetts resident from a computer located in Massachusetts, count as advertisements “within Massachusetts”.

        • MMD says:

          I stand corrected…thanks for the info!

          • Pax says:


            Specifically, it’s buried in 6.01, under “Definitions”:

            “Advertisement. “Advertisement” (including the terms “advertise” and “advertising”) means any oral, written, graphic, or pictorial representation made by a seller in the course of the solicitation of retail business or which encourages a person to purchase a retail product. Advertisement includes a: representation made in a newspaper, magazine, on or via the Internet or other publication or on radio or television or contained in any notice, handbill, sign, billboard, banner, poster, display, circular, pamphlet, catalog, or letter, or printed on or contained in any tag or label which is attached to or accompanies any product offered for sale. Advertisement includes any representation disseminated within Massachusetts if the advertisement is directed to consumers in Massachusetts, or accessible to Massachusetts consumers on or via the Internet.

          • larrymac thinks testing should have occurred says:

            No, read the other threads that Pax spammed to see the whole story.

  6. Hooray4Zoidberg says:

    If you read the disclaimers on any eComm website there is always an escape clause for this exact situation.

  7. skwigger says:

    This was posted on numerous deal sites, most pointing out that it was probably a pricing error and “too good to be true”. You can see plenty of comments here

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Yup, my roomies and I saw it on Deals Woot. We tried for it too, and also got a polite cancellation email–no charge–but we knew all along that it was too good to be real. Our philosphy in trying for it, “Well, if it works, sweet, and if it doesn’t, no harm done.”

      We might not have trusted other retailers that there would be no harm if it ended up being cancelled, but this *is* Amazon.

      We were waiting for some whiner’s story to show up regarding this obvious pricing error “deal,” though it looks like I lost the bet–I was expecting it to be over the weekend.

  8. MMD says:

    While it would be lovely for Target to offer some sort of consolation prize, that would earn them the “Above and Beyond” tag. Disappointing that the deal didn’t go through, but they did the right thing by canceling without charging the credit card. If they’d pulled a Wal-Mart and sent some “comparable” item (an Atari 2600?) instead of what was ordered, we’d be having a different conversation.

  9. Southern says:

    Actually, I think they should make good on it, especially if the customer got all the way through checkout with it.

    At a B&M store, the store would be *legally* bound to honor the advertised price, and *especially* once it’s paid for, you OWN it. I think Internet merchants should be held to that SAME standard. Once you “pay” for it with your credit card, they should legally be required to ship it, not be able to cancel it and say, “Whoops! Our bad!” — Just seems like “bait and switch” to me.

    • pop top says:

      If it seems like bait and switch to you, then you don’t understand what bait and switch means.

    • lupis42 says:

      Right… once you pay for it. Which she didn’t, hence: “canceled my order without charging my card”

      • Southern says:

        If she made it through checkout, then her card was pre-auth’d for the amount charged. They may not actually complete the charge until the item is shipped, but that’s the prerogative. All credit charges are this way, even at Walmart; they pre-auth the card, and it’s not until their processing system actually charges the card does your card get “charged”. That could be a day or two, or even a week later.

        But that’s beside the point – IN MY OPINION, if she made it through checkout and the system gave her an order number and all that, they created a “contract” to ship that widget at the agreed upon price. To send her an email and say “Whoops! Our bad, but we reserve the right to cancel pricing errors!” just doesn’t seem legal, disclaimer or no disclaimer.

        Lets say Best Buy does this in a B&M – they didn’t catch it at the register, but the receipt checker does.. Does BB have the legal right to say, “Sorry, you have to give that back, and we’re going to cancel the pre-auth on your card”?

        • pmormr says:

          The contract that you agree to when you check the box and click “I Agree” allows them to cancel orders for pricing errors before they ship the item. In a brick and mortar store this is a different story… once the transaction is over, the item is sold and the contract completed.

        • The Fake Fake Steve Jobs says:

          To be charged for an order, the order has to be shipper or delivered to the party. In the case of at the register at Best Buy you are being charged on the spot for it. No pre-auth, post-auth. In the case of web commerce, you are permitted to pre-auth to ensure the customer does in fact have funds, and hold the funds for a short period of time until you ship. Once you ship, you are allowed to post-auth the sale.

    • TheReij says:

      I wouldn’t call it a bait and switch either.

      Went into a Target one time looking for some Double Layer DVD-Rs (the full DVD size as opposed to the half-size usually sold). Saw a spindle of 25 for around $12. Grabbed it, went to pay for it – it rang up at almost $50. After investigation, it turns out a stockperson unloaded an entire case of the DL-DVD-Rs in the spot where the vanilla variety went. The store gave me the incredible deal and then fixed their pricing.

      Pricing errors in a B&M store do happen. Maybe a price change rolled through the system before the department manager could throw the new label up. A non-observant stockperson puts a similar item on the shelf where a lower (or higher) priced variant lies. Either way, one of the jobs of salesfloor personnel (in addition to helping customers) is to verify that the products on the shelf have the correct pricing. Is it wrong to exploit this knowingly? I’d say yes. However, if you get caught on the “not-as-awesome” end of a mistake like this, it’s a nice face-saving gesture for the company concerned to just suck it up.

      The website is a different matter. On one hand, I’d say if you make it all the way through the transaction process, they should honor the price that was on the site. However, the payment medium was not charged, so there really isn’t much to report here. If the payment medium was charged, this would be a different story in my opinion.

      The better question (for me) is where did Target find a supply of 60GB PS3 and where can I get one? (Provided it’s a fully-backwards compatible PS3.)

    • longdvsn says:

      There was no payment made. They never charged her credit card, therefore, there was no transaction and she never ‘owned’ anything.

    • KingPsyz says:

      That phrase, I don’t think it means what you think it means.

      Bait & Switch refers to advertising product a which was or will never be available, and offering product b upon arrival at a simillar, but albeit less of a discount.

      A discontinued PS3 showing up in a search with a grossly incorrect price was likely the result of an error at the shipping center showing one in stock and using some metric for time in stock, versus product disconinuation to get to a 90% off listing.

      For all we know someone did get an old 60 gig PS3 they found in a corner during inventory.

    • Joedel263 says:

      a retail store is only *legally* obligated to honor the price in certain states. In most this law only applies to consumer commodities, which a PS3 is not..

      I would agree, that if her card was charged, they shouldn’t revert that, and she should get the deal (same in a store, there’s no “markup button” on a register) but as noted, she was not charged, and more than likely the items don’t exist..

  10. pop top says:

    Seriously? You feel entitled to monetary compensation because of a pricing error that you knew was incorrect and fully expected to not get in the first place? The OP is a great example of one of the many things wrong with society: the huge sense of entitlement that people seem to have developed in the last decade or so.

    • RedOryx says:

      This. The OP says ” I jumped at the chance to buy one expecting the entire time to be unable to actually purchase the item at the price” and yet somehow has the nerve to expect compensation from Target when she didn’t get the item at that price?

    • Chaosium says:


      You can’t just give her back her feelings, man!

  11. Harpalyce says:

    Ha, I hopped on that bandwagon. I didn’t approach it thinking I would actually get the deal, but thought the off-chance that I could get it would get it was worth the risk. (On one hand, stranger things have happened. On the other, if it looks too good to be true…) I think the only thing the company should really do is, perhaps, a polite “We’re sorry for this error. It has now been fixed and you can buy $item at $price at this link.” But not required – just a nice touch.

  12. koala72 says:

    The problem is that this happens frequently at Once every 5 years is a random pricing error. Huge pricing errors 10 times a year is a marketing ploy to get traffic to their website, then cancel orders.

  13. Jula says:

    I knew that was gonna happen. I saw the special too after a bunch of people posted it in reddit. alot of people planned on buying it just to see if they could get the PS3.

  14. Admiral_John says:

    I don’t think this is any different than a typo in an newspaper flier. The company isn’t obligated to honor the price.

  15. TooManyHobbies says:

    Ditto the other responses here. Luckily, people ARE allowed to make mistakes without having to pay huge financial penalties. I wouldn’t want to live in a society where everyone were forced to live up to everything they did or said in error.

    Someone typed in 39.99 instead of 399.99.

    I mean, come on. You KNEW it was an error, you were just trying to get something for (almost) nothing. It’s ludicrous to expect them to offer compensation.

  16. fujii13 says:

    Clearly a typo. Give ’em a break.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      What break? The OP didn’t make any demands, profanities, or any angry comments.

      The only break this needs is from the commenters.

  17. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    Do these stories serve any purpose except to re-enrage the “Pricing mistakes happen, the OP is a monster, Arghistanaoca!!!1111” crowd?

    I’d like to point out that the OP ASKED if compensation was in order, he/she did not DEMAND it. The OP was rather polite.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I agree that the OP was not demanding compensation, but she framed her email in a way to suggest that she thought she deserved some. She clearly realized it had to be an error, and yet was “dismayed” when she received the cancellation email. I don’t buy that at all. You can’t be dismayed by something you knew would never pan out. She even says she was fully expecting her order to fail at some point – and it did. She placed an order, and it was stopped before hitting fulfillment.

      • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

        I’m almost starting to believe these are fake – they are almost always framed the same way. Yes, the story of the mis-priced online item isn’t that varied to begin with, but the OP’s dialogue seems cookie cutter each time.

        I’m really sick of them because they don’t add to any real dialogue about consumer rights. It’s just filler for this website.

  18. octowussy says:

    One thing I love about the Consumerist is that while the site itself often posts lame stories like this, the commenters here are usually common-sense people that are quick to call B.S. on the site’s frequent B.S.

  19. Slusy says:

    Didn’t there used to be a “Bad Consumer” tag for posts like this one?

  20. nbs2 says:

    As has been pointed out, you don’t read Phil posts for educational or informative purposes. You read them so you can figure out how low he can sink. I don’t think this is his worst, but it is pretty bad – maybe an 8.3

  21. Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

    How is it illegal to knowingly buy something that is being offered at a ridiculous discount?

    That makes no sense. Especialy because it’s impossible to know the retailer’s intentions; it really COULD be at that price as far as they know.

  22. manrico11 says:

    All of you people on Target’s side are losers. First the same thing happened on Amazon’s website and Amazon actually Honored the price that was given. Second if they were to go into a Physical Target Store and see a price tag with a $39.99 price on it and take it with them to the checkout according to the law Target would have to honor that price. So why not honor a price that your company dropped the ball on online.

    • Ominous Gamer says:

      Amazon did not honor this deal. Target sells through Amazon, and the same pricing error (missing 9) hit the listing on both Amazon and Target, and since the orders placed through Amazon are honored and fulfilled by Target, they were cancelled (even with the same email wording), just as the target orders were cancelled.

      • manrico11 says:

        My bad they were reporting on the radio that Amazon was honoring it. Guess I was misinformed. But neither the less if this happened in a Store and the ticket/price tag had that price Target would have to honor it.

    • Awjvail says:

      By law, Target doesn’t have to sell you ANYTHING. Nothing. Zip. Zero. Zilch. Nada.

  23. Pax says:

    In Massachusetts, Target could be forced to sell her the unit for that price.

    940 CMR 6

    And, yes, part of that law does specify that Internet ads,no matter where they originate from, which can be accessed by a Massachusetts resident from a computer located in Massachusetts, count as advertisements “within Massachusetts”.

    • jaazzman says:

      Was is really necessary for you to post the exact same information 3 different times?

      • Pax says:

        Considering how many people insisted the exact opposite, and denigrated the OP in the process?

        Yes. Yes it was.

        • pop top says:


        • jaazzman says:

          If you were providing accurate information that actually dealt with this issue, MAYBE multiple postings would be appropriate…maybe, but since all you’ve done is provide the legal definition of advertisement and completely missed the laws around pricing, you’re multiple postings have done nothing but annoy everyone else.

        • failurate says:

          The problem with your posts are two-fold, the repetition and the fact that you are very much wrong.

        • Shadowfax says:

          Yes, well, I read the law that you pointed to. It has a “gross error” exception which is defined in section 3 as “provided, however, that the seller shall have no obligation to sell such item at the lowest represented price if it is the result of a gross error,”

          So, kindly stop muddying the waters with this BS, as the law does not back you up, even in Massachusetts, and there is further no indication that this transaction occurred in that state in the first place.

    • Endless Mike says:

      You should post this in case anyone missed it the first 10 times you did.

    • barty says:

      And in the same code, there is a provision that exempts retailers from honoring a price if it is a gross error. Several states have such codes on the books, but it is meant to make a retailer honor a relatively small error (ie., an item is marked on the shelf at $90, but rings up at $100) but does not force them to sell the same $100 item for $10 because someone put the decimal point in the wrong place, as happened here.

  24. Amnesiac85 says:

    Wow. I know several people that posted this deal on Facebook, laughing at the obviously screw up on Amazon’s part. A few people tried to buy, saying that maybe Amazon will give them something for the screw up. They didn’t get the PS3 obviously, and though didn’t get any compensation, they didn’t hold their hand out to Amazon and say “YOU OWE ME.”

    They don’t owe you anything. Entitlement, sheesh.

  25. Watcher95 says:

    The summary page before placing the order clearly identified the item as the move controller thingy.

    • GuyGuidoEyesSteveDaveâ„¢ says:

      Actually, if you looked up the ASIN# listed on the page, it said it was for the system itself, NOT the controller.

  26. Endless Mike says:

    They shouldn’t have to “make up” for the pricing error given that she knew it was too good to be true.

  27. SixOfOne says:

    Yep, I’d seen this over at deals woot and thought “what the heck, the worst they can do is cancel it.” And sho’nuf, it was cancelled. Too bad, so sad. Not worth complaining about.

  28. Tedsallis says:

    If Best Buy had done this you’d be calling for their heads.

  29. mudster says:

    They owed her NOTHING. It was obviously a mistake. She was really trying to rip them off, at least that’s how I look at it. If she got it, well fine I guess, but to complain about it after they caught it is just stupid on her part. This is not a consumerist issue at all.

  30. ITDEFX says:


    Did you really think you were going to get a PS3 for that price? LOL!! The only reason why your bitching here is so that target will call you and honor a glitch because they got embarrassed that your calling them out on Consumerist. fuck off and pay for it like everyone else does.

    • consumerd says:

      You read my mind!

      It’s obvious it was a pricing error and they didn’t charge the card. She knew full and well it stood as least a 90% chance it would be canned, then to come to consumerist and complain about it is icing on the cake!

      Sorry… no sympathy for the OP here. Pricing errors happen locally and online. If something goes for $30 and you knew good and well that it should have been as least 10x that, don’t be surprised they cancelled the order.

      sorry you couldn’t make your 5-9% profit.

      • ITDEFX says:

        The only way I could have seen her fight it and possibly win is if she saw that price one one or more in store tags, with the item number, also saying “normally xxx.xx” and the dates of the sale.

        Something similar happened to me at several local targets a few months back. I fought for it and won because I had physical proof.

        When Halo Reach came out they had several promos going on. At my local target and later seen at other targets in the area, they had Halo Reach 12 Month Xbox live subscription card 19.99 (reg 49.99..before the price increase)…didn’t say with purchase of Halo reach game or xbox system. It was dated for the entire week and it was already Thursday and that sign was still up. So I took a picture with my cell and talked to the manager. The manager out right refused to honor the tagged advertisement. Then he made some bs story that you get that price after you buy the game with a gift card and threw out some weird number at me. I challenged him because he was making things up and I asked him to show me where it said that in the ad and he couldn’t. So I told him lets call corp. While on the phone at GS he was talking to another associate and I over heard him saying that he screwed up about the gift card deal since there wasn’t anything in his internal memos about this.

        I finally spoke to a rep from corp. Explained the situation and the tag I had in my hand. He put me on hold to do research. The manager then admitted he made a mistake and he’s gonna honor the price. The rep came back and said he’s going to go ahead an honor that pricing tag mistake because I am correct the store should honor it since it’s been 5 out of 7 days since that tag has been displayed and no one noticed or took it down. Was planning on just getting 1 card and walking out getting 3 cards for 20 each instead for 60 dollars total when it would have cost me 60 dollars for each card after the price increase. That’s really poor price team management imho if that tag was up for 5 out of 7 days and no one noticed. Saw the same mistake at other targets in the area. Could have fought for it, but honestly I have enough subscription cards for last me for years. That’s the only time you should fight for this…when it’s been up for days and you have some real in store signage to prove it and not some web site that can be altered in minutes.

  31. Burzmali says:

    It sucks to get your hopes up about some crazy deal, but mistakes that have no real effect on the customers don’t need to be resolved with anything other than an apology. No one’s credit card was charged. No harm, no foul.

  32. ajaxd says:

    Slow news day or something?
    They owe an apology which she probably got in the cancellation e-mail.

  33. mudster says:

    No way she should get anything, I think it’s immoral to complain after it was caught. She really thought it was a new lower price? Really? No, she didn’t.

    This should not be a consumerist issue, other then point out how unbelievably greedy and entitled some people can be.

  34. baha says:

    Read 6.13.3:
    ..unless the material error is a “gross error” or unless the seller offers a comparable product at comparable savings, acceptable to the reasonable consumer and to all prospective buyers unable to purchase the advertised product until the corrected information has been posted within the store. A “gross error” shall have the same meaning as provided in 940 C.M.R. 3.00.

    Look at 940 C.M.R 3.00:
    A “gross error” is a price which was never intended as the selling price at any time during the previous 30 day period ..

    It will fall under gross error, so this does not apply here.

  35. seamer says:

    If it was in Australia, the price has to be honored. Once the merchant charges the card, the deal is signed. They cannot revoke it. Dell has done this many, many times and loses out.

    • pop top says:

      If you had actually read the article, you would’ve noticed the part where the OP said Target never charged her card. Specifically, it’s the first sentence in the second paragraph. HTH.

    • RedOryx says:

      But her card wasn’t charged.

  36. pop top says:

    Please do not stop repeatedly posting this everywhere!

  37. John Gage says:

    Anyone know what would have happened if this occurred in Massachusetts?

  38. Crim Law Geek says:

    What if this happened in Massachusetts? Anyone know what the law regarding this is up here?

  39. ap0 says:

    It was awesome when Consumerist dealt with actual consumer issues, not trying to make companies look bad because they don’t give in to whatever insane demands consumers have.

    People make mistakes. Get over it.

  40. NickelMD says:

    Seriously folks. If you don’t like what consumerist posts…. don’t click that post. That’s the amazing thing about the internet. If you are not interested in something, don’t click the link. Its not like Consumerist is popping up on your screen opening windows like a porn site.

  41. MyLiLPony says:

    absolutely nothing. c’mon now. a PS3 for $50? get real. if you think you’re going to get that kind of deal, there’s a few sites out there that guarantee you up to $80K/year working from home. to start off all you gotta do is send me a cashiers check of $500 and i will send you the kit to help you start your own business from home.

  42. Cicadymn says:

    “should Target have offered some sort of monetary apology for people like me “

    OP is the problem with the US. She saw an obviously wrong price (which she wont admit to even though it’s clearly wrong, because admitting that would hurt her case.) And then when she didn’t get a $300-400 machine for the incorrect price she immediately goes into thinking about how target needs to pay her anyways because of an obvious error.

    I’ll admit I saw it, the day of, but I wasn’t stupid enough to think that rug wouldn’t get pulled out from under me.

    No one owes you anything.
    You’re not entitled to jack.
    You’re not a special snowflake
    Deal with it.

  43. e065702 says:

    For those of you that believe the vendors should not be held accountable for the mistakes on their website, keep in mind that if the transaction mistake were the other direction, i.e. a buyer had accidentally made a purchase at too high of a price, it is unlikely the vendor would give them a refund.
    That transaction is (or at least should be) a legally binding transaction BOTH directions.
    It is a testament to how well the corporations have gamed the system in their favor that it is a legal transaction on the consumers part while the supplier has the right to renege on the deal any time they desire.

    • failurate says:

      I don’t think there is any conspiracy here. The laws are set up with the gross pricing error safety net to keep a company from being destroyed by printing errors.

    • Southern says:

      i.e. a buyer had accidentally made a purchase at too high of a price, it is unlikely the vendor would give them a refund.


      There was actually a story here about this just last week regarding QVC and a video game – Need for Speed: Shift.

      Don’t get me wrong, I know that mistakes happen, but there are laws that deal with this issue in regards to B&M stores, I think those same laws should apply to online deals as well. If they did (the laws applies), companies would start double checking these pricing changes before they get posted – perhaps requiring 2 people signing off on it before the price goes “live” on the website.

      This is certainly NOT an isolated incident. Over at FatWallet, you’ll see 4-5 of these a week. Sometimes the company stands behind the error and ships the product, and sometimes they don’t (and they cancel the order). Kinda like winning the lottery, I guess.

      *Disclaimer: I have never, ever, ever, tried to get in on one of these “deals” – usually because I always see them too late. :-) *

  44. HeyApples says:

    “This is The Consumerist. It is not The Site To Bitch About Every Little Thing That Goes Wrong While Shopping”


    My sympathy is nil for shoppers trying to take advantage of a situation when they know they’re in the wrong.

  45. jetsaredim says:

    There were a lot of people that got in on this. At one point, this item was one of the top 10 items on all of Amazon.

  46. WoollyMittens says:

    If it’s an obvious mistake, the shop cannot be held to the price. It saddens me that Julie should suddenly feel entitled to something.

  47. coren says:


    Obviously a price mistake (Julie admits as much). Which doesn’t mean that it’s ok for online retailers to constantly pull this shit. dell’s the worst offender, but it really sucks that online retailers can’t be held to the same standards brick and mortars can in terms of advertised price. At least they had a plausible excuse – I once had Office Max tell me that an item priced at 0.00 (yes, free) was a typo from the price they meant to put in, 16.99. How the fuck is that a typo? How?

  48. maevealleine says:

    Target owes you nothing. I hate it when greedy, slimy customers try to get away with stuff like this.

    • MMD says:

      Sometimes low-priced deals are actually legitimate. The OP was shown an advertised price. Is it “slimy” to attempt to purchase something at the advertised price? How was she supposed to know for certain that it was error as opposed to a loss leader for to drive web traffic?

      I’m not saying the OP deserves restitution. But I don’t think she deserves to be accused of doing something sleazy, either.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      I found a pack of dishtowels at Target, only one like them on the shelf. They scanned at a penny at the register, and that’s the price I paid for them. Am I ‘greedy or ‘slimy’ for paying that price?

      • Chaosium says:

        If they were worth 200$ and you called back to complain that you couldn’t get them for a penny, you would be.

  49. rugman11 says:

    But without Phil, how will we ever know when consumers are “crying fowl”.

    Seriously, though, this is a non-story. Companies make mistakes. The OP clearly thought it was just a pricing error and never even expected to get it in the first place. She is out no time or money for the mistake and she should be given no compensation.

  50. PsychicPsycho says:

    I’m a MA resident and I actually ordered this. Unfortunately, I found some further clarification on the law that as long as they correct their mistake in the same medium within a reasonable time, they don’t have to sell it for the listed price.

  51. ZukeZuke says:

    This was clearly an error and the OP tried to exploit it. She should get the difference between a sit and a stand – i.e. squat.

  52. TalKeaton: Every Puzzle Has an Answer! says:

    I bought this as well, expecting nothing. Surprise, I got nothing! Target/Amazon did exactly what their policy dictates they do in this situation.

  53. Qolotlh says:

    Generally websites have, in small print just like print ads, they are not responsible for pricing errors.

  54. Eyeheartpie says:

    Just kind of as an FYI, people saying she should be able to get a 60gb PS3 at the advertised price should know that the 60gb PS3 has been discontinued for years.

    • golddog says:

      Thank you! I was reading through the comments looking for this. Target hasn’t had a 60GB PS3 for sale for probably 2 years.

      But what if they had one for sale in Mass…?

  55. BBP says:

    I don’t think Target owes her anything – it was a pricing error, nothing more. The sad fact is that she is pursuing this as if they should compensate for their mistake, but seriously…

    How long did it take her to order the PS3? A minute?

    Honestly, she is out nothing, they didn’t charge her card, they sent her an explanation and that should have been that. On top of that, she had to have KNOWN that it was an error, so taking advantage of it makes her role far more dubious – bordering, in my opinion, on theft. Sure, it’s their error, but crying foul because you couldn’t take advantage of a company that made a simple mistake? That’s pretty cold.

  56. pop top says:

    Why are you ignoring all the posts that point out you’re wrong?

    • Pax says:

      Do you know how to check a time-stamp on posts? It’s only now that I have seen those other citations, indicating that an error of a specific size is excused on behalf of the merchant.

      Note: I never claimed to be an attorney.

      But, yes, in this specific case, yes, the mistake is obviously big enough that Target would be off the hook. However, that doesn’t excuse the great torrent of people who posted that ANY mistake is the customer’s problem, and tough luck. For example, if the item in question was supposed to be sold for $300, and was accidentally listed for $250? Tough luck for the merchant. Despite all the “pricing mistakes happen; tough luck, lady” comments here.

  57. mikeron says:

    I recall a law in California that said if a retailer had a product advertised for a certain price, whether that price was a mistake or not, the retailer had to honor the price. If they had a cashmere sweater with a $10 price tag and you took it to the register the law said it was yours for $10. I don’t know if this law has been changed or if it would apply to Amazon (I don’t know what state they’re located in) but if they are in California and the law hasn’t changed (or if other states have similar laws) it would seem they would be required to honor the purchase. Can anyone weigh in on this?

  58. jeblis says:

    Why do people suddenly feel entitled when there is a pricing mistake?

  59. shotgun_shenanigans says:


  60. Nigerian prince looking for business partner says:

    What are the laws regarding pricing errors in Massachusetts? Could somebody please clarify and provide an incomplete and misleading excerpt of the law?

  61. Angry JD says:

    She should sue. Offer, acceptance, and consideration were all valid. Mistake is not a defense. The retailer was an experienced business. She should sue for the original deal + all costs associated in bringing the deal to a close.

  62. framitz says:

    Pricing error, not obligated to honor the price.

  63. Riroon13 says:

    I remember when my sister’s wedding was ruined (she planned to marry in Smokey Mountains in a chapel that also offered private cabins — less than TWO WEEKS before the wedding, the property manager called to inform that the cabins had been sold to a private buyer). I wrote to both and; neither cared for the story. I understand that, as you can’t go on a campaign for everybody… Then I read stuff like this and wonder how a ‘misprint’ is more valuable a journalistic item than a ruined wedding.

  64. Hi_Hello says:

    target/amazon should billed her for the 50.02 on her credit card. Then they should apologized and refund that money in a month or so. Maybe that will get her to appreciated the fact that they didn’t charge her in the first place for the mistake.

  65. sjgarg says:

    When my shopping cart store went online, using Zencart, all seemed well until my first order came in, worth 0.00$. -_-
    Upon investigation, the currency converter didn’t update properly after I had previously updated it. It listed a Canadian Dollar value of 0.00, which should have been 1.00. All other currencies being multiplied by 0.00 gave them values of 0.00 for their exchange rates.

    I canceled the order and apologized to the lady who ordered it. This wasn’t good enough for her. She got very angry and demanded I send her the items. I refused.
    I had no credit card informaiton, received no payment, should I be expected to take a loss of 200$ for my first order? It wasn’t an intentional error, she lost nothing either.

    Errors happen, most are unintentional. A bad chunk of code, or a mis-typed number or a misplaced decimal point. We’re only human and to expect an online store to honor a “too good to be true” price is pretty self entitled. No one is a special snowflake.

  66. DanKelley98 says:

    Target owes you nothing but an apology.

  67. firemunkie says:

    i saw this deal on cheapassgamers but the unit was out of stock from the time the deal went live also its for the old backwards compatible unit. this deal was never actually a valid one.

  68. rushevents says:

    I’m dismayed that that she was dismayed.

  69. thor79 says:

    I saw this product when it was posted as the link was spread in the ps3 jailbreak chatrooms. The primary title of the product said a PS3 system, but everything else was referring to the move gun controller. It was obviously a placeholder that got put up before it was supposed to be put up. I got all the way to the point of the order confirmation screen (after entering credit card details) and it still was referring to the move controller, and that’s when I removed it from my cart. I wasn’t about to get stuck with a Move controller for a system I do not own. (not to mention I hate FPS games on consoles)

    (and for those wondering I’m interested in the jailbreaking because I’m a former owner, and possibly an owner again in the future)

  70. adelig89 says:

    So she knew it was a mistake, wasn’t expecting it to go through, yet she was still “dismayed” to find the order cancelled. Okay. . .

  71. anduin says:

    Isn’t this just the same story you guys had in the summer where the dude got some 60 inch tv for $200 and was threatening to sue if the store didn’t honor the price?

  72. Andyb2260 says:

    Hey did you know that they would have to honor that price in Massachusetts? :-) If I had to read that one more time I’d scream.
    Seriously though, what was the OP expecting? She said she knew it was an error. Compensation? Why? What did it cost you?

  73. Aaron Poehler says:

    Boo hoo. The sense of entitlement of someone who tried to take advantage of what they likely knew was probably a pricing error is ridiculous.

  74. Vitae says:

    This actually happened about 2 years ago from a printer company, basically they listed their printer on the website for 49.99 and the actual retail price was 249.99. A lot of people (including myself) jumped at the opportunity. About a week later I get a letter in the mail explaining the situation, but instead of just giving me a refund they actually offered me a similar model (retail about 169.99) for the same price, or a refund. Naturally I chose the offer of the similar model, I still have that printer today and it still runs great :)

  75. carlogesualdo says:

    Nothing. It’s obviously a fat-finger mistake. Somebody left out a digit. Anyone with an ounce of common sense could see that.

  76. Forrest says:

    This is not a story. It was a pricing mistake, on a product that isn’t even in production anymore. It’s funny that you cover this story, but did not even mention the Fry’s Black Friday debacle.

  77. wildcardjack says:

    I remember trying to get a Toshiba Libretto for the improbably low price of $12.99 from a small time distributor. I was hoping it would fly in under the radar and get processed and shipped before anyone noticed. That was on a Saturday and come Monday my entire transaction ceased to have even existed.

    I wrote them, out of curiosity, and they replied that there had been over a thousand orders for Librettos.

    I’d bet that Target (really Amazon) got a flood of orders and it triggered a flag. Probably the ones that really got their attention were the orders for 50 units.

  78. Gorbachev says:

    “Dismayed”. Hehhehe

    Everyone and their dogs knew that’d happen.

    Furthermore that particular PS3 model hasn’t been manufactured for a few years now. There was NO way any of the people who ordered it were getting it.

  79. Cetan says:

    This one and the Receipt Checker story have made for a quality Phil day.

    A lady complains because she didn’t to shaft Target out of $360, and an LP feeds us stock lines in a wall of text.

    Thanks Phil!

  80. ryder02191 says:

    f nl Cnsmrs’ nn knw hw mch Phl, lng wth wht hs rcntl bcm qt th slss nd lghbl “cnsmr rghts” st, s dstryng thr brnd. t’s wfll sd whn hv mr rspct fr Gwkr Md s lgtmt src f jrnlstc cpblt.

    • Chaosium says:

      “If only Consumers’ Union knew how much Phil, along with what has recently become quite the useless and laughable “consumer rights” site, is destroying their brand”

      The site isn’t THAT bad, but Phil’s articles are terrible.

  81. mdoneil says:

    Yes, everyone is a victim. I’d involve the government, sue or call the FTC.

    Somebody owes you something because you exist, you don’t have to take this lying down. Call your member of Congress, call President Obama!

  82. badaboomxx says:

    wow it’s like I don’t get a super discount that clearly is an error, so I want something free.

  83. I wumbo. You wumbo. He- she- me... wumbo. Wumbo; Wumboing; We'll have thee wumbo; Wumborama; Wumbology; the study of Wumbo. says:

    Sometimes, I think Consumerist post articles like this because many readers keep their pitchforks nearby.

  84. shadmed says:

    I don’t know if we read the same email but she’s not bitching about getting the product.

  85. Mrs Moon says:

    Scam a store when you knew better, shame on you Julie! For christmas this year I gave my husband a guitar, I knew he would exchange it after christmas but I wanted him to have a gift he could touch, rather than a gift card. After christmas we went to the guitar store and he found the one he wanted. While there I asked if he needed a stand, picks, a strap, a humidifier and finally a case, yep he said yes to all. No longer was I aware of how much I was spending and was surprised by the total, it was a little lower than I expected. When I got home and saw we were not charged for the $110 case. I called the salesman and made him aware of the missed item. I offered my cc over the phone but he said if we could come back the next day that would be great. When we return the next day, he gave us 10 percent off the case, we said it wasn’t needed but he did it anyway, he said not to many people would be so honest!

  86. shepd says:

    Look, price errors work this way. Sometimes you get lucky, sometimes you don’t. On the internet, you deserve a, say, 5% off your next purchase coupon. IRL, you generally end up with nothing, and that actually COSTS you.

    Example: A $699 projector was supposed to be $200 off at Staples, but was entered in their system for a sale price of $200. As soon as I heard about it, I went to Staples. They refused to sell it to me. I drove to another two Staples. I found one that didn’t know it was a screw up, and now I have a cheap projector. I could have wasted $20 in gas and come home with nothing, but that’s the nature of the game.

    Does the hunter get angry at his prey when it escapes? The disappointment should be all yours.

  87. Midnight Harley says:

    You’re an idiot. No company would EVER honor that low of a price for a game console unless it came out 10 years ago.

  88. BlazerUnit says:

    “What, if anything, do you think is proper for Target to do for Julie to make up for the pricing error?”

    $39.99 off the actual intended $399.99 price, waved shipping fees, and sincere thanks for notifying them of their cluster#@^& of a pricing error.

  89. clickable says:

    What is proper for Target to do for Julie is refer her to the their Pricing Policy which will explain that they are not bound to honor pricing error. In the event that Julie is indeed encountering a pricing error for the first time, she will now know the drill for the future. If she already had prior experience with such situations, this will reinforce what she already knew and either forgot or chose to ignore.

    Julie, if it’s any comfort, you’re in fine company.

  90. clickable says:

    Point her to their pricing policy. Sorry, Julie. If it’s any comfort, you’re in fine company.

  91. mariospants says:

    Saw a similar thing on the site: you could purchase an Xbox 250GB Kinect bundle for $299 ($100 off the regular price) but they never followed through, even though the price remained on the site for two weeks.

  92. Chaosium says:

    “should Target have offered some sort of monetary apology for people like me were expecting a ridiculously great deal (free shipping on my next order, $5 gift card, and additional discount of sorts, etc.)?”

    No, you’re parasites.

  93. Chaosium says:

    The Consumerist should stop taking story ideas from Veruca Salt.

  94. jiubreyn says:

    She reminds me of the iPad 2 guy at Target story. The store made a mistake and corrected it, but since I pointed it out to them they should give me something for it, but aren’t. Wah.