The Art of the Glitch: How to Cash In When Retailers Mess Up

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Posted on 12/13/2013

Treadmills for $33 and $300 speakers for just $30? No, this isn't a clearance rack deal or a Craigslist score. These are actual prices reported last month when a technical error caused Walmart.com to offer absurd discounts on hundreds of items. The glitch caused a buying frenzy and some customers were actually able to pick up their purchases in store before Walmart canceled the orders and issued a free $10 gift card as an apology. Glitches like this happen fairly often and it's possible to cash in when retailers mess up.

Be Ready to Pounce
If a glitch occurs, be ready to make an immediate purchase. Glitches can disappear quickly and usually those customers who got their orders in at the beginning have the best luck of actually cashing in. So don't put off buying something you want that is deeply discounted due to a glitch.


Track Items
Finding out about a glitch can be the tough part. One way to stay informed is to track items you want using the free service hukkster. Install a Hukk It button on your bookmarks bar. If you see something you want, hukk it and the site will alert you of store-wide promos and coupon codes that will save you money on the items you want most. If the price is lowered because of a glitch, you'll find out about it.


Keep Up with Couponers
The coupon community is good about finding and sharing glitch deals when they pop up. Find experts you like on social media sites like Twitter and Instagram. Check their feeds on a regular basis so that when you see a sweet deal you can snap it up as quickly as possible.


Follow the Instructions Carefully
Taking advantage of a glitch isn't always as easy as adding an item to your shopping cart and checking out. Sometimes it involves a multi-step process of coupon codes, text messages and app downloads. Follow the instructions carefully and you'll have the best odds of scoring a great deal.


Use PayPal
Once in a while a glitch is the result of a hacker who has compromised a website's security. It can be best to pay with your PayPal account so that you don't have to worry about your credit card numbers falling into the wrong hands.


Don't Get Attached
Sometimes deals go through, sometimes they don't. If your order is canceled, complaining to customer service may not make much difference since they were probably losing money on your transaction anyway. Don't count on a deal to go through until the shipment shows up on your doorstep, and if it does, think of it as an added bonus. If it doesn't, just wait until the next glitch comes around and, who knows, you may end up with an even better deal.


By Alison Storm


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* Hot deals expire quickly. This deal may no longer be valid.

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