This weekend Sears.com was selling an iPad 2 16GB WiFi model for $69, discounted from $744.99. If something doesn’t sound right about any of those prices it’s because the $69 price is a mistake and the $744.99 “standard price” is ridiculously high. Both prices are the reason you should never buy an iPad from Sears.
At this point, you should be damn careful before you buy anything from Sears.com, lest you accidentally purchase from a third-party seller with inflated prices and pretend discounts.
Sears.com $69 iPad Price Mistake
Shoppers who ordered the 16GB iPad 2 for $69, or the 32GB iPad 2 model for $179, have had their orders cancelled by Sears. Sears posted that, “unfortunately, yesterday one of the Marketplace third-party sellers told us that they mistakenly posted incorrect pricing information on two Apple iPad models on the Marketplace portion of the website.” Sears has the right to cancel pricing mistakes, just like any retailer, thanks to the fine print on their websites. That incident may have upset shoppers, but the current market practices at Sears should frustrate them even more.
Sears Marketplace Makes it Easy To Trick Shoppers
The bigger issue is that Sears blends the third-party market right into the Sears results and even allows the third-party sellers to input the retail price and discount price of products. Additionally, the average shopper would be hard pressed to figure out that they are purchasing from “DamLowPrices” instead of Sears due to the way the Sears Marketplace is designed.
Right now a search for iPad 2 on Sears.com results in three overpriced search results, in the top four results. The following iPad 2 deals at Sears are listed below, along with the actual retail price.
- iPad 2, 16GB WiFi Only – $744.99 – Apple Retail $499
- iPad 2, 16GB WiFi Only – $924.99, claimed retail $1,100 – Apple Retail $499
- iPad 2, 64GB WiFi+3G – $1,239.99, claimed retail $1,299 – Apple Retail $829
These prices aren’t reflecting a great iPad 2 shortage: they’re just horrible prices aimed at taking more of your money. The current iPad 2 ship-time is 1 to 3 business days, which reflects the demand, and will get you an iPad pretty fast.
These practices are unfriendly to consumers and allow third-party sellers to use Sears.com to take advantage of customers. Best practices would suggest that Sears not allow vendors to create fictitious regular prices to make their sale prices look better. How else can you make a $925 iPad 16GB WiFi model sound like a good deal? The only way I know of is to make up a regular price of $1,100 so you can advertise $175 in savings.
Sears Marketplace Makes it Easy to Take Advantage of Shoppers
Unlike Amazon, where shoppers have come to expect third-party sellers, Sears is a traditional brick and mortar store, which shoppers assume translates into the online space. I know that my in-laws, who love Sears, would have had no clue they were ordering from a third-party and overpaying.
The price error shows a small issue with the third-party marketplace at Sears.com, but highlights a larger problem that exists in the form of unchecked and unclear third-party sellers and prices. Sears would be well served to create official product pricing for items like the iPad 2 so that it is clear to shoppers that they are overpaying and not purchasing directly from Sears.