For 20 years it's been a given: shop online and save money, compared with going to the mall or shopping center.
But an Indiana woman claims that's not always the case anymore with Walmart.
Patti Brooks uses a wheelchair to get around her Versailles, IN apartment. So she often shops online at Walmart.com.,as someone has to drive her to the store.
But recently, she says, "I went online and they had two different prices. One for if you wanted free 2-day shipping and one if you wanted to pick it up in the store."
Brooks couldn't believe that her online price was now higher than it was just a couple of months ago.
For instance, with her favorite Great Value bite size tortilla chips, she said, "with 2-day shipping it is $3.83. But if you order it online and pick it up in the store it is only $1.74."
Her baby wipes, she said, are now $2 more online. "I get this big box of Parent's Choice baby wipes, and they're usually $13.47, and now they are $15.47 online," she said.
Online shopping used to be cheaper
A few years back some shoppers complained that Walmart had cheaper prices online. They were upset the store wouldn't match the lower price on their website. Now it seems just the opposite is happening.
We did a quick check of the nearby Aurora, Indiana store, and found Brooks' baby wipes were indeed $2 less in the store, at $13.47 (as opposed to $15.47 online).
Her tortilla chips were cheaper too, in store.
We contacted Walmart, where Director of Corporate Communications Danit Marquardt said not all prices are higher online.
"Our online prices are sometimes different than our stores prices; some items are priced lower and some are priced higher," she said in a statement.
But she said store pickup is often cheaper because "it simply costs less to sell some items in stores." (See full statement below)
But Patti Brooks, who can't easily get to the store, says it hurts the elderly and disabled. "It's very unfair," she said. "I am not just talking for myself but for everybody."
Others are noticing: A message board on SlickDeals.net has almost two dozen complaints about Walmart recently raising online prices, beginning in September 2017.
A New York Post report in August said that Walmart would begin offering discounts for shoppers picking up certain online items in the store, though it said nothing about some prices creeping higher online.
But the bottom line: if you are placing an order at Walmart, check carefully to see if you'll get a lower price by picking your item up in the store, so you don't waste your money.
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Full Walmart Statement:
“We always work to offer the best price online relative to other sites. Our online prices are sometimes different than our stores prices – some items are priced lower and some are priced higher.
It simply costs less to sell some items in stores. Customers can access those store prices online when they choose to pick up the item in store through Pickup Today, if available for that item.”
Director, Walmart Corporate Communications