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walmart television price Bad comma, big discount.

Misplaced comma gives shoppers a bargain price on TVs

Consumer protection agency sides with shoppers in argument with Walmart

A misplaced comma on a promotional sign at a Mexico City Walmart gave shoppers a better deal than they expected on flat screen TVs this week.

The store in the borough of Azcapotzalco priced the televisions at 24,988 pesos (US $1,300), but seven lucky customers paid only 2,498 pesos (US $130) because the comma was in the wrong place.

The error was noticed by several customers who attempted to take advantage of the situation but the store refused to honor the advertised price. So the customers called the federal Consumer Protection Agency Profeco.

The shoppers provided photographic evidence of the error, and after several hours of negotiations between Profeco agents and store employees, seven customers were allowed to pay the misquoted price for the TVs.

Wrongly placed commas are not infrequent on store displays and are generally costly to the stores. Profeco usually insists they honor the advertised price, no matter how big the discount.

Profeco director Ricardo Sheffield Padilla confirmed the outcome of the negotiations and said it was the department’s first intervention in the annual shopping event called Buen Fin (Good Weekend), taking place November 15-18.

For the first time since the beginning of Buen Fin in 2011, Walmart decided not to participate this year, opting to launch its own event, El Fin Irresistible (The Irresistible Weekend), a day earlier than other stores.

Profeco has mobilized 1,300 staff, installed 147 modules and deployed 323 mobile brigades in preparation for dealing with consumer complaints during the high-volume shopping weekend.

Sources: El Financiero (sp), Sin Embargo (sp)

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