What’s your problem? Wal-Mart won’t price match my discontinued TouchPad

Question: I bought an HP Touchpad from Wal-Mart recently. Shortly afterwards, I looked online and was shocked to see they had been discontinued.

I contacted Wal-Mart and was informed I was too late for exchange or return by one day. I informed them that Best Buy and HP are honoring the rebate or refund. They told me I was out of luck.

I would like to keep my touchpad and get the rebate — the difference between the current $149 price and the $499 I paid. Can you help me, please? — Nancy Heimstra, Flagstaff, Ariz.

Answer: HP’s decision to discontinue the TouchPad only a few weeks after releasing it shocked the technology world. And you’re right, both HP and Best Buy said they would do a price match any early adopters who got the TouchPad before the announcement.

But not Wal-Mart.

You could have returned the TouchPad under its refunds policy but you missed the deadline by a day. So technically, Wal-Mart didn’t have to do anything for you.

So what?

A quick online search reveals that Wal-Mart was dealing with TouchPad-related refunds on a case-by-case basis; some price matches were being honored while other customers were being shown the door.

Wal-Mart should have clearly stated its policy up front, the same way Best Buy and several other retailers did. I imagine it too was caught by surprise when HP made its startling announcement, and didn’t know what to do next.

This is one of those times when being an “early adopter” didn’t make any sense. (And I admit, I’m one of those people – so let that be a lesson to me!) You might want to wait a few weeks or months before buying the latest gadget.

Related story:   The price is wrong - but are you right?

I contacted Wal-Mart on your behalf. A representative got in touch with you and said that since this was a “special circumstance” it would price match the TouchPad.

Christopher Elliott

Christopher Elliott is an author, journalist and consumer advocate. You can read more about him on his personal website or check out his adventures on his family adventure travel site. Contact him at chris@elliott.org. Read more of Christopher's articles here.

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