Walmart customers kept accidentally buying $49 Walmart+ memberships at self-checkout, forcing the company to abruptly yank a promotion

Confusion over unintentional purchases prompts Walmart to remove self-checkout promotion for Walmart+ subscriptions, offering full refunds.

Confusion over unintentional purchases prompts Walmart to remove self-checkout promotion for Walmart+ subscriptions, offering full refunds.

  • Walmart has taken down an advertisement for Walmart+ subscriptions from their self-checkout monitors.
  • During Walmart Plus Week, the retailer has been offering steep discounts on memberships.
  • The store acknowledged that “some customer confusion with this process” resulted in unintentional purchases.

After a few Walmart customers made unintentional purchases of Walmart+ subscriptions while using the store’s self-checkout, Walmart has decided to abruptly end a promotion for the service.

In response to inquiries from Insider, Walmart stated, “We are aware of some customer confusion with this process which is leading us to remove the prompt.” Customers who accidentally used this promotion during self-checkout but have yet to redeem it will be given a full refund upon presentation of their receipt.

Some customers, it was reported earlier on social media, were seeking refunds after being taken aback by the $49 discounted membership that appeared on their receipts.

The promotion was part of Walmart Plus Week, the store’s response to Amazon’s Prime Day, during which memberships were discounted. The goal of Walmart Plus Week, which is similar to the Amazon promotion, is to increase membership of Walmart Plus, a service that ordinarily costs customers $98 per year, by offering deep discounts during the week.

Among Walmart+’s benefits are free shipping regardless of order size and a free trial of Paramount+.

The Federal Trade Commission has been investigating Amazon’s Prime program for allegedly encouraging customers to sign up for Prime despite how difficult it is to cancel. Prime Day, which took place on July 11 and 12, generated billions of dollars in sales for the e-commerce behemoth and prompted many people to sign up for the membership club.

Originally, Walmart has promoted membership to customers via self-checkout terminals in-store, making it simple to sign up for the program with only the click of a button and no need to provide any further information.

An internal Walmart document obtained by Insider stated that shoppers will be given a special activation number to use when signing up for the service online. The memo urged businesses to increase membership signups by holding a contest in which the most successful stores would be awarded prizes.

A push to grow Walmart+

For a while now, Walmart has been trying to increase the number of people who sign up for Walmart+. Some retail employees felt coerced into signing up for Walmart+ after Insider reported in August that the business was providing free memberships to store staff.

An employee from the Texas Walmart told Insider that an elderly customer who didn’t speak much English came to them earlier this week after they had received less change than expected from a self-checkout register. The cashier reviewed the client’s receipt and discovered that the customer had signed up for a Walmart+ membership and paid the $49 fee without recognizing what they were doing at the time.

The worker was afraid of retaliation from Walmart and wasn’t permitted to speak to the media, so they asked to remain anonymous. The identity of the insider has been confirmed.

The worker shared their story on the online forum Reddit. It has 1,600 upvotes because other people have reported having similar experiences in stores.

“It seemed to me that this was designed that way to make it super easy to accidentally or unknowingly add a subscription to your cart,” the worker stated. “There must be people out there who are accidentally paying for this Walmart Plus subscription, going home, and not even realizing that they are out of $50 and that they do not even know that they have a subscription,” said one.

Two other Walmart workers, whose identities have been confirmed by Insider, voiced concerns that the prompt’s availability in only English could lead to misunderstanding for consumers who don’t read English fluently.

Walmart is providing refunds for accidental purchases

The self-checkout promos were supposed to stop on July 13, when the stores closed.

Customers can return items for a refund at any Walmart location or on the company’s website.

Insider shopped for a Snickers bar at the self-checkout register at a Wisconsin Walmart for $2.28. After selecting the Buy Now option, a pop-up window promoting a $49 Walmart+ membership displayed, along with the choices “Not interested” and “Add membership to cart.”

When the latter was chosen, the total with tax came to $51.28, and the credit card terminal was activated. Another window popped up, this one explaining that an activation code could be found on the receipt and used to set up the account digitally.

Insider then brought the receipt to the service desk, where the $49 payment was refunded to him in full within two minutes.

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