Walmart Slammed for Overcharging Shoppers by Hundreds of Dollars
The retailer apologized and pointed to a glitch with a third-party vendor.
As one of the country's largest big-box stores, Walmart sells pretty much everything on your list—and they even offer subscription services. This includes Walmart's Beauty Box, which the retailer introduced in 2014. With a subscription, you get a new box of beauty goodies every season, paying just $6.98 every three months. This certainly sounds like a bargain, especially if you like to sample new wellness products before introducing them to your routine. But earlier this week, subscribers were shocked to learn that they'd been overcharged for their spring subscription box by hundreds of dollars. Read on to find out more about this costly mistake.
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Customers were infuriated when roughly $700 was deducted from their accounts.
On Tuesday, Twitter was flooded with complaints about Walmart's Beauty Box Subscription, as customers realized they'd been charged for 100 boxes instead of one. At the standard $6.98 rate, which includes shipping, customers were charged a grand total of $698.
"Well if you do Walmart beauty box, expect to be charged for $698 for ONE HUNDRED BOXES THIS MORNING!!!!" an angry user wrote on Twitter. "Woke up to my bank account being overdrawn by $401 because they charged me for 100 beauty boxes instead of $6.98 for my one.
"@Walmart @walmarthelp you guys charged my wife for 100 beauty boxes sending the account into the negative. How are we going to remedy this?" another user tweeted, attaching a screenshot of their order summary, which totaled $746.86 with taxes.
Aside from the inconvenience, several users also complained about the poor timing, as rent payments are typically due on the first of every month. "Hey @walmart! Your beauty box people charged me for 100 beauty boxes today instead of the ONE I ordered and I don't have an extra $750 hanging around when my rent is due tomorrow. Please fix this now!" another tweeted.
Walmart apologized for the glitch.
The issue appeared to be widespread, as more and more customers called for Walmart to address the issue. On Twitter, the Official Walmart Help account responded to users directly, and the company also issued a formal apology.
In a statement to Best Life, Walmart attributed the overcharges to a "coding error by a third party vendor," apologizing to subscribers that were affected.
"Brandshare, the company who operates the Beauty Box program, is working to complete refunds as soon as possible," Walmart spokeswoman Tricia Moriarty said. "We sincerely apologize for this mistake and any inconvenience this causes our customers."
One Twitter user posted a photo of a message seemingly from Brandshare, with an "update" on the recent charge. "We manage the Walmart beauty box subscriptions and we made an error," the note reads. "During our Spring billing cycle, some of our Walmart beauty box subscribers were incorrectly charged. All duplicate charges have been identified and are being corrected."
Brandshare informed customers that they should receive a credit within three to five business days, and that they would also receive a $100 Walmart gift card and complimentary spring and summer beauty boxes.
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This wasn't enough for some shoppers.
While Walmart is working to make things right, some subscribers are still quite upset, writing that they also had trouble getting in touch with customer service.
"@Walmart @walmarthelp @BrandShareUS You charged me for 100 beauty boxes for over $700 with no way of reaching anyone on the phone to fix this!" one exasperated customer wrote.
"I woke up yesterday to $739 charge. Cancelled my subscription, emailed repeatedly. Their 'fix' is $100 Walmart gift card & 2 free beauty boxes," a March 1 tweet reads, with the subscriber claiming they were actually charged $739 a second time.
Others said that the apology doesn't make up for the problems this has caused them. In response to the message from Brandshare shared on Twitter, one user wrote, "Like okay, thanks for the two free future beauty boxes, how do I pay my car insurance in two days."
Making matters worse, some users looked ahead and found they're slated to be charged for 100 boxes yet again. "Make sure you cancel because I looked and it's setting up for May to charge us for 100 boxes also!!!" a subscriber warned. "I'm canceling the second I get refunded just in case it somehow affects me getting the money back!"
An accompanying screenshot shows a scheduled charge of $698 every three months, with the next charge date on May 19.
There have been several complaints about overcharging lately.
This is far from the first time Walmart has faced backlash for overcharging customers.
In January, the North Carolina Department of Agriculture & Consumer Services (NCDA&CS) announced that Walmart—along with other discount retailers like Dollar General and Family Dollar—were fined for price scanning errors. In total, six Walmart stores reported errors, forcing them to shell out $22,830 in penalties. Fourteen Walmart stores were also fined in Dec. 2022, according to a press release from the NCDA&CS.
In early January, Walmart shoppers in Topeka, Kansas, claimed that they were double-taxed for food items, and a few weeks later, the retailer was also hit with a class-action lawsuit. Ohio resident Kevin Adelstein is now suing the company, claiming that Walmart charges more in-store than it does online.