Could this be? Is it for real? Or is something else going on here?
Edgar Dworsky, who runs the website ConsumerWorld.org spotted the mistakes and let me know about them. Dworsky is a super shopper and he's baffled by the "list prices" he finds posted for some grocery items on Amazon.
"When you're talking that a 4-pack of popcorn is over $200, there's something wrong with that list price," Dworsky said. "It seems like the prices are just picked out of the sky and they multiply by $100. I mean, they're just crazy."
I decided to see for myself on Amazon and had no trouble finding the same wacky list prices. Then I went shopping at my local supermarket to get a ballpark idea of the real selling price.
One example I used was Splenda with Fiber. Amazon's Price: $4.39 but their list price was $553. The supermarket price was $5.49.
How about a 6.8 ounce box of Rice A Roni Beef? Amazon's Price: $1.48, but their list price? $141.75. It was on sale at the supermarket for $1.25.
Could this be a case of simply putting the decimal point in the wrong place?
"It clearly is a mistake," Dworksy said. "I mean, no one in their right mind is going to say that a box of Rice-A-Roni normally sells for $141. It does let them say, 'Oh look, save 96%.' But obviously it's a crazy price. My sense is something has gone wrong, whether it's importing of data from one computer to another, but it's not the matter of a decimal point just being moved over one place."]
So what does Amazon say about this? In a short email, someone in the public relations department wrote: "We are working to rectify this situation to ensure accurate savings are listed on all product pages."
I don't know what's going on here, but it's not right. Consumer protection laws say "list prices" shown in advertisements must be real and not some made-up figure.
My advice: whenever you shop for anything ,forget about huge savings claims from the supposed "list prices." Always compare the price of an item at one store (or website) with the actual selling price of other retailers.