Walmart Pickup and Delivery Customers Could Pay More Thanks to Updated Policy

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Walmart’s popular grocery service is changing its policy on product substitutions for online pickup and delivery orders — by passing the savings on to itself and the costs on to customers.

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According to Business Insider, an internal memo that was circulated and leaked in early September contained details about a move to start charging customers for substitutions even if they are priced higher than their preferred product choices. Walmart’s previous policy provided that customers would be charged the same price as their originally ordered item on more expensive substitutions.  

“Moving forward, customers will now pay the list price for specific substitution items made on their order,” the memo stated. “Customers and members will receive updates about this change in the Walmart app at various points in their shopping experience.”

Walmart will be complying with the industry standard now, joining competing retailers like Whole Foods and Instacart that have already adopted a pay-for-what-you-get online grocery system, according to Eat This, Not That. Kroger is one notable retailer that has stuck to providing substituted items at the originally ordered item price, per Insider.

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To help soften the blow of potentially pricier orders, Walmart will be tweaking its grocery system to give consumers more substitution choices when ordering.

According to the memo, the retail giant is looking to give customers “extra controls over what substitutions they receive when an item is unavailable,” including options for shoppers to select, save or cancel substitution preferences and receive real-time updates during the order process, per Insider.

Substituted items are a regular occurrence as products become unavailable between the time of ordering online and when a store shopper fills the order. Walmart takes into account product quality, size and type when choosing a substitute.

As Business Insider reported, the new substitution policy “will be updated in the coming weeks,” so expect to start seeing changes immediately.

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“There will be a bit of a transition period,” said a Walmart spokesperson to Insider. “But overall, this is pretty common, and we don’t anticipate customers would have an issue paying for items they’re receiving from us.”

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About the Author

David Nadelle is a freelance editor and writer based in Ottawa, Canada. After working in the energy industry for 18 years, he decided to change careers in 2016 and concentrate full-time on all aspects of writing. He recently completed a technical communication diploma and holds previous university degrees in journalism, sociology and criminology. David has covered a wide variety of financial and lifestyle topics for numerous publications and has experience copywriting for the retail industry.
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