Robert McLaws: Windows Edition

Blogging about Windows since before Vista became a bad word

Best Buy Just Lost My Business Forever

Consider this scenario:

You're shopping online for a new DVD player. You see that Best Buy is having a great sale, and decide to go in the store to pick it up, because you want it really bad. You get there, and the salesman is more than happy to tell you all about it. Then you bring up the fact that you saw a better price on BestBuy.com. So the employee takes you over to the computer, and navigates to what appears to be the company website, and shows you a price that matches the price on the shelf. "Oh, they must have just updated the website", the salesperson tells you. Unsure whether to be disappointed or pissed, you begrudgingly pay full price for the item, and take it home. The salesperson woudn't lie to you, right?

Well, this article I just read proves just that. It seems that Best Buy had an internal version of their public facing website that listed different prices.

Under pressure from [Connecticut] state investigators, Best Buy is now confirming my reporting that its stores have a secret intranet site that has been used to block some consumers from getting cheaper prices advertised on BestBuy.com.

...

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ordered the investigation into Best Buy's practices on Feb. 9 after my column disclosed the website and showed how employees at two Connecticut stores used it to deny customers a $150 discount on a computer advertised on BestBuy.com.

...

Based on what his office has learned, Blumenthal said, it appears the consumer has the burden of informing Best Buy sales people of the cheaper price listed on its Internet site, which he said "is troubling."

What is more troubling to me, and to some Best Buy customers, is that even when one informs a salesperson of the Internet price, customers have been shown the intranet site, which looks identical to the Internet site, but does not always show the lowest price.

I wouldn't be surprised if Best Buy isn't the only major retailer that does this. Either way, this kind of deception should not be tolerated. The easiest way to show them customers won't stand for being mislead is to stop being their customers. I'll never step foot in another Best Buy ever again, and I'd strongly urge my American readers to do the same. There are plenty of other online retailers who are far cheaper anyways. Newegg.com isn't going to have an internal website to mislead their customers.

And people say Wal-Mart is the evil one.

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Comments

  • Iain said:

    While this is a deceptive practice by what I consider to be an otherwise good company, there is a very simple and effective way to avoid this scam. Buy on-line for pick up at your local Best Buy store. I have done this several times to secure great prices on various items at Best Buy.

    March 3, 2007 7:46 AM
  • JoeM said:

    When ever I had this problem, I just brought in a printout from their website.  If they gave me problems, I would say I will go to staples.  They give me a 110% price match.  10% off the difference.  So I end up with it cheaper :)

    March 3, 2007 7:47 AM
  • Peacho said:

    Wouldn't this be considered bait-and-switch tactics? Sounds pretty sneaky too me.

    March 3, 2007 2:05 PM
  • peconi said:

    This is just amazing. Quite smart on their part, but then stupid as well.

    I usually buy everything on NewEgg.com :)

    Petar

    www.VistaJuice.com

    March 3, 2007 3:41 PM
  • Thom said:

    Smart?  Fooling the customers? Nope! not smart at all!

    The important matters isn't sale. It's resale. So you want to keep your customers happy. Not pull dirty tricks like this.

    March 3, 2007 7:47 PM
  • Anthony said:

    BestBuy has a policy that if you find a better price you can return and get a discount matching the "competitor" plus 3% of the difference. Might be something to consider.

    March 4, 2007 1:34 AM
  • Jason said:

    Best Buy lost my business when they screwed me over with appliances and installation. I bought a new dryer (electric) and they said they'd install it and take the old one out (which was gas). I took the day off work (because they won't tell you WHEN they're coming), came up, looked at the gas and said I had to hire a plumber to disconnect it. This was after the salesman swore to me that the installers would disconnect and remove the old gas dryer. All they needed to do was to shut off the valve and disconnect it. They wouldn't even wait for me to do it. And, to top it off, they left, truck and all, after leaving my front door wide open (in the Summer, when the Air Conditioning is on), not once telling me they'd be back the following week. it's a good thing I complained about it on the phone, because they'd when I learned they'd be back the following week.

    Never again. I have since bought probably $2,000 worth of computer equipment ,not to mention appliances, CDs, and XBox 360 and tons of games and controllers. They lost all of my business, just because either the salesman lied to me to get a sale, or having clueless delivery people.

    Fight the good fight, dude.

    March 4, 2007 2:05 PM
  • Dan said:

    I thought everyone knew this?   The in-store prices are never as good as the online prices.   I believe that BestBuy's website makes some claim that the pricing is "online-only".  It doesn't mean you cannot purchase it online and pick it up at the local store, just that the purchase needs to be made online before going to the store.   Circuit City is the same way.

    March 5, 2007 9:45 AM
  • Philip Elder said:

    The rule of thumb is, "Buyer Beware".

    If it appears too good to be true, get the evidence first.

    The retailer has no choice but to follow through, or face problems with a very dissatisfied customer.

    The Internet is a very powerful tool for this, as that dissatisfaction with one turns into many very quickly.

    Philip E.

    March 7, 2007 7:43 PM
  • March 8, 2007 10:55 PM