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27 December 2007 @ 01:45 pm
Best Buy Lies - Evidence  
So. Best Buy lies*. This is generally know. See this story, for an example

Basically what happens is this: You see that a product is on sale at BestBuy.com, and is available for instore pickup. You head on over to your local store, grab the item, and it rings up at a higher (or non-sale) price. You say to the cashier, "Hey, it was cheaper on your website. Don't you guys price-match?" He says, "Sure, let me see the website." He brings up the website on their in-store kiosk, checks out the item, and says, "It says here on our website that it's actually the higher price. Maybe you were looking at a different product." You don't feel like fighting, so you just say, "Whatever," and pay, and leave. You get home, look up your product again, and sure enough, it's on sale at a cheaper price. What just happened?

Best Buy uses a fake in-store website on their kiosks which lists a higher price, so they don't have to price-match like they promise. Best Buy lies to you.

Now, I had read that this happens (Consumerist.com has been following this for a while) but I had never had it happen to me. I had gift certificates, and my eye had recently been drawn to a certain single-serve coffee maker, so I decided to buy one.

I looked up the price online, and sure enough, it was on sale. (About $7.50 cheaper. Not a fortune, but about the cost of extra coffee, so why not.) Knowing that Best Buy pulls these shenanigans, I printed off the page from their website showing the price:

Best Buy Lies - Part 1

See: $142.49.

I went to Best Buy, looked around for the coffee maker, and couldn't find it. So, I looked it up in their kiosk. Lo and behold:

Best Buy Lies - Part 2

Back up to the $149.99.

Those sons-of-bitches. So, prepared for battle, I eventually found the one I wanted, stacked near a wall, grabbed one, grabbed the accessories I wanted, and headed to the register.

Sure enough, guy rings me up, the coffee maker comes up at the higher price. I say, "That's on your website at a lower price," he says, "Do you have the website?" I pulled out the printout I had made at home showing the lower price. After scanning the printout and the item's box (trying to find a loophole?), he knocks $7.50 off the price, I pay and go home, happy to have my coffee maker, but slightly upset that they tried to rip me off.

So, lesson for the day: If you are going to buy something from Best Buy, check their website for prices, and print out the item you are looking for, showing the price. Keep that with you, and when they ring out out, watch their scanning, and show them the printout if they try to rip you off, too.

It's a deceptive practice, and they said they were going to stop it, but they haven't. Protect yourself - be an informed consumer.


(* Could this be a little strong? I mean, "BEST BUY LIES!!!!11!!" could be overdoing it a bit. Couldn't there be an innocent explanation, such as, "This is just showing their in-store prices." I'll admit, stores are not required to sell things at the same price online as in their stores. However! Their in-store kiosk display is specifically designed to look like bestbuy.com. This is a conscious choice, with no indication to the consumer that the web pages are different. There is no legitimate reason why their in-store kiosk has to look like a page for ordering products online. See, for example, the difference between the kiosk display and website for Border's Books and Music. The only explanation is that they are trying to avoid matching their prices online, despite their promise to do so. That makes them liars in my book.)
(Anonymous) on December 28th, 2007 04:25 pm (UTC)
$150 for a coffee maker? ahahahahahahahhaha. I have a cool pencil I'd like to sell you. They're only $10. If you want one painted orange, it's $15. I'll sharpen it for an extra $2.50.
kevinq2000kevinq2000 on December 28th, 2007 04:28 pm (UTC)
Does the pencil make a good cup of coffee? If so, we might have something to talk about.

corybanticfishcorybanticfish on December 29th, 2007 06:06 am (UTC)
I am in no way attempting to take away from your accusation that they are lying bastards, which I believe, but I will say that Paul, my favorite Best Buy clerk, came through for me. I wanted to buy the Sex and the City series for my sister and Best Buy was running a special from $200.00 to $75.00. I complained at checkout when they attempted to ring me up for full price. Paul called over two managers and twenty minutes later I walked out with it for $60.00.

Also Anonymous people are posting snarky comments to your journal! Congratulations! The nameless grumpy masses are taking notice.
kevinq2000kevinq2000 on December 29th, 2007 01:51 pm (UTC)
Well, that's the thing. The people who work there are people too, and some of them are good, and some of them don't care. To be fair, at no time did anybody point to the kiosk price and say "This is our online price." It's not the people who were lying, it's the company.

Also, Yay Anonymous People! The Consumerist ran my story. I'm a little disappointed only one anonymous person followed the link over and posted, but if you want to read a lot of internet tough-guy, low-grade snark, you should see their comment thread.

(Anonymous) on December 29th, 2007 08:58 pm (UTC)
RE: Best Buy and Borders Prices
I have never thought about comparing the prices listed from Best Buy online and their in store prices. It does show that you must be prepared to check things to keep from being charged a different price. As a Borders employee, I can testify to the fact that prices are higher on merchandise in stores than online. This is due however, to Amazon running the online site at www.borders.com. I'm not trying to tote the company line, but prices will be different with Amazon's power over pricing and the buyer's willingness to have the new item right now (thus paying higher prices and sales tax). This goes to show that you must be aware when shopping anywhere.
kevinq2000kevinq2000 on December 30th, 2007 02:53 am (UTC)
Re: Best Buy and Borders Prices
Indeed. I have absolutely no problem with a store having different prices online and in their store. When I worked at KB Toys, it was much as your situation at Borders.

The difference with Best Buy, however, is that they say, online and in stores, that they will match their online prices in their store, and then they mislead customers about the online price.

Having different prices: Cool.
Lying about having different prices: Not cool.