After doing some arduous work on the Scout this weekend I decided it was time to go to Best Buy to use up a gift card I got for my birthday. Along with that I needed to pick up a gift for someone. Prior to heading into Best Buy I looked up the item I wanted to gift to make sure they had it and to see the price. I was excited to see the price so reasonable for a recently released popular television series season box set. The price on the web is $44.99
Off we go to the Park Meadows Best Buy location. Immediately we seek out the item and notice the price is $59.99 on the box. I am not shocked, in the past I have often bought sale items which still display the full price sticker. I figure it will all be straightened out at the register. After perusing the DVD aisles looking for some movies to spend my gift card on we proceed to the checkout.
The girl at the checkout stand rings everything up, my two DVDs and the gift box set. Now my two DVDs were $9.99 and $14.99 and I had a $25 gift card. So if the box set rang up right after tax I should still be under $50. She tells me my total is $60 and some change and I was like WTF? So I look on her screen and mention the box set is only $44.99 on BestBuy.com.
She gives me the option to wait for a manager or buy the items and we can go to Customer Service and price match. I wait for a few minutes for a manager and no one shows, I see a line building up so I said, fine lets finish up the transaction and go price match, I know I’m right.
We take the newly purchased items over to Customer Service and she pulls up the website. Now I know a few things and one is the stores use a sort of Extranet, so it is made to look like the BestBuy.com website, but it is not. On top of that I have heard of price discrepancies like this before, but usually with big ticket items.
Anyway, she pulls up the DVD box set and it shows $59.99. Her explanation is well new pricing on Sundays. I mentioned it’s 2pm, I looked at the site at 1pm, I doubt the pricing changed. In the end she basically said I was wrong. I told her I would run home and this will get straightened out.
Yes I could have returned the product, but I was right, they were wrong and I was set out to prove it.
We hurried home because we had somewhere to be in an hour. I get online and bam $44.99. I call the store, talk to a kid in the DVD section, he confirms the discrepancy and comments on how “shitty” that is. Then he puts me through to Customer Service. I am totally calm mind you, just a bit frustrated. I explain my story to Customer Service, they wont help me and send me right to a manager. Now I have to explain the situation a third time and the manager is totally apologetic and works with me to get the difference with tax credited back.
In the end, yes I proved my point to Best Buy and I got the difference back and they still got the sale. The deeper lying issue is what the manager told me. The little website they use shows local pricing for the store, the bestbuy.com site shows national pricing meaning local pricing could be higher (or lower, doubtful) than the national. This leads me to believe Best Buy profiles markets and knows where they can get away with ripping off customers and where they can’t.
There is a lawsuit currently in the works for this very issue, no not with this DVD box set, but the price discrepancy. It was filed by the Connecticut State Attorney General’s office, below are a few links about it.
ABC news: Lawsuit Claims Best Buy Isn’t Living Up to Its Name
ARS Technica: Connecticut lawsuit accuses Best Buy of bait-and-switch
State of Connecticut: Attorney General, DCP Commissioner Sue Best Buy For Deceiving, Overcharging Customers
My recommendation is if you value your money, as always do a little research. Obviously if you don’t care that’s what they are after. Better yet, shop elsewhere, you can find the same items at other locations for the same price. Everyone does price matching these days.