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May 28 2007   2:18PM GMT

Beware Best Buy

Brein Matturro Profile: Brein Matturro

An eWeek article recently reported that Connecticut’s Attorney General Richard Blumenthal is suing Best Buy for deceptive advertising practices. According to the article, the prices listed on the in-store kiosks were higher than prices advertised on Bes tBuy.com.

In the article Blumenthal is quoted as saying, ” The in-store site was an internet look-alike, commonly with higher prices, that were charged to customers.”

The lawsuit asks restitution be paid to customers who paid the higher price because of Best Buy’s misrepresentation.

I decided to peruse the blogosphere; this is what I found.

A Techdirt blogger named Joe Weisenthal posted an expose dated February 9th. Best Buy’s in-store Web site might not be BestBuy.com reports that customers who were drawn to a sale advertised on BestBuy.com were told — once they were at the store– that the sale was over. Employees pulled up price information from the in-store kiosks. One savvy customer got on a computer in the store and checked on the actual BestBuy.com, which listed the sale as ongoing. This customer concluded that the electronic megastore had a secret internal Web site that looked like the real site. 

On March 2nd, techdirt blogger Mike Marsnick wrote, “We had more than a few Best Buy employees confirm that such an internal site exists.

A Hartford Courant article, also dated March 2, reported that state investigators pressured the company into admitting to the fake  site.

Things aren’t looking good for Best Buy; however blogger Kyle Mom’s wrote “Best Buy is a great company.” He pointed at untrained empoyees who “don’t know how to access the external site” and posted this clip from a Best Buy employee newsletter.

“Have you ever had a customer come in with a BestBuy.com printout that reflected on price on a product, but when you looked it up on your in-store kiosk it was another price. That’s because the BestBuy.com kiosk in your store reflects your store’s pricing, not necessarily the online BestBuy.com offers….Be aware of the differences, so you can price match the prices the customer sees on BestBuy.com and avoid confusing the customer.”

My question is why the difference in price? Comments, questions, enlightenment? We’d love to hear from you.

1  Comment on this Post

 
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  • Brein Matturro
    From what I have learned from being a bby employee is that prices will vary from bestbuy.com and even from store to store. What I was told was that if a store is overstocked, say 5000 copies of Trend Micro, that they will decrease the price so they can get them "out the door". What I can speculate from that is bestbuy.com is also like a separate store but since we can order shipment from the same warehouses we can and should price match bestbuy.com. bestbuy.com also has a feature where you can have the product shipped to the store at no shipping cost to the customer. Personally i don't know about the "fake website" each bby has RSS which is the store's own pricing, sale periods, shipment scheduling, et cetera. Whereas the bestbuy.com is the actual website which can be accessed, and now is the only website that can be accessed on the floor model computers. Both RSS and bestbuy.com can be accessed from one of the toolkit terminals in their respective departments. As far as the floor model computers, from my knowledge those computers will give the true bestbuy.com website, type in the SKU, it's the bold letters on the bottom right of the yellow or white price tag located on the peg or shelf, 7 digits long, and you can do your own price comparison. If you are still wary, print out the bestbuy.com page and bring it to the store, if you still run into this problem, ask for the store manager or the customer experience specialist manager, those should be the two softies of the store that can get real stuff done.
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