I had a huge Reward Zone coupon to redeem, so I decided to splurge on the Megadeth Warchest five-disc box set that I’ve been wanting since it came out a few weeks back. I checked Bestbuy.com and it said that a store right by work had it (one of only two in the entire Phoenix area to have it), and it was priced at $49.99 on sale. On my way out to pick up Amanda, I stopped by to pick it up, and found it marked at $57.99. No surprise there – that’s the regular price, and Best Buy rarely puts sale tags on things. I was sure it would ring up correctly. Wrong – it came up full price, and I told the cashier that it was on sale online. She checked, and came back saying the “local price is $57.99.”
I don’t know if anyone else is aware or not, but Best Buy is fighting a lawsuit under which they are accused of bait-and-switch tactics with regards to their online and instore websites. Basically, they show a lower price which gets you to go into the store, and then in the store the item is a higher price, and if you ask, they say that the price is an online-only price. It’s one thing if it’s a CD and it’s a few dollars higher, but it’s another entirely when you’re buying a fridge that’s marked down by hundreds of dollars online. Most buyers lock onto whatever they had their sights set on and buy it anyway.
We wasted a few minutes while she went back and forth verifying prices until I didn’t have any more time to argue, but I knew that if I printed out the lower price, I could go back in with my receipt they would have to price match (which is pretty funny – price matching their own price!) The thing is that most people won’t do this – they get too busy, or forget, or whatever. And that’s the root of that lawsuit – Best Buy knows this and is taking advantage.
Even more confusing, it appears that there’s a third issue going on – not only is Best Buy deceiving people with their internet site and their store’s prices, they have an internal website with prices that reflect the sales-floor prices, which makes it pretty hard to make your case in the store that their website has a lower price.
What’s a buyer to do? Am I sersiously supposed to print out the page from their site every time I buy there something now? I don’t buy there like I used to (Amazon is my go-to source now), but once in a while I just need to have it now, or I get one of these Reward Zone things. But if I need to, I can probably almost completely swear off buying there – it’s these damned exclusives like this week’s Tom Petty DVD set that make it nearly impossible to do so.