Best Buy scamming customers with Intranet - UPDATED!
George Gombossy, consumer watchdog for The Courant , broke this story on March 2nd of this month. It's a great story, and I apologise to George for not stating him as the source in my original post, my bad entirely. Anyway, other sites like The Consumerist have also covered it, but I wanted to do a follow-up of my own on the story. But first up, what is the story, if you don't already know? Well, read on...
WHAT'S THE SCAM?
It works quite simply. You see a great deal online. It's cool, you want it, you go into the store to pick it up. But hey, the price is higher than the one you saw at home. No worries, you indicate to the salesperson that the instore price is wrong and direct them to the instore Best Buy website. That's when you find out that YOU made the mistake because the price on the Intranet is the same as in the store. How can this be?
Well, the Best Buy Intranet is priced higher than the Best Buy site you access at home. And as the burden of proof is on you, you're really up a creek without a paddle. Unless, of course, you remembered to print out the deal you saw at home and bring it to the store. But how often does that happen?
BEST BUY ADMITTING GUILT...KINDA.
Justin Barber, a spokesman for Best Buy, earlier denied even the exsistence of this mythical website. Now he's changed his story, but is still insisting the company never intended to mislead or deceive Best Buy customers. If that's true, one has to wonder why this Intranet with higher prices was in stores at all. Why not just have the good old Best Buy website that we all access at home? Surely the answer is simple...money! Good for Best Buy, bad for us.
BEST BUY'S BAD TRACK RECORD
In New Jersey and Ohio, Best Buy have been accused of deceptive sales practices, by repackaging used merchandise and selling it as brand spanking new. Another case of not intending to mislead customers I'm sure. Best Buy paid just $135,000 to settle that suit in New Jersey, although the Ohio case is ongoing. But it's hardly a good indicator of fair business practices. Makes you wonder how new that item is that you bought last week from your trusty Best Buy store.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
Well, let's hope that this Intranet is pulled from the stores so you don't have to worry about it. But nonetheless, take a printed copy of the Bestbuy.com page with you to the store. That's the page that contains the REAL deal. Or just buy online (althought shipping charges then apply). Even better, why not just boycott the big box giant for a while and go shopping at Circuit City, Ultimate Electronics or Media Play. I know I'm wary of Best Buy and its overfriendly staff now.
UPDATE: AND HOW IS BEST BUY NOW?
As it happens, I'm on the prowl for a new laptop of my very own. My first one actually. So I visited a couple of Best Buy stores a few days ago, just to see if the prices advertised online were the same as instore. Yes, they were. However, when I asked if I could see one or two of the laptops working via the Internet (I wanted to check out a few HD movie trailers to check the 1080 resolution) I was told that they don't have Internet hookup anywhere. When I asked why, I was informed by a very helpful Best Buy clerk that they have no way to control what people download (not true) or look at (also not true) so they had to disable Internet access throughout the store. It was the same story at a different Best Buy store. So, I'd like to know if anyone else is having the same issue, or has Best Buy got the Internet working again, without it's own suspicious Intranet anywhere to be found.
And while we're on the subject of suspicious, check this video out. It was made by an ex-employee and seems to indicate that Best Buy staff screw their customers. (If it's already been featured on The Consumerist I'm very, very sorry. But it relates to the post, so there.)