Once again a reader contacts us to complain about Best Buy misleading their customers with an in-store only website that looks identical to the “real” website—except for the prices.
From kevinq2000’s livejournal:
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:
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:
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.
Kevin goes on to say that there was “no indication to the consumer that the web pages are different.” Despite the fact that some readers have reported notices informing customers that the kiosks display “in-store” prices, here at least we see a screen shot of a Best Buy kiosk in which the warning is not visible.