According to this conversation over at the SlickDeals forum, Wal-Mart was offering a $100 gift card with any Blu-ray player purchase, including the PS3—and Best Buy Corporate issued a memo saying they would match Wal-Mart’s deal and offer $100 gift cards as well. Cliff tried to take advantage of this unadvertised special when he purchased a Metal Gear Solid PS3 bundle a couple of days ago, but the manager of the store refused, saying the bundle was off-limits: “You can buy any other Playstation and you can get the gift card, but not on that one.” Oddly, though, other members of SlickDeals were reporting success with the very same bundle around the country.
Update: Best Buy’s VP of Executive Customer Care has emailed Cliff saying someone will follow up with him on Monday. What will happen? We hope Cliff lets us know…
Update 2: Best Buy has contacted Cliff! Find out what they said.
When he called customer service to complain, he was told that the bundle was pulled from the offer because Wal-Mart was out of stock, and they only match stocked merchandise. However, Cliff was 7th in line to buy the bundle the day it went on sale, and he was given the out-of-stock reason the next day by a distant CSR, not the store manager. The store manager never mentioned it as a reason to refuse the sale in the first place.
Here’s Cliff’s story. It’s a long one, but we figured you’d want all the details unedited:
This is in regards to my recent experience at the Best Buy store in Pasadena, CA (Store 125).
On Thursday, June 12th, I went to the Best Buy in Pasadena, CA with the intent to purchase the Metal Gear Solid Playstation 3 Bundle and a 40″ Samsung LCD TV. I arrived about an hour and 45 minutes before store opening and found myself 7th in line to purchase the Metal Gear Solid Playstation 3 Bundle.
At 10:00 am, a gentleman in a white button shirt, black slack, and walkie talkie came out and proceeded to give everyone in line instruction on how they would be handling the distribution of the Metal Gear Solid Playstation 3 Bundle. I was pleased to see that they were handing out numbered tickets and letting people in groups of 5 to enter, as not to create a rush for the systems.
Upon checkout I presented the Sales Associate with an ad I had found online from Wal-Mart. This ad (see attached) states that, “You’ll get a $100 Wal-Mart Gift Card when you buy any Blu-ray player.” From what I understand from websites such as slickdeals.net, Best Buy corporate had sent out a memo stating that they would honor the price match.
The Sales Associate reviewed the ad and stated that they could not price match the Playstation 3. I made mention of the corporate memo and asked for a supervisor. One was called over who also reviewed the ad, again she stated that they were not honoring the ad because it had expired. I explained to her that it was a new ad again made mention of the memo. She proceeded to radio her manager to find out details on it. It was at this point that I saw the gentleman who was handing out the numbered tickets responding to her questions. I now assumed him to be the store manager.
The store manager stated to me that they were not honoring the Wal-Mart ad. Once again I mentioned the memo, and he said to me, “You can buy any other Playstation and you can get the gift card, but not on that one.” I pointed out that it was for any Blu-ray player and he just repeated himself. In frustration I gave up but went ahead and purchased it since I had already waited so long.
I decided to try Wal-Mart but unfortunately by the time I had gotten there they were already out of them. Despite all of this I returned to the Pasadena store and purchased a 40″ Samsung LCD TV.
Imagine my frustration when I returned home to later find that people were successful in getting Best Buy to honor the price match, one that had already been authorized by corporate. I had just spent a total of $1,904.35 at a Best Buy store that denied me a price match that was authorized by corporate.
Today I called customer service to resolve the issue, but found that they were equally unhelpful. I first spoke to Cicero and was suddenly disconnected after explaining my situation. As a side note, I don’t really understand what the purpose of asking for my phone number is if the CSR doesn’t call back when you’re cut off.
I called again and waited on hold to speak with Vanessa, who confirmed to me that corporate had issued a memo, but a possible reason I was denied was because Wal-Mart was sold out of the system. I later spoke to her supervisor, Daniel, who explained the same. His only reasoning was that Wal-Mart had sold out, however this was not the explaination I received from the Pasadena store manager.
I am extremely frustrated and disappointed with this whole situation. I chose to go to Best Buy over Wal-Mart and Circuit City because it my first choice when buying electronics. I expected Best Buy to honor the Wal-Mart ad as instructed by corporate, however I was first told that the Metal Gear Solid Playstation 3 was excluded from the offer. I was later told that it was because Wal-Mart had sold out, and it was against policy to price match unless it is in stock. This is the most frustrating part of it all because had the store manager explained that to me from the beginning I might have accepted it. They never offered to check the other stores stock, and when they did it was already a day later.
I find it unacceptable that Best Buy would send out a memo and allow a store and customer service to ignore it. The success people have had in price matching further adds to my frustration. While I do not have “Reward Zone Program Premier Silver” status, I wonder how you would feel had a “Premier Silver” member been treated this way.
It sounds like the Best Buy manager was protecting his numbers on the bundle, and that Best Buy is trying to close off the conversation by using the out-of-stock argument after the fact.