Best Buy Really Does Not Want To Let You Buy The Advertised Special

Reader John writes in with a story about “upselling” at Best Buy. He saw a TomTom GPS unit for $99.99 on sale at Best Buy, so he headed over to the store to pick one up. What follows is his account of how much trouble it was to actually buy the item. We think we counted 9 times that John had to tell various and sundry Best Buy employees that, yes, he was sure that he didn’t want to buy a slightly more expensive model of the same device.

Here’s John’s story:

Today (11-23), Best Buy had a Tom Tom One 125 GPS for $99.99 – $80 off the regular price. My daughter has wanted one for Christmas, so I figured now was the time. When I got to the store, I found an associate in the GPS department and said I wanted to purchase the unit advertised. Without asking any questions, he immediately told me it was an entry level model so it probably wasn’t what I wanted. I politely said, no, it was indeed the unit I wanted. He then said, you realize the maps aren’t installed on this and it takes 3+ hours to install them. He continued saying that for “only” $30 more, they had the same unit with the maps already installed.

I again politely said no thank you, this is the one I want. He said three hours is a long time, you know. I said yes it is, and it feels like I might have to stand here three hours at the rate you are trying to sell me something else. May I please buy the GPS advertised?

Sure, he says, but I have to wait for my manager because he has the key. OK. After about 5 minutes the associate says sorry this is taking so long. How about if I show you some of the other GPS units we have. No thank you I tell him. I just want to buy this one. Are you sure? Yes I am. When have these over here… Now I had to gently but firmly tell him this is the one I want and I would be happy to go to a competitor that price matches if they don’t want to sell me what I want to buy. Ok, he says, I’ll go get my manager (oy!).

So the manager arrives and starts all over with, you know this is a very basic model, the install isn’t included and takes three hours, but for only $30 more… No thank you, this is the one I want. Please may I have it? Finally the GPS is removed from the case and given to the associate to walk up to the register (apparently customers aren’t to be trusted with such an elementary device until the transaction is complete). As we walk to the register, no less than two associates we pass say to my associate “hey Joe, did you let him know that is the basic one and the maps take like forever to install? You did? Oh. Did you tell him about the $30 special we have on preloaded maps? Oh. Ok” Talk about blatant upselling!

Finally at the register. Ahhh. Nope, not quite. Now it’s the cashier’s turn. She tells me about the $30 more option for maps. No thank you I again politely say. Then she tells me her sister had this one, but returned it for a more expensive one because all it did was give directions. That’s too bad for your sister I sympathize. When I pull out my Best Buy reward coupons for another $15 off, she says she doesn’t think that I can use them on a sale item. I politely say that I didn’t see that exception. Where is that stated? Well, no where but she is pretty sure I can only use one coupon at a time… Let’s try them both and see what happens, OK? I ask.

Reluctantly I am finally out the door with a $99.99 GPS less $15 in rewards credit, plus tax.

I wonder how many other customers will get upsold?

Now, obviously we are not lawyers, but we would like to direct your attention to the following paragraphs from the FTC’s “Guide Against Bait Advertising.” These paragraphs are from a section that lists some of the many shady things that retailers do when pulling a bait and switch. Disparaging an advertised item is one of them.

No act or practice should be engaged in by an advertiser to discourage the purchase of the advertised merchandise as part of a bait scheme to sell other merchandise. Among acts or practices which will be considered in determining if an advertisement is a bona fide offer are:

b) The disparagement by acts or words of the advertised product or the disparagement of the guarantee, credit terms, availability of service, repairs or parts, or in any other respect, in connection with it,

Gee whiz. Good job sticking to your guns, John.

Guides Against Bait Advertising [FTC]

Comments

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  1. parad0x360 says:

    Thats why I dont shop at Best Buy.

    • Cat_In_A_Hat says:

      @parad0x360: just found a $20 best buy gift card last night while cleaning my room. Better spend it fast and know exactly what I want.

    • LatherRinseRepeat says:

      @parad0x360:

      Exactly. I only go to Best Buy to get DVD’s from the bargain bin. Major electronics and gadgets, I buy online.

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @parad0x360: When I worked at Apple that all was policy (including but not limited to: having only the manager having the key, having to walk it up to the register for you, having everyone and their mother try to upsell you, etc). Really if you want to avoid things like this the only thing you can do is shop online.

      • armydrummer says:

        @The_IT_Crone: Which Apple did YOU work at? That’s not the point of the Apple store at all.

        My store preached the Apple credo like none other; find the best solution for the customer and present it. Never once did I sell anything, the products at Apple sold themselves (except MobileMe). All I had to do was answer questions. People generally knew what they had to do once I showed them their options. More often than not, I was talking people OUT of spending money on things they didn’t need.

      • macdaddysax26 says:

        @The_IT_Crone: When I worked at Apple we were never once instructed to upsell. To the contrary, our goal was to help customers find exactly the right computer they were looking for, no more or less. About the only thing we ever tried to “sell” was AppleCare.

        Apple is a non-commissioned sales job. There’s no point in generating bigger gross sales, because it doesn’t affect your bottom line come paycheck.

      • Bruce_A says:

        @The_IT_Crone: That doesn’t sound like any Apple Store I’ve ever shopped in. When I bought my MacBook a couple years back they tried to sell me AppleCare, but that was it, and I expected that.

        @parad0x360: This is one of many reasons I won’t shop at Best Buy. Not even for small stuff.

      • HeartBurnKid, creepy morbid freak says:

        @The_IT_Crone: Thank you for explaining why I make all my moderate-major purchases online.

        The only thing brick-and-mortar ever had over online was service… and with stupid things like this happening at every store now, there’s no reason to let them overcharge you.

    • Ken says:

      @parad0x360: With circuit city defeated, watch for even higher prices, it will be considered Worst Buy soon!

  2. dorianh49 says:

    You just know that this was one of the hot-button topics during their monthly Saturday-morning employee meetings. They probably even did some role-playing to make sure everyone would get in on the upsell. I used to work there (a long time ago, back when they had the ShrinkStomper interviewing celebrities), so I can only guess that they lose a bit of money on each one of these they sell at this price.

    • Anonymous says:

      @dorianh49:

      This, this and a thousand times THIS.
      I worked at Geek Squad for 3 years (2004 to March 2008), and not doing this was grounds for being written up and having to go through additional coaching and “role playing”.

      Not only upselling the product, but we were told to “sell like you’re on commission” when it came to accessories and services, despite us not being on commission.
      When I’d bring that up with managers, all they’d do is give me a dirty look and swear that it was never said and that it wasn’t policy, but, fail to do it and you’d get written up for poor performance.

      None of that even touches on the “pre-setups” they do on computers for Black Friday.

      • dweebster says:

        @BlairHoosier: This kind of shit makes me feel sorry for people stuck working for these evil corporate trolls. I’ve met a few employees of “Best” Buy who deemed to have some of their soul left, but man, that just sucks.

        Buy it at Costco, or don’t buy it at all, I guess.

  3. Yebo says:

    I used to work at Best Buy and this was standard practice in the early morning meetings to go over “deals” and other options to tack on. A lot was dedicated to selling service plans and our “attachment” ratio, but others were simply suggestions to offer, like 3 accessories with every camera purchase, high margin items obviously. Stay away from Best Buy if you can….let them go the way of Circuit City.

    • neoflux says:

      @Yebo: I was just going to say that. Sound like somebody made sure everyone knew that their jobs depend on upselling and why the more expensive ones are better.

  4. opsomath says:

    I’m pretty sure I saw a commercial for this exact device during the Oklahoma-Tech game direct from manufacturer for $99.95. That also comes with the satisfaction of NOT BUYING FROM BEST BUY.

    (The commercial was more exciting than the game, btw)

    • blkhrt1 says:

      @opsomath: Tech fan are we?

      • Hawk07 says:

        @blkhrt1:

        All you have to be is a sports fan to realize it was a boring game.

        Sure, I guess it was good if you were an OU fan, but the rest of the country, not so much.

      • blkhrt1 says:

        @blkhrt1: @blkhrt1: @SkokieGuy:

        Actually yes I still work there, and no i receive no compensation for this. I just love to watch people such as you twist any story to make you look like a victim. Which, in and of itself, makes me feel a little bit better about myself.

        That particular employee was a moron and is probably seasonal trash that will be fired in January. So you shouldn’t get all worked up over nothing, my kind sir.

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @opsomath: I just checked, its $129.95 on their site atm.

  5. milrtime83 says:

    With the exception of the $15 “rewards” credit you can get the same price on Amazon without all the hassle.

  6. discounteggroll says:

    you shoulda turned it on at the register and “fake-punched in directions” to the exit while reading them aloud

    “Head southwest towards customer service and then turn right at the stanchion to proceed to the double doors”

  7. Anonymous says:

    Unbelievable! I bought this GPS too (no problems at my Best Buy thankfully). There is NO 3 hour install. That’s complete BS. And it does have the maps pre-installed. I can’t believe this. Everyone at that store must be in on lying to customers.

    • Lite says:

      @BattistaBee: Yep, I have the lowest end Tom Tom available that I purchased last year and it came w/ all maps pre-installed. You just have to update maps, add in what you want, and go. Oh, and make sure you disable the option that locks you out of the device at speed. Lest your co-pilot try to change directions and you have to pull over to do so.

      (There’s a GladOS voice for the TomTom that you can install that reverses directions on you and promises cake btw.)

      • lemur says:

        @Lite: Surely you know the cake is a lie.

        • Lite says:

          @lemur: Weirdly enough, it guided me to a grocery store (incorrectly) and I won a cake at the grocery store. We walked in, they had some cake-walk set up. I was looking at bananas, standing on a number apparently, the music stopped, I won a cake.

          The frosting wasn’t water soluble though. It was really kind of a scary cake. I didn’t eat any.

          • Xerloq says:

            @Lite: That’s a lie. What really happened was the produce guy tried to murder you, and the party planning committee came to retrieve you, but you escaped to your car…

    • The_IT_Crone says:

      @BattistaBee: I’m sure all the workers at Best Buy own all of the items in the store.

      Most likely they are repeating what management told them to, and have no idea that it is incorrect (though they are very aware how annoying they are being).

    • mythago says:

      @BattistaBee: I got the same GPS (not from Best Buy) and it took all of 5 minutes to patch. WTF is with these people? I agree, call the AG’s office.

  8. wgrune says:

    Best Buy is and was famous for this practice. They actually were busted for the ol’ bait and switch by advertising the cheaper product and when you get to the store, lo and behold, they didn’t have any but they did have the slightly better, slightly more expensive one in stock. The fact that so many employees badgered him about the $30 upsell tells me it was a calculated effort to not sell any of the $99 units. Some things will never change, and that is why I vowed never to return to BB.

    • Preyfar says:

      @wgrune: Yeah, I was gonna say…

      The sale price probably grossly undercut their markup, and they were trying to shill the more expensive version that could make a profit. Most Best Buy employees aren’t that organized. There must have been a memo.

      At the same time, it also makes you wonder what else was on sale that was covered under this “treatment”.

      • i_love_life says:

        @Preyfar: best buy does not train the employees to pull the ole bait and switch. Their policy is to get the customer the product they want. if they don’t have it, then they try to order it through various ways or a raincheck is issued (only if the item is in the ad), if that’s not available then they try to find the comparable product for the customer. It’s not bait and switch if the customer waits until saturday when the sale started on Sunday, or if the customer decides they want the crappy $399 laptop on the front page of the ad that we only have 5 of in stock.

        as for the OP, there is a 15% restocking fee, and they were making sure that you would be happy with the product, because that store probably had multiple customers buy that product and people probably tried to return it because it took forever to load the maps. They were trying to avoid the fact that you would want to return and get wacked with the restocking fee if there was nothing wrong with it. It’s not fun trying to fight with the customer because they couldn’t read the huge (15% RESTOCKING FEE) seal over the opening.

        • Oddfool says:

          @i_love_life: Noting there is a restocking fee, and the fact they are mentioning it because of previous customer’s experiences is a great suggestion. However, they did not mention that anytime during this transaction (based on what was submitted.)

          What was mentioned was the “dreadfully long time” to install, and “I have to wait for manager to unlock the cabinet, but take a look at these models.” Not to mention the cashier’s two cents about how the unit “only gives directions”.

          And your reasoning about the sale starting a Sunday and customers coming in on Saturday does not apply here either. The OP went in on Sunday when the ad came out.

          • dweebster says:

            @Oddfool: >What was mentioned was the “dreadfully long time” to install

            Maybe all “Best” Buy workers use 9600 baud modems?

          • i_love_life says:

            @Oddfool: they don’t need to be told there is a restocking fee with the HUGE label in front of their face.

            and the fact that they had to wait for a manager to get the key is true, there is plenty of employee theft around the holidays, ESPECIALLY with GPSs, and that’s just one way to minimize it. The employee was probably trying to make up for the awkward silence while he had to wait.

            and my reasoning about customers waiting until saturday for the sales starting on sunday, is for those people that claim that best buy pulls a bait and switch scheme are usually those that wait until saturday to get those hot sale items.

            • Oddfool says:

              @i_love_life: I do realize that, while there are posted signs regarding restocking fees, it should not be assumed that the customer actually reads the signs.

              My point was suggesting an employee point out the restocking fee while offering tales of other customers frustrations at finding out the product did not meet their expectations and their discovery of the restocking fee upon their attempt to return the item.

              I noted that this was not mentioned any time during the transaction, according to what was posted.

              I also understand the first employee may not have had access to the key, and may have been making small talk during the wait. However, at this point (according to story) employee had already tried discouraging the OP from this model. Saying it was an entry level unit, so probably not what customer wanted, or that maps aren’t installed and it takes 3 hours, but uploaded unit is in stock. This is all before the manager was sent for.

              I know you have stated a policy for the store…”Their policy is to get the customer the product they want. if they don’t have it, then they try to order it through various ways or a raincheck is issued (only if the item is in the ad), if that’s not available then they try to find the comparable product for the customer.”

              Apparently, the product the customer wanted WAS in stock, but Best Buy employees were trying to steer the customer away from that product. While this may not have been a “Bait and Switch” like others are implying, it definitely seems like there was some aggressive up-selling going on.

              Your reasoning about customers waiting until Saturday then claiming bait and switch is a valid issue for some, but as I had noted, the OP came in on the Sunday that the sale had started. So, as I had said, this does not apply here.

              • i_love_life says:

                @Oddfool: well understood points. I guess we really didn’t get the full details. So it’s hard to debate over which was done and which wasn’t.

                I guess the employee was trying to steer the customer into another direction without discouraging the product, but then again, I’m only guessing. So who really knows. If the customer really insisted on that product, as he said multiple times, then it is the employee’s fault for not just taking it up to the register with no questions asked.

                I wasn’t trying to make the employee sound innocent, I was just trying to help people understand why this was probably happening, and the main reason why people complain about the “bait and switch” scheme (mainly to see it from the employee’s perspective).

                • Oddfool says:

                  @i_love_life: I agree. Of course, only hearing one side of the situation leaves out the other point of view. People can easily misinterpret a situation, or even leave out a detail when recalling the transaction, sometimes crucial details that change the whole context of the situation.

                  Of course, I can also see the point of view of the employee, especially if he has had to deal with customers returning items, complaining about not getting everything they were expecting the product to have, or not knowing enough about the item. That is enough to cause them to come up with a way to minimize future return issues.

                  I used to work in toy dept. at Walmart, and every year, we would always get swimming pools returned. Of course, the customers would have opened, removed from the box, and attempted to set up the 12′ or 16′ pool in a yard that was too small for the pool, so they would return. And since it is nigh impossible to hand roll the pool to fit back into the box, we ended up having to try to fit it in to resell. After all, nothing was wrong with it.

                  I finally started measuring out, using floor tiles, to show the customer exactly how big the item was. Not just length, but the width as well. It made some customers actually think about their yard size, before buying or not. Saved me a few headaches.

        • SpruceStreetPhil - in a new Pine flavor says:

          @i_love_life:
          having only 5 “crappy laptops” in stock is a definite bait and switch, you are just plain wrong. Especially if demand warrants much more, which it would if you even mentioned it because I assume you’ve been complained to about not having the advertised product.

          “16 CFR PART 238 Sec. 238.3 Discouragement of purchase of advertised merchandise. (c) The failure to have available at all outlets listed in the advertisement a sufficient quantity of the advertised product to meet reasonably anticipated demands, unless the advertisement clearly and adequately discloses that supply is limited and/or the merchandise is available only at designated outlets.”

          • Lite says:

            @jhmartin: Having worked at Best Buy among the front lines of the smurf patrol…

            Bait and switch typically does not apply in many cases. You’re required to have the model displayed if at all possible if the device is featured in an advertisement. Ads are typically printed weeks in advance, and if we happened to sell out of an item prior to the ad (which happened often due to various reasons, including inventory tagging issues at some times) we would offer a rain check, or arrange to have the item shipped from a nearby store. (This was all prior to the BBY website.)

            Sometimes there would be an issue where a manufacturer would discontinue a product on us, and we’d have to substitute another model (usually a better one) for the same price.

            There were many ways to handle the issue of a product not being available, and none of them were ever bait and switch related.

            This sounds more like poorly/misinformed staff. Sometimes all we had to go on was the information filled into the system via Corporate. Especially when they started tagging jack panels on TVs and receivers. 60% of them would be incorrect.

            In the case of best buy, it is better to attribute stupidity rather than malice on the part of the workers.

            • dweebster says:

              @Lite:
              >This sounds more like poorly/misinformed staff.

              Hmmm…

              1) Associate #1
              2) Manager
              3) Associate #2
              4) Associate #4
              5) Cashier

              That’s quite a collection of poorly misinformed staff. Quite a surprise that all employee “misinformation” is in “Best” Buy’s favor.

              Hint to retailers: if you don’t want to sell something at that price, don’t advertise it at that price. Your scummy games will beat you in the end.

          • i_love_life says:

            @jhmartin: it’s not “definite bait and switch” it’s the fact that, like Lite says after me, models of computers change so rapidly that by the time the ad is issued we have a limited availability of them. Most likely we can order them, if they’re not discontinued. But when an associate offers a better, faster computer, it’s because, quite honestly, they want you to get the better quality product and don’t want to see you the next day returning it as a dissatisfied customer.

        • TouchMyMonkey says:

          @i_love_my_job_at_BB: When you’re being ganged up upon by eight or nine people, it’s not out of concern that you won’t like the on-sale version. People simply aren’t that nice in real life. It’s doing whatever it takes to make quota on the $30 upsell so your weenie of a boss will be happy for the next fifteen minutes so you don’t have to listen to him rant about what worthless employees you all are.

          But you probably get points for posting this, right?

          • dweebster says:

            @HurtsSoGood: Having had first hand experience with the professionalism of “Best” Buy managers, I feel for you, bro. Sucks to have your livelihood dependent on doing immoral things to other people, and once you’ve made a deal with the devil it can be hard to tell him ‘no.’

            “Best” Buy workers should at least unionize so that you have some collective protection against that kind of abuse. In a just world, a company that hurts people like that would be exposed and put out of business. Costco should expand their electronics department big enough to kill off the “Best” Buy wankers. and BB workers with a conscious can move there.

          • i_love_life says:

            @HurtsSoGood: There absolutely is no quota for the service offered. If you sell it, cool. If you don’t, it doesn’t matter. None of the employees are paid on commission.

            I’m not “getting points” for it, I’m just trying to help you guys understand it from the employee’s perspective.

        • dweebster says:

          @i_love_life: Hey, shouldn’t you be back in your department shilling “extended warranties” to people who do not want them instead of fooling around here?

          I’ll send that receipt checker goon after you!

    • johnarlington says:

      @wgrune:

      I noticed this in their laptop section. They advertise a too good to be true laptop and when you show up they don’t have any in stock, but “would you like to take a look at some of our other models”

      • Anonymous says:

        @johnarlington:

        That’s not really bait and switch; if you look at the fine print on the ad, you’ll see that they only get 3-5 of the super cheap ones per store per sale.
        VERY occasionally, we got in 10-20 of an item like that near holidays, but with laptops it was rarely even 10 total.

        If you’re not one of the first, literally, five customers through the door that morning, chances are you aren’t getting a laptop.

        That’s not unique to Best Buy; it happens at most big retailers.

  9. snowburnt says:

    In this one case I can sympathize with the best buy people. It seems like they are blatantly upselling (and they might be doing that at the same time) but I’m guessing that they had a rash of people buying this model and then returning it, disappointed that it didn’t have the maps.

    It’s very possible that I’m wrong, but it almost sounds like when I worked at a tech support helpdesk and we’d have to ask if you’d restarted your computer…then make your restart it again anyway because you probably put it into standby mode instead of restarting it.

    Lately at Best Buy the people have been a lot more helpful, the cashiers have been chatty and the sales people in the sections have known exactly where their products are.

    • blkhrt1 says:

      @snowburnt: This is because when Best Buy INFORMS the customer it doesn’t have maps, they get angry, want the cheapest thing they see, and get pissed because “NO ONE TOLD ME” when in fact, 5 people did.

      • dweebster says:

        @blkhrt1: Yeah, “3 hours” to install the maps. Riiiiight…

        I can understand your point, but if the OP is telling the story accurately, he was made well aware of their opinion about the maps and he made it clear to them that this was the model he wanted. When 5 people spout what seems an identical bullshit line, it’s a pretty good chance that they’re running an upsell script under penalty of manager flip-out. You’d be pretty hard pressed to find a store selling SO MANY Tom-Tom cheapo GPS’s that FIVE people would express such identical concerns, and identical upsells.

        • snowburnt says:

          @dweebster: I missed the part where the OP posted a video or audio recording of the incident. If the OP was held up as long as they say, it’s quite possible they did mention it, but by the time the OP finally got out of there any redeeming information the staff had given was out of their mind and they are only interested in the horrendous fraud they’d narrowly avoided.

      • endless says:

        @blkhrt1:

        “You know, this 399$ laptop with a single core celeron processor and 512 megs of RAM is really not going to run vista very well. “

        “i dont care”

        3 months later customer returns:

        “I HATE VISTA”

        uuuuuhhgggg

    • CalvertGanado says:

      @snowburnt: “but I’m guessing that they had a rash of people buying this model and then returning it, disappointed that it didn’t have the maps.”

      That’s ridiculous. Upselling is never in the interest of the customer. The perfect background is that in every area of escalation that he was ignored and hounded for the upgrade.

      This attitude encourages bait and switch fraud. Just because you appreciate being talked into the “protection” that will “save you hours of work” does not mean that others require the hand-holding tax that anyone who isn’t too lazy to read the manual can go without.

      It’s quasi-fraud, and most states have consumer protections in place to prevent it from happening, if people aren’t too lazy to fight back.

      • dweebster says:

        @CalvertGanado: I’d really like to see some confirmation about this “3 hour to install maps” information these helpful employees were providing. Christ, how many terabytes does this TomTom hold??

      • snowburnt says:

        @CalvertGanado: Hey now! Put down the pitchforks! What happened in the above story seems way to calculated to help the store make what probably amounts to $5. In fact, the time wasted by the salesman and manager alone probably cost the store more than $30.

        You want me to do a step by step analysis of what was going on each step of the way?
        1) The salesman let the customer know that there was another model that came with maps that was $30 more but at the same time let him know that he could still download the maps for the other one but it took a while.
        Wow! A salesman that’s informative! Keep in mind not everyone is as well informed as the OP, and best buy makes most of its money on the stupid sheep that walk in to window shop. This kid could have actually helped some lazy SOB, he had no idea they’d done their research. I’m guessing based on the OP’s response he was being nice, but shy, so the sales person wanted to be sure they understood.
        2) Best Buy managers are lazy. You know this, I know this. They are also probably over worked from having to run this way and that to unlock things and settle disputes from angry customers who got tiles instead of hard drives. I’m sure the sales person knew this as well and was just as frustrated as the OP at having them wait…he could have helped other people and it sure didn’t look like the OP was a very interesting person. So the Sales person came back to let the OP know that the manager was taking a while and tried to make small talk…unfortunately he’s a sales person at best buy so all he knows how to talk about is products at best buy. I’m sure the OP wasn’t forthcoming about the latest happenings in his life and I’m sure a GPS sales person at best buy doesn’t have the best networking skills.
        3) The manager is a manager at best buy and assumes that everyone is a lazy idiot because the manager himself is a lazy idiot and no one can be better than the manager. Therefore he assumes that the salesperson didn’t tell the OP about the “problem” with the device.
        4) The cashiers have been getting friendlier and friendlier the more I go into bestbuy. They have great chatting skills and seem to know a lot about the products.

        Finally: It’s a stretch to think that every step of the sales line in best buy is geared to upselling a $30 product that was pretty much already marked down $80.

        Before you alert the US AG about this best buy, put down the kool aid and take a breath.

      • johnnya2 says:

        @CalvertGanado: How the hell is it fraud? It sounds like they had complaints about the product, and wanted him to be sure he knew what he was getting. Contrary to all the perfect people here, some people realize you get what you pay for. The cheap comes out expensive in the end. Some people dont value their time, but if others have told the employees it took 3 hours, I would find that $30 extra well worth it. I dont work at $10/hour.

    • socalrob of the 24 and a half century says:

      @snowburnt:
      I’ve never seen that happen. In fact I went there to buy a DvD player once, and was pushed on an open box model. I asked did it work and have everything and was told ohh yeah it has everything it was just probably returned and they had to open it to make sure it was all there.

      Well it was missing a few things… shocker… and it didnt work. So I took it back, and they asked if I wanted the same one. When I looked over the counter and saw 5 more of the same model all returned, I said no, I will take a different, more expensive model please.

      So I honestly doubt it was from a rash of returns because of no maps. It seems like they want that sale badly. I’ve never had them say I would return a lesser product, i’ve only had them try to sell me upgrades or try to upsel like this.

      • Lite says:

        @socalrob: I wonder if in this case a user didn’t screw up and re-install the maps on the system themselves, and the 3 hours included the download as these things typically don’t come w/ a CD… The customer returned the product w/ the invalid complaint, and the staff not knowing any better, passed wrong information around in an effort to be ‘helpful’…

        Backing up your GPS for the first time off of a TomTom tends to be slow and painful to be honest.

      • snowburnt says:

        @socalrob:
        A) You were pushed onto a product that was cheaper than what you wanted AND one that was the same product.
        B) You had no trouble returning it.
        C) How long ago was this? (DVD player?)
        D) So you’re saying that all Best Buys operate the same and have the same people with the same policies? If I know the manager at the best buy near me, he’ll be at the one you went to?

        Don’t compare apples to oranges.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Whats really funny about this is that i work at a best buy and its not that way in our store, our GPS units are stacked right in front of the department for all customers to get, no waiting on keys, now we do let people know about the map issue but its not a big deal if they still want that Tom Tom, i really feel sick to my stomach when i read stories about other stores and how shady they are cause it give all the stores bad reps.

    • Lite says:

      @JanetAchilles: I’ve owned a base/cheap-ass entry level Tom Tom and guess what. They come with the maps pre-installed.

      • dweebster says:

        @Lite: Guess you didn’t buy it at “Best” Buy. Over there, they apparently REMOVE the maps for their customers before the sale! Then, charge you $30 to get them back on…

        It’s a complimentary “service.”

        • Anonymous says:

          @dweebster: Where on earth did you hear that? Unless the product is for a display, there is no way that the employees can take it out of its packaging, tamper with it, and then expect to sell it for full/sale price. Your whole comment about that is completely false and completely asinine.

  11. Limekiller says:

    What they didn’t tell him was that the pre-loaded maps on the more expensive model are likely out of date and when he installs the TomTom Home software it will inform him that new maps are available for a one-time free download … that takes 3 hours. My TomTom GO930 was that way.

  12. MoCo says:

    Did you know that for only $30 more, you can get the same unit with the maps already installed?

  13. gggtur says:

    How is it that this guy went to Best Buy, he had 4 or 5 people trying to upsell him a GPS unit. Everytime I go, I cannot find anyone to help me. Maybe next time, I’ll mention I want a cheap GPS just to get a sales rep!

    • dweebster says:

      @gggtur: That’s because all the employees are over ganging up on one customer trying to squeeze another $30 bucks out of him against his will…..

  14. morganlh85 says:

    While I totally agree this is an annoying and ridiculous upsell, I can sooo see this post appearing on the Consumerist:

    “I went to buy the $99.99 TomTom GPS and got home only to find that it doesn’t even have the freakin MAPS on it…I mean, it’s a GPS, shouldn’t it come with the MAPS??? Then I find out that for only $30 more I could have gotten one with the maps ALREADY INSTALLED! Of all the salespeople I encountered that day, not ONE PERSON told me that the one I bought didn’t even come with the MAPS!!! It took me THREE HOURS to install them!!!”

    lol

  15. SWBLOOPERS says:

    Sounds like a chance for someone to buy them out of the basic model and resell the “upgraded” units with the maps already loaded for $15 more each.

    A bunch can be loaded all at the same time. Just a thought…

  16. dieselman8 says:

    Recently, I purchased a game for the Wii and the woman at the register tried to sell me a $30 protection plan for a $50 game. Unbelievable.

  17. Yebo says:

    What do you expect, it’s Best Buy…only thing they are good for is maybe “normal” sales on music/dvds. Never buy electronics there.

  18. ameyer says:

    What Best Buy did there is probably illegal.
    Good luck getting the law enforced, though.

    Personally, at some point, I would have used an obscene hand gesture, walked out, and never come back.

    • SacraBos says:

      @ameyer:
      BestBi Knight: This is not the GPS unit you are looking for. You can buy the one with pre-installed maps. You can go about your shopping mall.
      Customer: What do you think you are, a Jedi Knight?

  19. Anonymous says:

    It is sort of funny. There is a Best Buy with 5 minutes of me at work, and also a Circuit City. I have gone to the Best Buy about 20 times over the last few months. Almost EVERY time they do have the sale item I came in for. So I leave. However, I have never once even thought about going into the Circuit City.

  20. blkhrt1 says:

    Funny thing about the whole:

    “No act or practice should be engaged in by an advertiser to discourage the purchase of the advertised merchandise as part of a bait scheme to sell other merchandise. Among acts or practices which will be considered in determining if an advertisement is a bona fide offer are:

    b) The disparagement by acts or words of the advertised product or the disparagement of the guarantee, credit terms, availability of service, repairs or parts, or in any other respect, in connection with it”

    For one, it seems as though they were trying to just inform the customer about the updated model, not “disparaging” an advertised model. He was simply stating the facts as to how long it would take to make the advertised model up to the same performance level as the more expensive model. Neither did the associate ever say the customer could NOT buy the advertised model and HAD to buy the more expensive one. This just sounds like a personal attack on Best Buy, which this site loves to do.

    • dragonfire81 says:

      @blkhrt1: The continual attempts by the associates to upsell the OP I would say DO constitute discouraging purchase of the advertised product.

      They basically said “DON’T get that one, it SUCKS”, just in nicer language.

      • blkhrt1 says:

        @dragonfire81: You really think a court would see it like that? Fail.

        They have better things to worry about not what the definition of “disparaging” is.

      • snowburnt says:

        @dragonfire81:

        Imagine you were the sales person or the cashier. The week before you told people that the one without the maps was cheaper and it only takes a few hours to get the maps and will save you $30. Soon after buying it the customer comes back ranting and raving about the idiot sales person who sold them a useless GPS device.

        The next person that comes in looking at GPS(es?) do you think you will make sure they know that it doesn’t have the maps? and that it takes a while to get them?

        Who knows? They could have had an especially rabid customer come in, chew the cashier’s head off (even though they had nothing to do with it), track down the salesman to yell at them, yell at the GM, Manager, assistant manager and then wait on hold for 3 hours for executive customer support to complain (when they could have been downloading the maps on their cheaper tomtom).

        • dweebster says:

          @snowburnt: In my experience, it’s the “Best” Buy General Managers that need to be put on a leash because of their vitriol.

          Interesting how none of the 5+ employees mention ANY story that illustrates why they are “so concerned” about him buying that $30 upgrade.

      • i_love_life says:

        @dragonfire81: all tomtom gps’s suck. sorry, but it’s true. About 75% of them get returned within 3 months or purchase.

        • i_love_life says:

          @i_love_life: of* purchase

          sorry.

        • mac-phisto says:

          @i_love_life: lol! i used to laugh at this all the time – do you know why most of them get returned? b/c customers can’t read freakin’ directions. they wouldn’t hook the mount up correctly, so the models with a battery would die after ~2 hours b/c it wasn’t charging.

          it’s not that they suck, it’s that people are freakin’ morons.

          • i_love_life says:

            @mac-phisto: haha you are right. Usually it is operator error. I think they just need to make them more id10t proof in their manual or assembly.

          • Oddfool says:

            @mac-phisto: it’s not that they suck, it’s that people are freakin’ morons.

            I agree completely with that. I used to work at Walmart in toy dept, and every year without fail, customers would return the 12 or 16-foot swimming pools they bought and tried to set up, before realizing that the yard they were placing them in was too small for the pool. And once the pools were removed from the box and unrolled out, it becomes almost impossible to re-roll small enough (by hand) to fit back into the box.

            It got to the point that, before I assisted them with the pools to the check-out, I would measure out using the floor tiles to show them how big across the pool is, emphasizing the fact it is that big in all directions, since the pool is round.

        • dweebster says:

          @i_love_life: Probably because they didn’t have any maps in them? I don’t know what purpose a GPS serves if it doesn’t ship with maps. Kind of odd. Especially when “Best” Buy’s own illustration SHOWS a map on it.

          Maybe this store should be renamed “BS Buy.”

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @blkhrt1: Yes, they were merely informing, not disparaging, thank you for helpfully pointing this out. Let’s review the ‘information” they so helpfully provided (without disparaging the sale item), shall we?

      A…told me it was an entry level model so it probably wasn’t what I wanted
      B…you realize the maps aren’t installed on this
      C….and it takes 3+ hours to install them.
      D…three hours is a long time, you know
      E…I have to wait for my manager
      F…How about if I show you some of the other GPS units
      G…I just want to buy this one. Are you sure?
      H…you know this is a very basic model
      I…maps take like forever to install
      J…her sister had this one, but returned it

      Do you still work at Best Buy, as you indicated in earlier posts, or just continue to love them blindly, sort of like the owner of an adorable pupply who tickles its belly even though it craps on the rug.

      Are you doing this out of loyalty to your employer or do you receive compensation for each post?

      • i_love_life says:

        @SkokieGuy: It seems to me that they’re just trying to make a point on behalf of why the associates were pushing. Not to pull more money out of you, but to prevent the whole “WELL HE TOLD ME THIS WOULD WORK” or “HE NEVER SAID IT WOULD TAKE THIS LONG” Just because you make a point on the other’s behalf doesn’t mean you get “compensation” for it. I’ve been that Customer Service associate that had to deal with those crazy customers so I understand their reasoning for making sure that the OP wasn’t dissatisfied with the product because they had to wait 3 hours.

        • ToddMU03 says:

          @i_love_life: I worked at Best Buy in college. One day you too will be a jaded customer like I am. Thankfully the guy that sold me my replacement ipod the other day didn’t care. He just brought the manager over got it out and sold it to me. Best transaction ever.

      • dweebster says:

        @SkokieGuy: K…It would be a shame if you wuz to have an “accident” on your way out the door with this GPS when for only $30 bucks more I can assure you that Rocco here will be kind enough to escort you past the receipt checking goon over dere…

      • snowburnt says:

        @SkokieGuy: So…saying that you are waiting for a manager is upselling an item?

        I want to clarify that I don’t think too highly of Best Buy, I don’t go in there very often unless I know what I am going to buy. I don’t work there, I don’t own stock in the company.

        I just think the alleged fraud is ridiculous and people are stretching the story to disparage the company.

        Yes, the OP’s story expresses an annoying waste of time in which (Shocker) an underpaid undereducated sales team didn’t listen. It’s a stretch to assume that there is a conspiracy from the ranks of best buy in which all the employees are scheming to up sell an item that is $30 more than the sale item.

        • Anonymous says:

          @snowburnt: I think that stores count on people not complaining if they just stick it to them a ‘little’ bit. Think about it this way:

          I live in Florida and lets say that I am this guy at my local BB and they do end up wearing me down to buy say only a $10 more expensive model. No biggie right? Well, if they get 100 people coming in for that item and they manage to up-sell to 50% of them with the negative comments about the sale item than that is $500 extra in sales that day.

          An average sale runs for 7 days = $3500

          There are what, 50 Best Buys in Florida? = $175,000 in a week

          “It’s only $10. It can’t be some big conspiracy….” That small amount gets big really fast with multiple products, multiple stores, and keeping things low key enough that people wont complain.

          • snowburnt says:

            @ShuchismitaKliggy: I think of all the people who have had anything to say against what best buy has said, your comment made the most sense.

            They pull them into the store with the sale and then try to sell something else slightly more expensive to them.

            It still seems like everyone would need cheat sheets on what not to sell or what to counter with. Seems like a bad best buy to me.

        • blkhrt1 says:

          @snowburnt: My sentiments exactly

    • oldtaku says:

      @blkhrt1: ‘they were trying to just inform the customer’

      I am just informing you you’re a putz.

  21. dragonfire81 says:

    Would the FTC do a damned thing about this, even if anyone did complain?

    • dweebster says:

      @dragonfire81: State Attorney Generals might show interest, but problem is they usually won’t act unless a LOT of people complain. Easier and more effective to just spread the word about this store and boycott these thugs.

  22. warf0x0r says:

    One time, when I worked at BBY, they started selling this horrid digital camera. I’m not sure who made it but it was disney branded. It had tinkerbell on it so the intent was here’s a digital camera for your kids. It’s resolution was 640×480 and it had about 10MB of memory… this was in 2000. The average camera around that time was around 2 to 3 MP. It connected via parallel port. The sticker on it was 99.99… At that price it was a horrible item. It was technologically the equivalent to a camera from 1995.

    Only one person expressed interest in buying it. It took me about 30 minutes to talk him out of it.

    Not up-sell him, just talk him out of it because it was a very bad purchase. It’s one of the only moments that I actually felt good about telling someone why they don’t want this product.

    I know sometimes its hard because everything else is a bit more expensive and you may not be able to afford it. In this case I think all the bby employees harping at this guy might have been a bit of overkill, but understand that products get released by manufactures that are complete wastes of materials and sometimes the sales/service person is trying to do you a favor by informing you why.

    In this case if you can download the maps yourself I’d say that amount of time would be worth 30 bucks.

    • Parting says:

      @warf0x0r: 3 hours of downloads isn’t worth 30$. It’s not like you have to watch your electronics closely during downloads, just start the download (+-5min). And electricity-wise, it’s still under 30$.

  23. RurouniX says:

    Hmm…I shop at places like Best Buy and Fry’s Electronics all the time and I’ve never experienced anything like this. In fact I bought a Garmin GPS from Best Buy last December…I told the employee which one I wanted…he got it out of the case for me…I checked out and left.
    I’ve never had an experience at any store where an employee was trying to sell me one particular product over another…

  24. blkhrt1 says:

    “Sec. 238.0 Bait advertising defined.

    Bait advertising is an alluring but insincere offer to sell a product or service which the advertiser in truth does not intend or want to sell. Its purpose is to switch consumers from buying the advertised merchandise, in order to sell something else, usually at a higher price or on a basis more advantageous to the advertiser. The primary aim of a bait advertisement is to obtain leads as to persons interested in buying merchandise of the type so advertised.”

    Straight from your guide that you posted there. So again, I say that Best Buy did nothing wrong and they were just over pushy, which in a sense is wrong, I suppose, but not illegal in any aspect.

    ..Unless they were selling heroin. In that case, I might just go that best buy. HA kidding.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @blkhrt1: From your August 24th post:

      blkhrt1 commented on Best Buy Employee Arrested For Using Customer Credit Cards “As another Best Buy employee and manager, I will completely agree with this.” [consumerist.com] 8:14 PM on Aug 24

      So in your opinion Best Buy didn’t commit bait and switch, what a f-ing suprise!!

      • KyleOrton says:

        @SkokieGuy: I think his name’s wrong. The appropriate license plate version of blue shirt would be blshrt, not blkhrt.

      • blkhrt1 says:

        @SkokieGuy: You angry, sad, man. Look just because you have a bad experience with a store, going on a rant about how bad that company is doesn’t fix anything. If you really want justice, call the CEO yourself and make it happen.

  25. concordia says:

    I don’t own one of these, but I’d have to assume that loading the maps takes three hours like once, right? It seems unlikely that you’d need to re-load them every time you went to use it.

    If that’s the case, what a terrible upsell.

    Save the $30 and use the time to spend with your family, pet your cat, clean your bathroom or whatever while the TomTom’s off doing its thing. I can’t imagine being so impatient that you’d need your map-equipped device the second you unboxed it.

    • i_love_life says:

      @concordia: you’d be surprised at the amount of crazy, impatient customers. Although, I can understand with today’s technology everybody wants everything NOW.

      About 90% of the people that buy GPS’s expect it to be able to work as soon as they get in their car to see how accurate it is on their way home.

  26. Yebo says:

    What they didn’t tell you was that for only $32 more, you could get the maps preloaded and a 20oz bottle of coke zero.

  27. bossco says:

    OMG. I would have said I was a AAA member and can get maps for free!

    • carlogesualdo says:

      @bossco: Without being familiar with this product, I think you can get the maps free anyway. It’s the time spent downloading them that’s the issue. The $30 to get the preloaded version saves you the 3 hours download time.

      On the other hand, maybe you should say that. Then the salesman would like at you like you were speaking Klingon and might have left you alone. ?

    • Oranges w/ Cheese says:

      @carlogesualdo: One time free I believe, the subsequent updates cost a yearly fee.

      • Parting says:

        @Oranges w/ Cheese: Most cellphone providers, offer live GPS for 10$/month. It can save you money, if you are eying an expensive model (maps updates are all included).

        If you want 99$ GPS, keep the money, go to Google maps. It’s as reliable :*(

  28. MercuryPDX says:

    The sales associate was “following the script” laid out by management. They don’t know who the mystery shoppers are, so they put everyone through the same ordeal. They lose points if they are caught not doing it for the right person.

    Next time something like this happens try using the following phrase:

    “I appreciate your efforts, but I don’t work for Bestmark. I’d just like to buy product X, and be on my way. Thanks.”

  29. Primate says:

    This sounds like they weren’t trying to upsell you to another model but they were trying to sell you a map loading service from the Geek Squad.
    They probably had some that they preloaded and wanted to sell.
    At least they didn’t tell you they were out of stock on the non preloaded units.
    Last year when I worked for BBY in the computer dept we had one of the loss leader $399 laptops that Geek Squad had opened up a bunch and did their “customizations” on.
    When someone came in to buy the $399 laptop we were instructed to say we were sold out and then tell them we did have it with the Geek Squad service done on it for “only” $29 more or whatever the service cost at the time.
    Not being comfortable with that I of course refused and sold the customers the $399 because we did have some. When we ran out of those I then proceeded to sell the ones that had the services performed on them for $399 as that’s what corporate had said to do in a bullitin.
    This however didn’t make the local management happy and I was instructed several times to stop doing it and to charge for the services.
    Finally my direct manager came up to me and bluntly told me if I didn’t start charging for the services that he would fire me.
    I of course didn’t give him the chance and walked out on the spot.

  30. Outrun1986 says:

    This doesn’t really sound like bait switching, and it could be that that particular store gets a lot of returns for that particular item because the maps are not already on the device. I could totally see that happening. Not everyone who shops at Best Buy is tech savvy, and there probably are a lot of people who would pay 30$ to have the install done for them. In fact I do believe BB tries to cater to those who want electronics who are not tech savvy.

    Bait switching would be more like having an empty slot for the sale item on the first day of the sale then when someone comes to look for it the associate jumps on the customer trying to get them to purchase the slightly better and more expensive model since they are “apparently” out of stock on the one on sale in order to improve the bottom line. Or telling a customer the sale item is sold out when they come in at 12 noon on the first Sunday of the sale and then attempting to sell them more expensive merchandise.

    Yes the badgering was unnecessary however I don’t think there is anything illegal about it. If the badgering was that bad I would have told them you have lost a sale today and went and bought the unit elsewhere even if it was 10$ more.

  31. Jnetty says:

    If you know what you want just buy it at bestbuy.com and do local pick up. You probably would only get hassle once instead of 4 to 5 times.

    But i see he had a coupon for a discount.

    I never had this type of situation happen to me at BestBuy.

  32. DaWezl says:

    It might just be that particular store. I bought that exact special yesterday at Best Buy, as well as another one of the specials from the same flyer, and while I spoke with multiple sales people, and discussed the pros and cons of the products I was choosing, no one tried to pressure me into an upsell. In fact, if I hadn’t already been dealing with a sales person on the first item I picked up, I wouldn’t have needed to even speak with anyone–the TomToms were on a display in the aisle where you could just grab one for yourself.

    Oh, and no one asked me to see my receipt on the way out!

    • oldtaku says:

      @DaWezl: Absolutely there must have been a big fuss about it at the team meeting for this store, or you’d never see this level of effort from BB employees. Maybe they were warned Bestmark were going to be sending mystery shoppers into the store for that item. Or maybe the manager got reamed recently because he wasn’t doing enough upselling.

      • cynical_bastard says:

        @sarusa: My thoughts exactly. The upsell really only works under threat of discipline or commission. I have worked under both, and really didnt like the dishonestly behind the whole practice…

      • MercuryPDX says:

        @sarusa: Maybe they were warned Bestmark were going to be sending mystery shoppers into the store for that item.

        DING! Winner. :)

    • carlogesualdo says:

      @DaWezl: No one ever asks to see my receipt on the way out. And by the way, you’re allowed to refuse. Only Costco has the right to force you to show your receipt at the door. Unless they’re accusing you of shoplifting, they have to let you go. Costco, on the other hand, can revoke your membership, since it’s in your membership contract.

  33. ganzhimself says:

    Oh Best Buy… What is 3 hours? I mean really, you just plug it in, start up the software and let it do its thing. The only reason I could see it being a problem is if you absolutely needed to use it right out of the box…

    I do have to say that I bought the cheap TomTom model they were hawking last year and I brought it back because it disappointed me. Upgraded to the slightly more expensive Garmin model, and I’ve been very happy with that purchase. I should have taken them up on their suggestion in the first place. But 9 out of 10 times, their upsell pitches suck. For example, I bought a Dell laptop that was on sale @ Best Buy and they tried getting me to buy the next model up because apparently a laptop with a Core2Duo and 2 gigs of memory can’t handle iTunes and Microsoft Office… If the price on that laptop wasn’t $100 cheaper than dell.com, I would have just walked out. I hate shopping in retail stores for this very reason.

    And regarding this week’s BB pre-Black Friday ad… I ALMOST considered going and buying the 46″ Sharp LCD from the local Best Buy, but I know I’m going to get the upsell business from them since it’s an “entry-level” 1080p LCD. Forget it. I’ll hold onto my money for the time being, I have a feeling that after Black Friday sucks for retailers that big screens are getting a big price cut before Christmas. At least I can dream.

    • Parting says:

      @ganzhimself: Most people expect ”it” to work right away. As soon as turned on. Without reading the manual.

      Otherwise they turn into merciless hell-hounds annoying CSR/tech support until their demise.

      (I’m speaking in general, I work closely with tech support for a different business field.)

      ”Yes Madam, press red button, it’s not broken, it will turn it on… ”

      • ganzhimself says:

        @Meltdown:

        True… I have worked tech support / IT Help Desk and I know how that is… What I meant was if someone was buying it and wanted to use it to navigate from the store to wherever they wanted to go. Like I need this to work the instant I walk out the store “out of the box.” But most people won’t read a manual, from my experience.

  34. MyPetFly says:

    Maybe “Best Buy” means “You’d best buy this one or we’ll never let you leave the store.”

  35. noscamsplease says:

    that happens everywhere. nobody actually police’s it, so why wouldn’t it. i was walking by the local butcher’s shop this weekend and saw a sign in the window stating “leg of lamb special 2.98 lb.” that’s it. that was the whole sign. Lamb usually goes for at least a $1 a pound more than that, so i thought it was a good deal. i stopped in and bought 3 pounds. the total was $14.10. now i’m no math wizard, but i know something was amiss. i thought maybe i had read the sign wrong. so i paid for the purchase, and went outside to look at the sign again. i was not seeing things. so i went back inside and asked what was the deal. the butcher (with attitude) says it’s not $2.98 unless you buy the whole leg. if not, it’s $4.49 a pound. what could i do? he has knives back there.

  36. Trencher93 says:

    You meant they didn’t try to sell him a store credit card!? He got off easy!!! Try getting out of Sears some time.

    • stezton says:

      @Trencher93: Yeah, why is it every stinking store wants you to have a credit card with them? It’s ridiculous! My usual response is, “no, one’s enough.”

      • Primate says:

        @stezton:
        Because they don’t have to pay the merchant fee when you use it for one thing. This fee is usually a percentage of what you bought.
        Best Buy also used to tell us that people were more likely to spend more money if they had a store credit card; which I believe.

        • Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare says:

          @Primate: Yeah, when I worked retail (2 years ago), we were forced to push the credit cards (I didn’t out of personal belief that the practice would soon over saturate consumers with debt) because customers spent 2-3 times more when they have a store card than if they pay any other way. It’s a way to sell more stuff without making better productions, IMHO

  37. bobreck says:

    I was in best buy this Saturday and the exact GPS units discussed in this story were in a large bin right near the registers. This store has customer line barriers (that make you feel like livestock) set up that are made out of storage totes. There was a tote full of these GPS units… no sales people to deal with. Just pick it up and walk to the register.

  38. stezton says:

    I haven’t had a problem like this but I still usually am on the defensive when I go to buy electronics like this. When my husband & I bought a TV from there recently they started to go into extended warranties and I cut him off with a flat “no”. He continued to ring it up and mumbled something about how they’d replace it or something or other. I just stayed blank and stood there. He didn’t say anything else.

    • Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare says:

      @stezton: Yeah, I feel like if the OP had said something to the effect of “FIVE other people have mentioned that” or “I’ve already done extensive research on the internet and read reviews and specs of each model” then they would have let him be…

  39. KyleOrton says:

    @blkhrt1: First, stop being a jerk.

    Second, I think the disparaging occurred when he emphasized how long 3 hours is. Telling him that the maps weren’t preloaded and it would take about 3 hours to load them is just being informative. Good job. I’m sure some people would be annoyed if they weren’t told that.

    But everything else is garbage. If the person doesn’t have a firm grasp of time, a BB employee isn’t the one to help.

    Oh, and dragonfire never said anything about the courts. Unless “I” is an abbreviation for courts.

  40. Gopher bond says:

    Whenever I get in situations like this I always say, “I know, I already have one and want a matching one.” I’ve yet to meet salesperson who has a quick answer for that. It works because then the salesperson thinks you already own the item being discussed and presumably might know more about it, and it’s irrational (hard to argue against) that you’d want a matching one.

    • SkokieGuy says:

      @testsicles: That’s a great and easy comeback that will likely end the upselling.

      Thank you, I will be using that.

      Much more gentlemanly the saying “I heard you the first 5 times you tried to upsell me, back off MFer”

    • Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare says:

      @testsicles: That’s a good one – I often mention that we’ve been looking at X for quite some time and have been doing research on the internet and this is the model we want. Sometimes they still try to upsell and you have to repeat it again, more sternly, for them to get it – but it works.

    • t325 says:

      @testsicles: I’ve used something similar before….”I have one and know how it works. I’m buying this as a gift”

      That’ll usually shut them up because then they know you’ll call them out on their bullshit.

  41. bilge says:

    I was in BB yesterday to get a copy of “Chinese Democracy.” They tried to upsell me to a preorder of “Duke Nukem Forever.”

  42. xspook says:

    I was in BB today and those things were everywhere. BTW, you can find that model all over the place. Everyone who’s selling them are pricing them for $99; $80 off! Problem is, this looks to be a new model special made for the Christmas sales, so it has NEVER been sold anywhere for $179. We’ll probably see it for $70 in a few weeks.

  43. RanChan03 says:

    oh look
    [www.amazon.com]

    it’s on sale at amazon, don’t have to deal with the BB kids either

  44. redhelix says:

    “Wah wah wah, a bunch of best buy associates warned me over and over that I’m buying a crappy product and should spend a few more dollars on something that’ll work right out of the box. THAT’S BAITING AND SWITCHING, ZOMG”

    Give me a break. Follow up with this guy after he gives the thing to his daughter and see how proud he is for ignoring at least 3 different employees telling him the product sucks.

    When I was at Geek Squad, I used to do the same thing all the time when people bought our doorbuster laptops on black friday. ($300 is cheap for a laptop but you won’t be happy with a Celeron M with 256mb RAM, no matter how much you paid for it.)

    • Mr.SithNinja says:

      @redhelix: Surprise, surprise! A Best Buy employee sees nothing wrong with their sales practices. Geek Squad is the biggest rip off imaginable. How can you look people in the face and say that they need to pay $99 to do a virus and spyware removal on a computer that hadn’t left the store yet?? Last year I overheard a Geek trying to sell this service to a 65ish your old woman who hadn’t even paid for the laptop yet. He was saying to her “You know, you probably should let us check it for any kind spyware or viruses before you take it home.” It was like seeing someone pistol-whipping a blind kid, who couldn’t possibly see it coming or defend themselves. Long story short: I tell her he’s ripping her off, manager gets called, I get tossed from store, lady leaves without laptop and 4 out of the 6 people in line at the Geek counter leave as well. I may have looked like an ass in the process but at least I stopped a poor old lady from getting raped by one of you soul-less Geek Squad devils.

      Geek Squad = The circa 1980’s usedcar salesman of the tech industry. They prey on ingorance and fear to line their pockets. Shamefull.

  45. Quatre707 says:

    Don’t blame the sales people, they are doing their job. Since their non-commissioned, they lose their jobs or have their hours cut for failing to perform.
    It’s their management who force them to sell bullshit, so they can get large bonus checks.
    Not to mention, with the number of applications a retailer like Best Buy has flooding in likely ten fold what is was the last few years, if you don’t offer services or up selling opportunities to a mystery shopper, you’re ass is fired.

  46. Zclyh3 says:

    Haha. Sometimes, you just gotta stand your ground and tell people you want this model and NO questions. I had this situation once at Fry’s. I just polite asked for what I wanted and said no questions. JUST as they were about to ask, I interrupted them and said NO questions. Just go, GET, bring back.

    OR, what you could do is buy it off Amazon. Save yourself the gas, drama and tax.

  47. Anonymous says:

    Ok, the person at the register who rung up the purchase is a complete idiot. You can definitely use multiple reward zone coupons in a purchase.

    Besides, I don’t think anyone has ever been to a store where they don’t try to upsell you. It sucks though that they were pushing the sell so much.

  48. ekthesy says:

    This sounds less like bait-and-switch and more like the kind of annoying, dogged upselling that you usually see at car dealerships. Big-box specialty stores like BBY are shaking in their boots about the last 6 sales weeks of the year; they know they’re going to get creamed, so they’re lowering themselves to this. Sad, really.

  49. kwsventures says:

    It is called “bait and switch”.

  50. WEGGLES90 says:

    Aren’t Best Buy touting their no commission sales staff, and that you can shop with out any pressure?

    • Yokai Monsters Spook Warfare says:

      @WEGGLES90: I don’t know about BB, but when I worked retail, we didn’t have commission either. However, they kept track of every $1 of sales we had for “performance purposes.” Luckily, my managers were pretty awesome and we were a small store, but in bigger stores with our chain, they were Nazis about you meeting your sales goals, regardless of commission.

  51. SkokieGuy says:

    Just because it may (and I agree) be management mandated upselling, doesn’t mean it can’t be bait & switch. The two are certainly not mutually exclusive and in fact often intertwined.

    The salespeople potentially get a break if they are merely ‘following orders’ – but management who likely intituted training and procedures mandating this kind of behaviour get a big fail for not discussing what bait and switch is and how to avoid making statements that could be construed as bait and switch.

    If management is mystery-shopping to verify compliance with their mandate, they should also be using it to insure that their employees aren’t running afoul of the law.

    “Did you want a unit with maps?” might be a way to initiate a conversation about product differences and lead to an upsell. But – if the customer says no, then conversation over. Customer says yes, then there is a clear opportunity to discuss a model with maps and explain the advantages and disadvantages of each one.

    • MercuryPDX says:

      @SkokieGuy: If management is mystery-shopping to verify compliance with their mandate, they should also be using it to insure that their employees aren’t running afoul of the law.

      They do. The reports are extremely detailed and they ask for conversational specifics.

      “Did you want a unit with maps?” might be a way to initiate a conversation about product differences and lead to an upsell

      High turnover assures that only employees there for longer than a year know how to upsell correctly. The “greener” employees also have difficulty closing the sale in an unforced way.

  52. kJeff says:

    geez… nobody ever tries to upsell me, offer me protection plans, or asks for my receipt when I’m in a Best Buy. it’s always a quick, painless experience.

    what are you guys doing wrong? ;)

  53. Marshfield says:

    I think we should print that FTC paragraph out and read it to every one of the best buy clerks that try this tactic. And then tell them that we’d like to report this incident to their manager and read it to HIM or HER, word for word, very slowly. Ask them if they understand. Ask them if they have any questions. And then tell them to quit disparaging the item!

  54. carlogesualdo says:

    @primate:
    “Because they don’t have to pay the merchant fee when you use it for one thing… “

    And because store charge cards carry a MUCH higher interest rate than general credit cards. I talked to Sears about lowering my interest rate and they wouldn’t do it because “that’s how we finance these special sales.” So if have a store card, most especially DO NOT carry a balance on it.

  55. TVarmy says:

    Wait, TomTom lets you download up to date maps for free once? Is that for the whole nation, or just one region? I thought the thing up there was the guy at the store pointing out that for $30 more, the customer could get the GPS and US/Canada maps, which would add up to about $50 more over TomTom’s download service.

    However, the customer is always right. Up to date maps can be much more valuable in some areas, as a GPS is near worthless if the map data is extremely wrong.

  56. Zeniq says:

    This is crazy. At my BB, I don’t think the associates care enough about the ad to even be aware of what models have what features unless they work in that section of the store- the cashiers definitely wouldn’t have a clue about it.

    And Best Buy makes a working employee walk merchandise to the front even for employee purchases as well.

  57. Nytmare says:

    @blkhrt1: You marketing types always use the word “inform” quite differently than normal people. Hence the term “infomercials”.

  58. Raiders757 says:

    I think the biggest issue here, is the guy working that section didn’t have a key to get this person the device they wanted. That’s kind of messed up having to wait on a manager to get it out for them.

    I see nothing wrong with the employee mentioning the other preloaded device. One time is fine, but all the other times seem to border on harassment.

    Three hours is no big deal. Upload the maps while watching a movie, or spending time with your family.

  59. chiieddy says:

    The same GPS is listed on blackfriday.info for $99 at about 6 different retailers. Take your pick

  60. bohemian says:

    So much for Best Buy’s new mantra of great customer service now that the economy sucks. I didn’t figure they would change anything.

    Or maybe great customer service means the loss protection guys don’t accidentally assault you as you leave the store?

  61. Haltingpoint says:

    This guy has the patience of a saint. The third time I would have told them that if they try to upsell me one more time when I’ve specifically stated which unit I want that I would be leaving to go buy it from a competitor. And I would have said it loudly.

  62. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly what is wrong with Best Buy. I work for the store and if I had any better options right now I would be gone. We do the same thing in computers but to a far greater extent. They “Pre Setup” nearly half our stock with anti virus, optimizations and restore discs. We have to push these like our jobs depend on it, and they do. Its so bad that we actually have 2 signs under each laptop or desktop. One with the preset and one with the normal price. You should see the look on peoples faces when there is a 399.99 laptop with a 800 dollar price tag next to it with all of our bullshit. I hope we get sued.

  63. waffle iron says:

    I work for another retailer that sells the same TomTom 125 and the unit cost at our store is $135. They could be reimbursing us for the loss, because that doesn’t show up on our reporting. Only the corporate buyers know that.

  64. Anonymous says:

    This is exactly the problem I have with Best Buy. I had a similar issue with buying a computer this year. I needed a quick replacement for the office so I saw a sale in Best Buy and ran over to pick up the box. Now this machine was going to be wiped out for some proprietary software installed. Even after telling the agent this he assured me that I need to pay 70 so they could speed up the OS. Even though I told him I was wiping the OS from the computer.. Made no sense at all. All they do is try to swindle people into services that they don’t even need. Best Buy is pathetic and quickly going the way of Circuit City in my opinion if they keep it up!

  65. valthun says:

    I think that there is a difference in informing a customer at least once, “Hey, you will have to spend 3 hours uploading the maps to this unit, but for an extra 30 we have units that are already up to date.” Done, if the customer says no, then the move on and give him the item requesting.

    In this case the badgering continued until the manager showed up, then continued further, with other employees commenting across the store, as well as the at the register. So they were attempting to disparage the customer in making the purchase.

    Saying here it is, but would you like to look at other models within the same range that may have other options instead is one thing. To keep telling you that it will waste your time and spend 30 dollars more is something else entirely.

  66. Anonymous says:

    I did work for BB for a bit during college, and it’s their total intention to get you to buy higher margin items. No one cares what the customer wants. Cables were the hardest thing they tried to get us to upsell.

    Plus, who cares? Let it load and charge over night (they have to charge anyways when you first get them) and you’re set in the morning.

    When I was there I did what the heck I wanted. I wasn’t liked by my managers, but the kept me around because I had the highest number satisfied and return customers. Didn’t mean I got paid any more though.

  67. HClay says:

    If I were him, I’d arm myself with that blurb from the FTC, walk back into the store and up to customer service, ask for the General Manager (whether it’s the one he dealt with before or not) and calmly explain how thoroughly turned off he was by the excessive attempts to dissuade him from purchasing what he came in for.

    I used to work as a cashier for Staples. As evil a place as it was, we generally knew when not to beat a dead horse. I think it’s fair to ask if they want to upgrade to a better product/added warranty once, and if they turn that down, explain some of the extra features they’d get, also once. If they still turn it down, I’d say it’s time to let it go.

  68. corinthos says:

    You should take it back tomorrow to the same people and tell them that there are no maps on it and they take 3 hours to load and you want to return it.

  69. Malphius123 says:

    That is a shame. As someone that works for BBY specifically in the GPS department I can vouch for the people that say there is no 3hr update…the maps are preloaded. It’s basically a TOMTOM 130 repackaged and over priced so TOMTOM can say “HEY LOOK AT THIS GREAT DEAL”.

    I also don’t know why they would be trying to upsell you to another unit because BBY is still making money on these. I blame weak management. They must not know how.

    Sadly sales people and cultures differ from store to store. Again, blame it on weak management. IMO consumerist is a good tool and wish a lot more of my over zealous co-workers would read it. A lot of stories on here embarrass me…and a lot of stories embarrass me for the OP. I think if more bad employees were challenged on what they say and do though, then they would change the way they do things.

    If you have a problem contact a manager, fill out the survey and use names (if you bought anything) we do see and read them and each surveys results pull up by the store they came from (the system goes into pretty great detail but I won’t get into that), use the customer support hotline, contact district management (These are the guys that will put some fear into the store management) or you can always skip to the executive carpet bomb. One thing I can promise you is that BBY as a company does not WANT to give a bad customer experience. It’s quite the opposite. Sadly there are always bad apples…and bad trees.

  70. komodork says:

    I work at best buy and you have to walk items to the cashier that can be stolen. Even certain new games have to be walked to the cashier because there are always so many theft.

  71. technopimp says:

    I hate having to go through these songs and dances everytime I buy, well, ANYTHING at Best Buy (or most anywhere else for that matter). “No, I do not want to buy the extended warranty. No, I do not need scratch protection. No, I am not interested in trying one of these magazines for free. No, I am not paying with your store credit card. And no, I am not interested in applying for one”.

  72. radiochief says:

    Wait a sec. This sounds fishy.

    I think it is bait and switch. Think about it.

    1) The guy wants the GPS ON sale for $99.99.
    2) He continually gets up-sold another model for ONLY $30.00 more.

    My question is $30.00 more from where? The $99.99 SALE price or the $179.99 REGULAR price?

    If another model being up-sold for $129.99- BB would have a little wiggle room for concern. I would not like the up-sell myself, but I could better understand it as my ‘concern’…

    But if the model being up-sold cost $209.99 ($179.99 + $30.00) that’s a difference of $110.00 + tax that the OP would not be willing to pay.

    THAT’S clearly bait and switch!

  73. NVsinner says:

    something sort of like this happened to me on my last outing to BB:

    i went in to buy an Apple AC adapter only because the nearest Apple store is across town (long story short: i only buy name brand items for items i may resell later on down the road, in this case, i may resell my iPhone to upgrade, so i want Apple branded parts to package with it at that time). they had it on the shelf for $39.99, which is $10 more than Apple actually sells them for.

    i went to the checkout lane, and it rings up at the higher price, and i asked the girl if i could have it for the actual retail price of $29.99. she asked me to show proof of the price, and i said, “why? that’s the actual MSRP. i don’t need proof of MSRP, only proof for price-matching sale items, no?” and she yells out, “YOU NEED TO STOP RAISING YOUR VOICE SIR!!!”

    and within seconds, every staffer within 50 feet shows up ready to throw me out. i gave her the most dirty look and said, “you and i both know i did not raise my voice at you in any way, so why did you cause a scene?” and i simply get, “we do not tolerate that type of attitude here, sir. you need to leave.”

    at that point, i decided to just throw the race card and get the customers into it. the sad part for them is that there were people in the line behind me who witnessed the whole thing, dropped their items, and left when i did without buying anything.

    now i go into the same store only to talk to other customers and convince them to buy things elsewhere. dont mess with someone who has more time on his hands than he knows what to do with.

  74. Anonymous says:

    I own a small computer sales and service shop and I am continually surprised how many people go to BBuy, purchase product and stop in for me to either install it, assemble it or otherwise do what they should have had done when they bought it.

    I am also still upset with the manufacturers for allowing the products they sell to be sold at less than cost by these guys, making it impossible to compete.

    Circuit City and CompUSA did the same stuff.

    Loss leaders really do not appropriately apply in this business. If one sees something that is just priced too low, they need to be aware of issues at the outset.

    Good for you to stick to your guns on this. It must not have been easy to hold your temper.

    Joe

  75. BMRFILE says:

    The key to shop at Best Buy is having done your research, like this gentleman did, and know EXACTLY what you’re going to buy. Either they have it or they don’t. If they have one, get it, pay for it and get out.

    I feel bad for the grunts that work on the floor. Someone put them up to this. No one in their right mind would ever want to go this far in upselling to the point where customers are pissed at them.

    Don’t prey on the guy who knows his shit. If he know s what he wants, let him pay for it. Go after the suckers that have no clue what he’s buying.

  76. Anonymous says:

    Yea, I used to work at Best Buy a couple years ago and this does not surprise me at all. I worked the Media Department and as soon as shift started you got your “talk” Whats on sale and what you need to push. I HATED it!! They would make you breathe down peoples necks to make them buy extra crap they do not need and if you didn’t get them to buy the extra stuff your managers came over yell at you about the importance of pushing the sell and your “not a team player” if you dont.

  77. Anonymous says:

    I went to Best Buy today and looked at thier $39.99 Brother all in one Fax / Copier / Printer… Alongside all of thier much higher priced models from various manufacturers… Below the display models were the actual boxes for all of the brands except the $39.99 one… SURPRISE!!! So I looked around and saw the one I wanted on the top shelf of the scaffolding by the display models… So I decided to test the staff… I called one of them over, and pointed out that no boxes were below the one I wanted… He said “Im sorry, we are apparently sold out”, and he started to launch into his upsell speach… I cut him off, and pointed to the exact model and said “I will take 2″… What was he going to say??? “We are sold out”???

    Haha Suckers

  78. catnapped says:

    Just a question for the lurking BB employees–if the prospective sucker…uh…customer bends over and drops trou, do they get a discount for making it easier for you to offer said value-added services?

  79. jpdanzig says:

    This sure sounds like a classic case of bait and switch to me. Shame on you, Best Buy!

    I only buy the most basic items in this store, like video games that are the same price everywhere.

    I remember the one time I asked them to meet a price on a Samsung MP3 player. The guy went away for ten minutes while he conferred with his manager, then finally returned with a very unhappy look on his face but gave me the price match.

    Speak about putting the customer first — NOT!

    • blkhrt1 says:

      @jpdanzig: Way to stick it to ‘em with a price match on an MP3 player!

      Need I say that it’s amazing that you probably saved 20 bucks! Which is a lot these days.

  80. Ben_Q2 says:

    I’m not going to get into the whole story. I was in a best buy last week. The sales person was telling this person about why this is better then that. I looked over and told the customer she had the right unit for what she wanted. Keep in mind this is the same brand, not the same model. Yes she had the cheaper one. The BB person told me I did not know what I was talking about. I asked him a question about it. He told me that he would have to look it up, I took the unit did it what I asked without even looking at it. Handed it back to the lady and said I was the Sr Programmer on this.

    I know they need to sell its their job, but you never know who your talking too. I did not make a seen, I did wait for him to ask me how to do it. He never did, yet it was one of his up selling points.

  81. wellfleet says:

    This is just a bad store. My store had almost two hundred of these on peg hooks, not spider-wrapped, ready for anyone to pick up and take to a register. I will say that it’s a POS and that you will be replacing it within the year, but for $100, I guess we can afford to be wasteful.

  82. wellfleet says:

    Another example… we had a laptop on sale for $299, had two dozen in stock, it was an emachine with Vista Home Basic and 1GB of RAM. It was crap. It was poorly designed. It was a paperweight and I was not happy to sell it. I didn’t care that we wouldn’t attach anything to it, I did care about customers having a terrible experience with it. People who buy a $300 laptop can scarcely afford to have to replace it within a year or two, and I was ashamed to sell it to people who needed something more powerful but could not afford it.
    Often, our customers come in for the “cheapest ________ you have”. Sometimes that isn’t what’s going to fit their needs.

  83. Supasam83 says:

    This does not represent best buy in general…this just represents the people he dealt with at that specific store. They did not know how to do their job correctly. If they actually knew any better…they would know that they would get all the money lost back at the end of the month on their P&L from vendor kickbacks. Best buy and retail stores in general don’t just lower prices and lose money. When it is that much of a drop on an item, its a deal between the retailer and the manufacture…they get all their money back…maybe not on their scorecards instantly, but at the end of the month. So this store’s staff just are not educated and it sucks you had to go through that because of their ignorance

  84. Anonymous says:

    Ehhh…I walked into my Best Buy yesterday and they had about 300 of these things just sitting in a bin by the front door with $99.99 plastered all over it.

    Maybe he should’ve just walked to the bin and picked one up, no hassle.

    • blkhrt1 says:

      @IonaPraeconinus: Judging from his posts, he’s not exactly the brightest crayon in the box. But that’s ok, because everyone needs to color in brown and black these days to match their feelings.

  85. unclescrooge says:

    i got flustered when trying to buy a BB laptop special. They had a dozen of the special units in stock but every single one had the box seal covered with their Geek Squad sticker and a list of all the software installed and the software that was uninstalled.

    seriously…i don’t know how this place stays in business. there must be that many dumb people who enjoy abuse.

    • endless says:

      @unclescrooge:

      if you ever see that happen, its company policy that they HAVE to sell one to you at normal price. depending on what software is on it they might have to remove it, or give the software to you for free.

      just depends on what software is on there.

  86. carignan.boy says:

    Same shit here in Canada. Future Shop and Best Buy employees don’t know shit about electronics and have no passion for them. As least when I worked at The Source, I told clients what I thought was best for them, not for the company!

  87. Anonymous says:

    The same think happened to me at Best Buy. I went to get a laptop that was on sale for 299.99. When I informed the clerk that is what I wanted, I was told oh you don’t want that one. It oly has 1GB and you will want to upgrade to 2GB. Let me get you the laptop for 500.00 since the one for 299.99 is regularly 500.00 anyway. I explained that is not what I came for. She then told me that the laptop would be really slow and I could upgrade to 2GB for 40.0. I said no again. She then went to get it from the back. While I was waiting a guy asked me if I needed anything . I told him what I was waiting for and he promptly told me the same thing. Except he went so far as to say that even with my high speed internet connection it would take 10-15 minutes just to load a web page and I could get upgraded to a 2 GB for 100.00.!!! I HATE Best Buy. They totally suck .

  88. xip says:

    That’s crazy. I go to Best Buy occasionally, and I haven’t run into an employee yet that actually wants to sell me something. I thought that was only a Circuit City problem. ;) Usually I assume that the employees are only talking to me because they have to and would rather get me what I want asap so they can go back to walking around and talking to each other. It has worked for me so far…
    I bet that they were following a directive from the store manager as opposed to a Best Buy policy of some sort.

  89. hankrearden says:

    “Hey…did someone tell you about those TPS reports?”

  90. Anonymous says:

    Its a friggin’ store! Of course they have to upsell. If they dont, they wont make any money. I hate websites like these that scare people away from stores.

    I want to see the original poster open a store and try to stay in business while only selling stuff ON SALE.

  91. Anonymous says:

    Yeah sometimes we do upsell customers but mostly I just do it in computers when i know that they are not going to be happy buying a computer that is going to be super slow when they get home and they are more than likely going to return the product. At my store we never upsell GPS units. We just try to sell as much stuff as possible. Thats it.