Can I Make Best Buy Honor Their Advertised Sale Price?

Reader Sean tried to order a TV that was on sale at Best Buy, but for some reason his order didn’t go through. Now the TV isn’t on sale anymore and Best Buy is claiming to have no record of the transaction.

Sean says:

On Monday the 26th I finally found the TV of my dreams. I have been looking for a new TV ever since I found a new apartment and the apartment is too small for my old 65″ Mitsubishi TV. I found a new DLP model for $999 on best buys website on the 26 during a two day online only sale. Well I promptly put it into the cart and submitted my order.

Well after I put in my CC info and signed on as a guest and submitted the order, the site pushed me back onto the main page and I thought the order had been placed. Now I own a web design company and I know how the order processing usually takes place. I should have received some kind of order confirmation but didn’t. So I emailed Best Buy and let them know that I had placed my order but didn’t get a confirmation. Now the sale ended that night and they emailed me the next day telling me that I need a order ID or confirmation number. I didn’t have either due to not getting any emails from them and the site botting me to the main page after the order supposedly went through.

Well after being in touch with Best Buy through email and 3 different customer care reps I finally decided to call after they told me they could find my email on profile. So I called today and spent 50 mins of the phone explaining my problem to a very nice women.

She told me that because they have no record of the transaction that they would not honor that price. Even though I have the history saved in my web browser. Without any ID number, which they should have given me, I was screwed.

So now the price is $1,279.99 instead of $999 and I don’t have that kind of money right now and they refuse to honor that price for me. Its not like I am trying to scam them, I just wanted my TV at the advertised price which I thought I had ordered with no problems in the first place. Is there anything I can do or am I really this screwed?

Well, since neither of you have any record of the transaction and the sale is over, there’s nothing you can force them to do — but that doesn’t mean you should give up. A low-level customer service person probably doesn’t have the authority to discount an item by that much, so you probably want to escalate your complaint.

You can do that by launching an EECB, here’s some contact information. Make your case and be ready to negotiate.

(Photo:dooleymtv)

Comments

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  1. Admiral_John says:

    I think you might be SOL… if there’s no record on their end I can’t imagine anything short of an EECB getting you any results. This is why I won’t order anything online without first creating an account.

  2. sicknick says:

    First of all, you should ALWAYS create an account. Working as a CSR, 90% of my calls that deal with crap like this are from people who don’t create accounts. I don’t know why guest functions suck, but they do.

    Second, why didn’t you call customer service right away? The fact you waited until the next day means you’re probably SOL. With our company, we’ll take VM’s overnight when things aren’t manned, but if you just call in the next day crying, we can’t honor the sale price. Anybody could call in and say “Hey, I totally placed an order that didn’t go through!” riiight.

    I’m sure it happened, but the OP handled it a bit naively. If the auto thing doesn’t work perfectly, get a real person on the phone and start documenting things.

    And for whatever sake, make an account!

    • voteccow says:

      @sicknick: I agree 100%, I can’t stress the importance of creating an account. I would’ve called right after you thought the order was placed and double checked to see if it went through.

    • larrymac808 says:

      @sicknick: I could not disagree more. Why on earth do I want yet another user id and password to keep track of? Why would I want to give out my email? — so the merchant can send me unwanted crap? Or phone number? — so the merchant can robo-call me? (and yes, I’m talking specifically about Best Buy here). Do I have to set up an account when I walk into the B&M version of the store? No account for me if I can help it.

    • coren says:

      @sicknick: He emailed them instead

  3. closed_account says:

    Just go to Circuit City. They have some awesome deals there.

  4. Ash78 ain't got time to bleed says:

    I thought the order had been placed. Now I own a web design company

    Dude, shhhh! You just got a web design company for $999!

  5. legwork says:

    If it were me, I’d see it as a save. If I don’t have $1280 discretionary funds spend then I don’t have $999.

    In this economy 22% off isn’t stellar, and things aren’t getting better.

    • Rachacha says:

      @legwork: That was my thought exactly. I could see if he did not want to pay $1280 for the TV when it had just been on sale for $999, but if you don’t have the $1280, don’t fool yourself into thinking that you can afford $999

    • calquist says:

      @legwork: Yep, you both beat me to it. Stick with the TV that is already functioning and avoid yourself having to read the credit card debt advice on this site next year.

    • GildaKorn says:

      @legwork:
      Allow me to climb on to the “That’s exactly what I thought!” bandwagon.

      $1300 is the same “kind of money” as $1000, as in they are both a big chunk of change to spend on something unnecessary.

      • joe18521 says:

        @GildaKorn:

        No kidding. If you had to move to a smaller apartment because money is tight and you cannot find room for the 65-inch TV you already own, then maybe, just maybe, you shouldn’t be spending a grand on a new DLP?

      • thrid001 says:

        @GildaKorn:@legwork: So lets be clear. If your paycheck is reduced by 22% or $300 you will say, you could afford the same things? He knows he needs a new TV. He can not afford (justify) $1300, but he can $1000. I wish I were a car dealer selling morons like you cars.

        • Anonymous says:

          @thrid001: Your point doesn’t really make sense. Why would you personally attack people by calling them morons? I don’t think anyone was saying that they would pay the extra money for the tv. They are just saying 300 dollars is not a huge difference if you are already willing to pay 999 (so people might say that is a big difference), so this guy is probably better off holding on to his money until he has some more wiggle room as far as price. Granted we don’t know his financial situation, so when he says he can’t afford that kind of money, financially he may be doing fine but only set aside 999 or whatever for the tv. I personally would say screw Best Buy and get the tv somewhere else. I usually find better prices on Amazon and everyday I see good deals on HDTVs.

        • legwork says:

          @thrid001: Rather than chase you into the weeds, and away from my lawn where I get to yell at all the kids, I’ll just sip my lemonade and assume it’s a misunderstanding.

    • Charlotte Rae's Web says:

      @legwork: It could just be that he made a strict price range based on what worked with his budget for buying the TV. Saying you can’t afford it doesn’t always mean you are an idiot with money, it could mean you are just the opposite.

  6. henwy says:

    I’m always surprised by posts like this. It just seems sorta amazing it still happens when e-commerce has generally become so smooth. In general, I think the OP probably screwed the pooch on this one, not necessarily for signing in as a guest, but for not contacting bestbuy after he didn’t get an order confirmation screen or an email with the order. That’s a huge red flag for anyone who’s done any web shopping.

    I know some people who screen shot each of their order pages before closing the window but that’s probably a bit overzealous. At the least you have to make sure you have an order/confirmation number somewhere though.

    • evilcharity says:

      @henwy: I don’t do it for each page when I place an order, but I do always print a PDF of the “thank you for your order” screen and save it. ITA that not getting a confirmation email would cause me to call in to be sure the order had gone through (especially with a large company like Best Buy; the confirmation should be nearly instant).

  7. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    Yes.. because you NEED a new tv to replace a 65″ tv.

    • WBrink says:

      @Oranges w/ Cheese: You should read the article again. Also, please don’t just post spiteful comments because you’re jealous that this person can afford $1,000 TVs and you cannot.

      • jswilson64 says:

        @WBrink: Just because someone can afford something, doesn’t mean they should buy it.

      • joe18521 says:

        @WBrink:

        OP’s post was neither spiteful nor jealous. If a person cannot afford to spend an extra $200 on a $1000 TV, maybe he should just make do with his 65-incher for a while longer.

        • floraposte says:

          @joe18521: The problem is that it won’t fit in the place where he lives. It’s not an expenditure that would make sense to me at either level, but I don’t think $280 is anything to sneeze at. I’m more inclined to applaud the OP for attempting to stay within preplanned limits even in a luxury expenditure–otherwise you end up going down John Thain Way.

  8. Batwaffel says:

    I have a better question:

    WHY DO PEOPLE STILL SHOP AT BEST BUY THEN COMPLAIN ABOUT THEIR SERVICE BEING SHIT?!

    Seriously, when will people just stop shopping there already?

    • tc4b says:

      @Batwaffel: There was a time in your life when you didn’t know BB sucked. You weren’t born knowing that. Some other people are at the same point in their lives where you were before you learned.

  9. lizk says:

    I’ve had *lots* of luck working with Best Buy corporate. They’ve reimbursed us for various things the store said we would never, ever be reimbursed for. Sometimes we got reimbursement in gift cards, which is OK, because we’d spend the money there anyway.

  10. shepd says:

    Do you really want to give BB your business after being treated this way? Take down the model number and search the web. I bet you find the same sale somewhere else, or somewhere pretty close.

    Heck, phone up another TV store and explain your problem. If $999 isn’t below their cost, customer-service-sense should kick and and they’ll give you the deal since it’s a double win for them: They can give BB a black eye and win you as a customer.

  11. GMFish says:

    Best Buy is claiming to have no record of the transaction.

    That’s pretty understandable as even Sean admits that his order didn’t go through. I’m actually kind of shocked that the Consumerist even posted this.

    • jc364 says:

      @GMFish: I think pointing out the best method of getting Best Buy to honor the discount anyways is good enough reason to write an article.

  12. Mr-Mr says:

    If you get tired of the back and forth, just ask for Customer Retention. If you have a decent case, and not trying to rip them off, CR folks are more than likely to help you out.

    • scoosdad says:

      @Mr-Mr: I would think that a customer retention department would exist in a compamy where you are paying for a service every month after month and have a demonstrated loyal buying history with them, not at a company like BestBuy where customers come and go “off the street” at random.

      How do they know what kind of customer you are and what kind of buying history you have with them if you are just another random visitor to their website who could have just as easily bought the same thing elsewhere online?

  13. KCChiefsFan says:

    I’d walk right into a Bestbuy and see if I couldn’t get a manager to take that much off the price for me. That is probably within their profit margin, so I wouldn’t be too surprised if the manager jumped on it. You may need to get the extended warranty to butter him up or something, but it shouldn’t be that hard. This is the time to go too. It’s very near the end of the month, they all have quotas and sales goals, so this is time to strike while the iron is hot.

    Others have said this already, but I feel the need to reiterate: If you can’t manage 1200, I don’t know how you could manage 900 any easier. In the grand scheme of things, 300 dollars isn’t that much more. If it’s going to be a strain, I’d absolutely go with a smaller sized TV….that’s just me though.

    • William Gu says:

      @KCChiefsFan: Uh, using your logic, you’re OK with paying 30% more? No thanks. Just because I can afford something doesn’t mean I should buy it.

      • KCChiefsFan says:

        @William Gu:

        ?? I didn’t say that. If I were him, I’d just wait for the price to go back down (which it eventually will) or for a coupon etc. I didn’t suggest that he pay 300 dollars more, but rather that if he can’t afford to pay 300 dollars more, that he might want to rethink paying 1000 in the first place. If someone can’t afford 1300, they probably have no business spending 1000. What is the difference between a monthly payment on a 1300 credit card charge, and a 1000 dollar one? If one can’t afford that difference, then there is a problem. Unless of course he is paying with cash (or check), but you don’t have a whole lot of protection when you buy with cash.

    • jc364 says:

      @KCChiefsFan: If the manager thinks he can sell the tv to you at the listed price, I don’t think there’s any way he would discount it 30%. He might suggest a cheaper model or something.

  14. Mr_Human says:

    I think OP just missed the deal and is now trying to pull a fast one.

  15. Waylon Baumgardner says:

    1. If you own a web design company, then you should know that after placing an order, and you’re not redirected to a confirmation page that something is wrong. Even the most simplest web ordering systesm have this function. I can’t think of any of the big sites that send you to the main page after ordering something. So in this case always create an account. Unfortunately, you’re out of luck in getting them to honor the price. But this brings me to an interesting point…if the original price is $1,299 and you claim the sale price to be $999, that’s only a difference of $300. If you can afford to spend $999, you should have no problem affording $300 more.

  16. William Gu says:

    No, I understand where the OP is coming from. I had the same with my Onkyo set-up. It was advertised at around $250 after discounts but the website continued to reject my order. I tried over and over and it started to piss me off. So I decided I would just wait until the next day to call in when they were open. I got rejected so many times but because I thought I was right (the website is why I couldn’t place the order. Please honor the price you had. What point is there if your website malfunctions when you have a lower price?) especially since the official response was to the effect of “oh yea, we know our website sucks. oh well”

    I complained and escalated until I had to leave a message. I got a call back later that hour offering the system at that price.

    You have to work for it but it’s worth it. And it’s not at all cheating Onkyo (or Best Buy, in your case). The company’s website malfunctioned and you demand to have your order fulfilled.

  17. scoosdad says:

    I always grab a screeshot of my order summary using a Firefox extension (Fireshot), before I hit “submit”. That way if they fail to give me a confirmation screen to print out, at least I’ve got some kind of record of the transaction. It may not have an order number on it, but I’ve run across a few (mostly Yahoo-powered) sales sites that don’t bother to spit out a confirmation.

    That might have helped in this situation, at least to prove that you were offered a chance to buy the TV at a certain price at a certain URL on a certain time and date.

  18. eh_remraf says:

    Ugh, one more reason to not use Best Buy’s website.

  19. sumgai says:

    If you just send them 5.47 drawings of the 7-legged spider, the TV will be paid for at the higher price. Yes, yes, I know, you’ll still be bothered with having to draw an extra spider vs. the $999 price, but I think they just might go for it.

  20. tkr5 says:

    If people use EECB’s in situations like this, it will desensitize people and ruin it for everybody. He clearly knew that there should be some sort of confirmation and there wasn’t and he didn’t resolve it right away. Certainly calling customer service and pleading his case is appropriate, but it wasn’t bad customer service for them to stand ground. If too many people use that avenue of last resort, it won’t work for the people who really need and deserve it.

    As for the website not working properly, that’s a completely different issue. I turn off most javascript and cookies, so I’m used to problems initially til I figure out what’s needed, perhaps he had a similar issue (and no, I don’t fault legitimate companies that use javascript or cookies for these sorts of purposes, so I accept responsibility for the problems).

  21. Eryn DeLille Cobb says:

    Maybe you could cite the time and date of the email you sent them? Then they could see that you were trying to rectify the problem while still within the time-frame of the 2-day sale.

    • ccbweb says:

      @Eryn DeLille Cobb: Now that’s a hell of an idea. I like that. Give BB (or whomever in a situation like this) anything that shows them you’re not pulling a “hey, I saw this price on the website at some point last week and I promise I tried to order it” kind of scam.

  22. ben says:

    “I should have received some kind of order confirmation but didn’t. So I emailed Best Buy and let them know that I had placed my order but didn’t get a confirmation. Now the sale ended that night and they emailed me the next day…”

    It doesn’t sound like he waited until the sale was over to contact them, so for the people thinking he might be trying to scam them, I’m not sure how you think that would work.

    I’m sure BB doesn’t have to honor the sale, but in terms of customer service, it would make sense for them to do so.

  23. GretaDandradeine says:

    You should take this as a GOOD SIGN, a sign take your business elsewhere. They’re not helping you out now before you’ve forked out $$ imagine if having to callback for customer service thereafter? This is BESTBUY we’re talking about,haven’t you been reading the CONSUMERIST?? tsk tsk tsk. I’d say be patient, we’re nearing the hd conversion and there will be tons more TV on clearance coming.

  24. stinger4040 says:

    Are you trading from a 65″ Mitsubishi to a 60″ Mitsubish

  25. wellfleet says:

    I work at Best Buy…

    1. Please go to your nearest store, ask for a manager, tell her/him your story (maybe print the pages from your browser) and ask if they’ll honor the deal. If they have ANY brains, they will take your money pronto and thank you. If the MOD says no, ask (nicely) for the GM, then tell her/him that you want the District Manager, etc. If you keep it polite but mention escalation, you will get what you need. Nobody wants district in their kool-aid.

    2. I know it’s a little late, but I really wish you would have called when you realized something was up instead of sent an email. I would not email or text anything urgent, I would CALL.

    3. Please don’t buy a DLP, esp. a cheap one. It’s a dying technology. You can get a great deal and even better prices on a plasma or LCD. You may have to sacrifice some screen size, but the picture quality and viewing angles will be better.

  26. Anonymous says:

    I had a similar situation during Black Friday weekend. One of the laptops Best Buy was offering as a doorbuster showed up as “Available” online so I placed an order for in-store pickup and crossed my fingers. I did get an order confirmation, but never received a “come pick it up” email.

    I got all agitated that I never heard from them (in stock or not, they’re supposed to let you know within hours of placing an order) and tried an EECB with no luck. What did eventually work was posting a message to their online forums at http://www.forums.bestbuy.com/bb/ in the “Best Buy and Geek Squad Policies” section. I was polite but firm in my dissatisfaction and received an email from a BB rep in two days. He went above and beyond to get a laptop shipped to a store near me and made sure I was charged the advertised price. It’s worth a shot, but without an order confirmation you might be out of luck.

  27. Anonymous says:

    “On Monday the 26th I finally found the TV of my dreams.”

    How would you know if you never even got the TV? Plus, how corny… your intentions of trying to have us pity your situation even more because you didn’t receive “the TV of your dreams,” completely failed.