It’s been almost four years since Consumerist first brought you the story of Best Buy’s in-store kiosks that sometimes displayed completely different information than the company’s actual internet site. And after a long and drawn-out battle with the attorney general of Connecticut, a settlement has finally been reached.
In the settlement announced yesterday, Best Buy, which in 2007 attributed the incident to a “small percentage” of store salespeople misunderstanding the difference between in-store kiosk prices and online pricing, will pay Connecticut $399,000 and reimburse any affected Connecticut customers with documentation of the difference between the online prices and the higher in-store kiosk prices they were originally charged. In its Connecticut locations, Best Buy also will post the settlement notice near the front of the store and keep a copy of the settlement along with a claim form consumers can use to seek restitution.
As we reported back in 2007, customers were seeing in-store sales listed on BestBuy.com but when they would get to the store, employees would tell them the sale was over or never existed. They would go to the in-store kiosk and pull up a different version of the Best Buy site that verified what they were telling the customer.
In a statement, Best Buy claims it has resolved disputes with all 16 customers it knows about:
Consumers were identified over the past seven years who raised an issue with Best Buy’s kiosks showing in-store, not online prices and Best Buy took action in 2007 to ensure those affected claims were resolved… Since then, Best Buy is not aware of any other Connecticut consumers affected by this issue. These allegations identified at most a situation in which Best Buy’s efforts to ensure that customers receive the best product information, selection and price had, on unfortunate occasion, not met those customers’ expectations.
While it’s all well and good that Best Buy made good with the handful of complaining customers, we’re curious how many more out there were affected by this practice. How many customers either just threw up their hands and left the store or caved and paid the higher price because they’d come out with the intent to buy?
Best Buy and Connecticut’s AG settle over alleged ‘Internet bait-and-switch’ [InterenetRetailer.com]