Best Buy Cancels Order Due To Pricing Error, Then Puts It Through At MSRP

Online pricing mistakes happen. When they do, the retailer isn’t obligated to sell the item to you at the original price. Life and retail just are not fair. However, what companies are not supposed to do is cancel your order at an erroneous sale price, then put it through again at the much-higher original price that you didn’t want to pay. That’s what happened to John’s brother and some other posters on the sale forum Slickdeals.

As seen on a website Slickdeals.net, Bestbuy.com had a sale offering two DVDs for $22.98. Among them were Coraline Collector’s Edition and HellBoy II Collector’s edition, both with an original price of $59.99 each. My brother thought this was an awesome deal, so he ordered one of each for him, and one of each for me, online.

Now, that was all well and good, and my brother got the order confirmation e-mail showing that the order was being processed. What transpired next really knocked the socks off me!

Normally, for price mistakes, I would expect a company to issue an e-mail or notice saying that it was a price mistake, and that the price would not be honored. I would not necessarily expect anything beyond that, besides an offer to cancel the order, or some sort of apology like giving it to us at that price anyway. (Wal-Mart, for instance, offered a gift card to make up the difference).

My brother first received e-mails showing that the order was cancelled– that *HE* cancelled the order by RETURNING the items. These were online orders mind you, so they could not possibly have been sent yet! More suspiciously, only one of each item was canceled. A NEW order was then placed using his credit card for the same items AT FULL PRICE!!! ($59.99!!!) The items were marked as shipped, so when he called Best Buy’s customer service number and spent an hour and a half trying to get to a customer service rep, several of which told him that there was nothing they could do, he finally found one that would TRY to refund the difference in price to his credit card.

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  1. TuxthePenguin says:

    OMG, so he tried to take advantage of something that was over 70% the regular price – ie, too good to be true – and it backfired.

    Just wait until you receive the items and return it in store and explain what happened. All this angst isn’t need – you played with fire, you got burned. You get to make a trip to the store.

    Now, my calls to Best Buy wouldn’t be about trying to cancel the order – it’d be about placing an order without my permission, using telecommunications and a credit card fraudulently.

    • slim150 says:

      I know its a little late, but nominate this post for “Dumbest Post of the Year”.

      • partofme says:

        By my calculation, we still have over 38 hours of the year left for dumb posts to occur. And they will.

        • LadySiren is murdering her kids with HFCS and processed cheese says:

          Yes, but Tux has set the high-water mark for the handful of hours we have left.

      • Dover says:

        Seconded.

      • Chmeeee says:

        Thirded.

      • GrandizerGo says:

        It is the reason I never read anything form the pompous jerk.
        The system here for commenting will never be useful until they add the ability to thumbs up / thumbs down comments / commentors.
        I remember when the comments here were actually useful, now if it isn’t a post by a pompous jerk as above, it is one from someone who immediately knows the standard lines…
        Should pay your cc off every month, should never use a debit card, should this, should that…

    • a354174 says:

      Hello Best Buy.

    • pecan 3.14159265 says:

      I don’t know if I can say this was ‘taking advantage’ of…Best Buy has a lot of holiday sales and it doesn’t seem to be much of a stretch for something that’s been out for a year or two to drop in price temporarily, especially during holidays.

    • Murph1908 says:

      From morning deals JUST THIS MORNING

      Aeropostale: [Clothing & Accessories] Save Up To 70% Off + Extra $10 Off $100 Or More use coupon code 10HOLIDAY.

      A 70% off deal isn’t automatically too good to be true.

      I don’t see how this is the dumbest post of the year, either. BB cancelled his order and recharged him at full price. That’s unacceptable.

      • Back to waiting, but I did get a cute dragon ear cuff says:

        No, the original post is not what they are calling the dumbest post. It is Tux’s reply saying that 70% off is too good to be true that they are referring to.

        • Murph1908 says:

          Oh, ok. Post/comment terminology confusion.

          So i suppose that’ll make my comment hit the top 5 dumbest of the year. =)

    • georgi55 says:

      I wish there was ignore list so I don’t have to see your idiot comments again.

    • heismanpat says:
    • Portlandia says:

      OMG, so you didn’t even RTFA and decided to spout off your mouth and now you look like an idiot.

      I hardly think a DVD for $23 each (not $23 for both) which is just over 60% off which sounds reasonable. At Christmas I saw DVDs that are regularly $15 being sold for only 3 bucks. Since you’re not good at math that’s 80% off. In fact I bought a couple of them.

      Also, the entire point of the post is Best Buy canceled the order and rebilled the customer at full retail which is unethical.

      I agree with the other poster. We need an ignore button.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        And if you read through the rest of my article, I stated how it wouldn’t be about canceling the order (that can be done easily enough through a return) but rather accenting how they committed credit card fraud by charging something that I had no approved. “”NEW order was then placed using his credit card for the same items AT FULL PRICE!!! ($59.99!!!)…” What else can that imply?

        Look – you don’t usually score collectors editions for 61% off [ 1 - (22.98/59.99) = 61.69% ]. Yeah, I kind of spouted off, I’ll admit that.

        But if you read the entire second article, its obvious that the brother is trying to still get the items for the original (wrong) sales price.. “he finally found one that would TRY to refund the difference in price to his credit card.” That right there does not imply he was really trying to cancel the order, but get them to honor their mistake.

        Funny, that isn’t mentioned in the commentary.

        • Pax says:

          Look – you don’t usually score collectors editions for 61% off [ 1 - (22.98/59.99) = 61.69% ]. Yeah, I kind of spouted off, I’ll admit that.

          http://store.steampowered.com/app/901222/

          Star Trek Online: Digital Deluxe Edition. 75% off. Today (30 DEC 2010) only.

          … you were saying?

        • Portlandia says:

          Wow thanks for doing the math for me.. exactly what were you trying to prove? That 61.69% is “just over 60%” as I pointed out? Well done you!

          You talk about “scoring” collector’s additions for over 60% off like it’s some big deal. I get 40% off coupons from Borders every week (I have one now if you want it) so getting 60% off is hardly a feat. I’m sure I could do that on Amazon just about any day of the week. The discussion of price is all a red herring.

          The entire point of this article, which you completely missed and continue to miss, is that best buy charged them more than the price advertised online. (whether that price was right or wrong is immaterial) The customer agreed to a price and paid, BB changed the price and charged their credit card the higher price. Not only is this unethical, as I also pointed out, it’s illegal and against the Credit Card Merchant Agreement.

          As for getting the original price. Why wouldn’t you at least TRY and get the disks for the advertised price? I would bet every other person on the site would at least try to get them to honor what seems like a reasonable price. This is especially true of BB went and charged me more than the original sale price without my consent.

          • TuxthePenguin says:

            And if you read the rest of my post, I already handled that concept:

            “Now, my calls to Best Buy wouldn’t be about trying to cancel the order – it’d be about placing an order without my permission, using telecommunications and a credit card fraudulently.”

            I reacted a bit fast because the last line is what set me off.

            “…he finally found one that would TRY to refund the difference in price to his credit card”

            The summary of it goes like this:
            1. Brother tries to buy at mistake-level prices.
            2. Best Buy realizes this and corrects their mistake, canceling that order. This is legal for them to do.
            3. Best Buy creates a new order and bills at the correct price. As I mentioned already, this is illegal for them to do.
            4. Brother calls BB and tries to get them to refund the difference between the mistake price and the real price…

            #4 is basically trying to get them to honor the mistaken price. They don’t have to. Putting that aside, so this entire article is about two topics
            1. Best Buy doing something illegal (creating sales without authorization), and
            2. Being annoyed because you’ll have to go to the store to return it.

            • halo969 says:

              I do believe the reason he’s trying to get them to refund the difference is because they already marked the order as shipped so he’s going to be getting the items at the higher price without his consent. I sure as hell would do the same thing if they are going to force the issue.

            • Putaro says:

              Get over it. Your post was over the top.

          • coren says:

            They’re actually sold at 60 each and he got them for 11.49 each, or 22.98 for both. That’s over 80 percent off.

            Best Buy is still way in the wrong, but hey.

    • cwlodarczyk says:

      See, this is why everybody hates Texas.

    • AnthonyC says:

      I routinely buy things for 70% off the MSRP or better. Hardly “too good to be true.”
      As for fraudulent credit card use, you may well be right. I don’t know if it’s fraud, but it may well be illegal, and is certainly unethical.

    • TooManyHobbies says:

      You make it sound like the guy was trying to scam Best Buy. All he was doing was trying to buy something at the quoted price. He even says that if it was a mistake in the price, he would have expected them to just cancel the order, and he would have been OK with that.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        “he finally found one that would TRY to refund the difference in price to his credit card”

        What other way is there to take that phrase?

        He thought he was purchasing the price at $X. The price was a mistake and now they have charged him $X+1 in a new transaction (this is where I say that there is a huge problem, because that was an unauthorized transaction). Now, he’s calling them trying to get the +1 refunded.

        That is the same as trying to get them to honor the price at $X… which was a mistake. So how is that not a scam?

        • coren says:

          That Best Buy couldn’t cancel the order because it was beyond their order canceling deadline – which btw, is less than an hour after you make it.

          It’s not a scam because he’s being illegally (I think) charged at a price he didn’t agree to. It’s not like he went in when they were their supposed correct price and then bought them and complained.

          Sears had a similar thing happen – anyone who bought egift cards recently was offered them at half off. It was an error (their site reduced price as gift was in the title? Or card? Doesn’t matter). Sears canceled orders. They didn’t make us pay more after the fact.

        • Difdi says:

          The OP’s complaint isn’t well-written. But from the way I read it, his friend agreed to a deal where he’d pay $91.92 and get 4 DVDs. Then Best buy noticed a mistake, and canceled the order. That’s fair in a lot of states, though as other posters have noted, not every state allows that.

          THEN Best Buy placed the order again, without permission, and charged the OP’s friend $165.94! On top of that, Best Buy refused to cancel the order after it was entered, even though they had already canceled it once already.

          That’s not $X+1. That’s criminal credit fraud. Whoever entered that order a second time should be arrested and jailed. All the OP is doing is pushing Best Buy to honor the deal they already agreed to. And since when is it dishonest to expect people to keep their promises?

    • Pax says:

      OMG, so he tried to take advantage of something that was over 70% the regular price – ie, too good to be true – and it backfired.

      I buy things that re marked down by 70%, and even more, all the time.

      Steam has tons of sales like that. In fact, right now – as I write this – they are offering Star Trek Online: Digital Deluxe Edition for $7.50 … 75% off the regular $29.99 price.

      They’re also offering the GTA IV Complete Collection for $10, 75% off the regular $39.99 price.

      Oh, and Europa Universalis III Complete for $5, 75% off the regular $20 price (and I may be buying that one, after this post).

      Or, how about Steam’s Square Enix / Eidos Complete Pack (every Steam-available game by those publishers), regularly priced at $606.60, but today only, on sale for 88% off: $74.99 …?

      Or the Valve Complete Pack, which is literally every Valve game ever made (Valve are the people who operate Steam, by the by) … going for $49.99, 72% off of the regular $180.82 price.

      70% off isn’t “too good to be true”, because it legitimately happens. Rarely, perhaps … but it does happen.

      • TuxthePenguin says:

        You’re right, it does happen. I typed a little fast and didn’t put in enough hedging phrases.

        But if you purchased it and then the manufacturer canceled it, claiming it was a mistake, would you then fight to get it at that price? That’s what he’s doing… read the last line. He’s trying to keep the order but get them to refund the difference.

        • Pax says:

          Yes, I would fight to get that price.

          And I would win the fight, too.

          Because the state where I live, and am sitting in, has very specific laws about Merchants having to honor their advertised prices, and “too bad if it was a mistake”. They can correct the advertising and THEN stop honoring the erroneous price … but they can’t fail to honor transactions processed BEFORE the correction is made.

          (And before you say it, those laws are also very specific on one important point: advertisements via the internet, accessed by a resident of this state, from a computer physically within it’s boundaries, are subject to the jurisdiction of the state’s consumer protection laws, on behalf of said residents.)

          In the OP’s case, Best Buy would have to complete the order as originally processed, including delivery of the described merchandise, at the originally advertised price. Or do some explaining to someone from the AG’s Office of Consumer Affairs.

          There are days when I am very happy to live here (Massachusetts). :)

    • Difdi says:

      The company offered a deal. The OP accepted the deal and paid money for the deal.

      The company then reneged on the deal, and to add injury to insult, chose to commit credit fraud against the OP. How is this in any way a backfired wrongdoing on the OP’s part?

      There is literally NO way to tell a pricing mistake from a real deal. For every “too good to be true” mistake there is a genuine “too good to be true” deal that actually is true. How exactly do you tell them apart without being psychic?

  2. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    What does Best Buy mean when it says it’ll try to refund the difference? It was a mistake and either Best Buy refunds all of his money once he returns the merchandise, or it credits the difference to his card. It’s not rocket science. Companies do it all the time. I get that Best Buy can’t cancel the order (though the order should not have been placed at all), but it should definitely be able to refund the difference (if Best Buy had agreed to honor the mistaken deal, something the OP did not clarify).

  3. Wang_Chung_Tonight says:

    sounds like best buy is doing some fraud here

  4. FatLynn says:

    Only one of each item was cancelled? So he got one of each at the great deal price?

  5. Hi_Hello says:

    that is their return policy? no restocking fees? full refund on all unopen items? It might be easier just to return it at the store or something

  6. Dover says:

    If Best Buy won’t cancel the order or correct the price, I think it would be appropriate to initiate a chargeback for the difference.

  7. Overheal says:

    Its beginning to look a lot like lawsuit… ♫

  8. PunditGuy says:

    For anyone wondering how a DVD special edition can cost $60 (because I sure as hell was), the Coraline one is 2D/3D and comes with 4 sets of 3D glasses. The Hellboy one includes a figurine and a book.

    • Erich says:

      I have the Coraline set. 2 DVDs, 4 pairs of paper 3D glasses. It was $30 at FYE, which is generally the most expensive place to buy DVDs. No excuse for Best Buy to charge anywhere near what they did.

  9. eskimo1981 says:

    While the return policy should cover the bulk of this issue, he might still have a fight for the shipping charges.

    I ordered something from Best Buy once, received an email from them the next day that they had cancelled the order only to have them ship it anyways a week later. I refused the shipment when it arrived, and got a refund on the item without a problem, but it was one hell of a fight trying to get them to reverse the shipping charges.

  10. Dacool561 says:

    Read this on cheapassgamer yesterday and someone posted this response:

    If you read your cancellation e-mail you would see the following:

    If you have other qualified blu-ray movies on your order you will still receive it at the sale price; however, you will see a charge on your account at the item’s regular selling price plus any applicable taxes and once the item ships out you will see a refund on your account in order to honor the item at the $11.49 bundle offer plus any applicable taxes. Note there is no action your part.

  11. simonster says:

    This is probably against his credit card’s merchant agreement, so he may be able to do a partial chargeback for the difference.

  12. lvdave says:

    I’m always laughing when I see people coming to Consumerist and complaining about WorstBuy… You wonder if they even *read* Consumerist.. because if they *did* they sure wouldn’t go to WorstBuy, unless of course they are nuts.. I bought a Canon All-in-one printer for my in-laws, saw that WorstBuy had it at a great price.. I did some further checking and found that Staples had it for the same price.. Three guesses where I bought it.. Consider also that my local WorstBuy is right around the corner, and the nearest Staples is in the next town.. You spend a little money on gas to save a LOT of problems avoiding WorstBuy, let me tell you!!

    • FatLynn says:

      Even better, this is a Best Buy/SlickDeals combo!

    • teke367 says:

      Eh, its a good place to buy a mobile phone, since they do the mail in rebate for you and you don’t need to lay out the cash upfront. Other than that, I would just buy DVDs or games there, if there was a deal (at the store, not online), because its kind of hard to screw those things up.

    • ames says:

      I’ve never ever had an issue with BestBuy.

      ::shrug::

      • superml says:

        Same.

        Maybe it’s just me, but despite the horror stories, I’ve had no bad issues with Best Buy (and also applies to many other stores) so I’ll continue to shop there if it suits me.

    • regis-s says:

      I shop at BestBuy all the time when it’s convenient. I’ve never had a serious issue with them.

      I really don’t understand people that seem to constantly have problems with retailers. I wonder if the issue isn’t more the customer than the business.

  13. stebu says:

    Very simple solution to this (assuming that you paid with a credit card). Wait until you get the goods, call up BestBuy when you get them, state that you didn’t authorize the higher charge, and if they do not refund the money, chargeback.

  14. DovS says:

    I think it MIGHT be possible to do a chargeback AND keep the items.

    The customer ordered some DVDs at a specific listed sale price and agreed to pay that listed sale price. Best Buy canceled that order because the sale price was in error. The new order was never made by the customer and never agreed to or confirmed by the customer. Since he did not agree to purchase the items at a higher price, he has no legal obligation to pay the new higher price.

    In addition, since the new order was NOT placed by him, Best Buy essentially sent him products that he did not order. He did place an order for similar products but that was an entirely different order which Best Buy canceled. The second order was not made by the customer and was fraudulent in that in charged his credit card a price to which he never agreed. The law does not require you to return products sent through the mail which you did not order.

    So I can’t be 100% certain but I think he can keep the DVDs as well as demand a chargeback for the fraudulent second order. If his conscience stings him, he can just ask for a chargeback for the difference.

    • inkling79 says:

      Exactly. In my mind the bigger issue is the unauthorized use of his credit card.

    • coren says:

      That might be technically right, I don’t know, but it’s sure unethical (and this is coming from someone who regularly goes to that forum too. heh)

  15. MarkSweat says:

    The order for the higher priced item was never placed by the customer. Charge back the entire purchase. Keep the two DVDs as unsolicited merchandise.

  16. Red Cat Linux says:

    Right – OK, Slickdeals often try to take advantage of misprinted prices, but regardless of how that price got there, the merchant does NOT have the right to cancel the sale at the agreed to price, and run it through again at a price the customer did not agree to.

    Cancel, yes… cancel and re-do transaction without customer’s consent at a higher price – no. Hell, no.

  17. PLATTWORX says:

    ” he finally found one that would TRY to refund the difference in price to his credit card.”

    No no…. no “TRY” You have an order confirmation showing what you agreed to pay. If they charge you an extra cent you simply dispute the charge and provide your credit card company a copy of your order confirmation. You authorized payment of THAT transaction, not the one at the higher price.

  18. megafly says:

    Why would anybody do business with Bestbuy and NOT expect to get screwed, blued, and tattooed?

    • halo969 says:

      Agreed. I must admit, I kinda snicker when I read these stories because it reaffirms my decision 8 years ago to never shop at Best Buy ever again. I only wish more people put their money where their mouth is. Imagine if every person who has gotten screwed at Best Buy never shopped there again – they’d notice and either change how they operate or go out of business.

      • Bby says:

        Uhh, no. The few of you who have been screwed, compared to the millions they deal with every day who have perfectly acceptable experiences?

        Let’s face it. Some of your complaints may have merit, but usually blame falls on both sides typically. It’s just as much your fault as a store’s sometime, and to not shop there because you screwed up is stupid.

  19. Pax says:

    Credit fraud. Buyer should contact his State AG’s office.

  20. coren says:

    I like that there are state laws about bait and switch and advertised price.

    I wish the internet had to do that too. Yes, some companies would take a bath. Dell in particular (can’t tell you how many times they’ve pulled “whoops, price error”). But this wouldn’t happen if it was in a circular – they’d either let a couple people get it then stop honoring it and post signs, or just honor it, or be out of stock for those items or whatever. They wouldn’t covertly charge me what they wanted me to pay after the fact.

    The internet needs more consumer protection laws akin to bat and switch and honoring advertised price. That, or it needs to be treated like taxes – if I’m in a state, and a company is in that state (like Amazon is in Washington, or Newegg is wherever they have warehouses) then the state’s laws apply. I have to pay sales tax at Amazon because my state requires sales tax – why don’t I get the same protections?

    • Pax says:

      In Massachusetts, the Internet DOES have those laws. :)

      940 CMR 6.01 (“Definitions”), in small part:

      Advertisement. “Advertisement” (including the terms “advertise” and “advertising”) means any oral, written, graphic, or pictorial representation made by a seller in the course of the solicitation of retail business or which encourages a person to purchase a retail product. Advertisement includes a: representation made in a newspaper, magazine, on or via the Internet or other publication or on radio or television or contained in any notice, handbill, sign, billboard, banner, poster, display, circular, pamphlet, catalog, or letter, or printed on or contained in any tag or label which is attached to or accompanies any product offered for sale. Advertisement includes any representation disseminated within Massachusetts if the advertisement is directed to consumers in Massachusetts, or accessible to Massachusetts consumers on or via the Internet.

      (Emphasis mine, both kinds.)

      In the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, BestBuy would be on the hook for the originally-advertised price, plain and simple. Note especially that it doesn’t matter if the company in question is even in the United States … if you advertise within Massachusetts, even via the internet … you subject yourself to the jurisdiction of Massachusetts Laws and Courts.

      Caveat, of course: IANAL.

      • coren says:

        Dude, that’s awesome. I imagine it’d be hard to fight and win that, but it’d be fun watching companies get hit with punishments from the government for not having their eye on the ball.

        • Pax says:

          Especially since the simplest defense would be to pro-actively include the phrase “Offer not available in all areas; click here for details” … and then, for those that click for those details, provide a list of where the offer is good for.

          Or, alternately, “Offer not valid in ___, ___, the State of Massachusetts, or ___”.

          :)

  21. sj_user1 says:

    Sue BestBuy for credit card fraud.