CompUSA’s Shady PS3 Ad

CompUSA has a potentially misleading advertisement this week that reader Daniel has alerted us to.

It reads: “Reserve your Playstation 3 Friday November 17 when you buy any Sony HDTV 40″ Footnote: Not responsible for manufacturer delays.”

Our question: Why exactly do you need to buy a 40″ Sony HDTV just to reserve a PS3? CompUSA should know that they will not be receiving an ample supply of PS3s; are they trying to trick consumers into purchasing an expensive television in the hopes that it will get them a PS3 sooner? — MEGHANN MARCO

CompUSA’s Shady Ad [CompUSA]


Edit Your Comment

  1. spin_sycle says:

    sounds like bait n switch to me…

  2. It’s not misleading at all, unless you can reserve a PS3 without buying said Ginormovision. I think anyone planning on buying a PS3, or a Wii for that matter, is well-aware of the scarcity of consoles, particularly when released just prior to Christmas.

  3. EricaKane says:

    People with these reservations will have to stand in line to be able to purchase it with the general public – so its not a reservation at all. Thats according to a thread on Fatwallet, based on people’s discussion with managers.

    And stores were sent a memo saying “Do not promise any specific date.” And you aren’t guaranteed the date of November 17. So yeah, you might be able to pick your reserved PS3 in January or February, when they are freely available.

  4. Echodork says:

    It is standard business practice at CompUSA to advertise items in their circular that they know will be in short supply and/or sold out. I held a job at a CompUSA in my early college days, and I worked there long enough to know to shop elsewhere. It was standard operating procedure to advertise an amazing deal on the front page of their weekly ad, get four or five units in stock on Sunday, sell them out in less than an hour, and then deny rainchecks to the other 400 customers who come looking for the item during the course of the week.

    If you must shop at a big box store, pick somewhere else. It doesn’t matter what CompUSA’s Black Friday ad has in it, I won’t go there because I just assume that they’ll be completely sold out by 9:00am.

  5. Triteon says:

    This isn’t bait-and-switch, and neither is it shady, at all. A trick? The terms are clearly spelled out in the offer. It’s just an incentive to get buyers– those already waiting for PS3– to also buy a new television. It’s no worse (except for the OOP expense) than Kellogg’s couponing for a $1 off a gallon of milk with the purchase of cereal.

  6. Magister says:

    I don’t think that spin_sycle knows what the term ‘bait-and-switch’ means. Although it is common to knee jerk at apparently dishonest adverts and yell it, it doesn’t mean it is the right term to use.

  7. EricaKane says:

    The point is; the ad won’t get you any special benefit. Any person will be able to go into CompUSa and get a PS3. (But in reality about 2 people per store will get one and no preference is being given to people who buy the TV.)

  8. Ben says:

    If you can reserve it on Friday, why can’t you reserve it on Thursday? Why not today?

    It’s no different – they don’t have them in stock and are going to call you (or ship them) when they arrive.

  9. acambras says:

    Yeah, it sounds like they really want to get your ass into the store on Black Friday.

  10. d0x says:

    “you might be able to pick your reserved PS3 in January or February, when they are freely available.”

    You mean June/July?

  11. chadlittle says:

    Called a friend who works at CompUSA and here is the truth: The company’s initial allocation is rather small; about the average amount of large screen Sony TVs they sell in an any given two-week period. In an effort to show Sony that they are pushing Sony products they are doing this offer for anyone who buys a Sony TV. Basically its an opportunity for a consumer who wants to buy a Sony TV from CompUSA, they are not looking at it like someone who wants a PS3 will actually buy a TV; but some who was going to pick between a TV from them or someone else might decide to get the TV from CompUSA with the secured chance to get a PS3.

    What they are doing to make sure you get your PS3 is to only ship a PS3 to stores for each TV sold with a special code along with it to show the consumer wants the PS3. So if a store has no takers they get no PS3 units, if the store gets 10 people who wants a TV and decides to get a PS3 they get 10.

    I don’t see it as such a bad thing, the stores and Sony don’t make anything off the PS3; would it be worse if a car dealer offered you a chance to buy a PS3 with a new car purchase? Guess what, you’re going to see that too.

    So long story short: They are doing it as a benefit for the consumer who was already going to get a large screen TV and they don’t think anyone who wasn’t going to get a TV anyways would buy one just to get a PS3.

    If 50% of the people who buy a TV want a PS3 they would have about a months supply. They are telling people when they would get a PS3 when they make the purchase of the TV and when supply levels get low that will be communicated to stores to let the consumer know.

    I see nothing Shaddy in it.

  12. Raiden47 says:

    This is not a deal, nor is it a trick.

    It is just saying “reserve your ps3 when you buy ‘blah'”. You don’t HAVE to reserve a ps3, nor do you automatically reserve one if you buy one of the TVs mentioned. It is just telling you to reserve a ps3 when (and if.. but they “forgot” to put that part in, didn’t they.. -.-‘) you buy one of the TVs. It is stupid, easily misleading, and a retarded ad. Whoever made the ad should be fired, and anyone who reads it as anything else than stated should/deserves to get stuck with whatever they have to pay for.