Beware: CompUSA's 'In-Store Pick-Up' Is A Scam

Kevin purchased two DVD and CDR spindles using CompUSA’s “In-Store Pick-Up” option; when he got to the store, the price doubled. Kevin had already handed over his credit card information and had a printed receipt. Why did the price double?

CompUSA’s “In-Store Pick-Up” is a scam. Here’s how it works:

  • You find a great deal on CompUSA’s website.
  • You order the great deal and select “In-Store Pick-Up.”
  • You give your credit card information
  • You get a printable order receipt that says “Printable Order Receipt”
  • You go to the store and present your “receipt.”
  • The cashier fetches your item and rings it up for a price significantly higher price than what you “paid” online.
  • You are told that you did not pay online, and that your “receipt” is just a reservation.

This has happened to several of our readers. Though there is no mention of a “reservation” on the printable order receipt, CompUSA explains the scam on its website.

CompUSA’s website cautions, “Keep in mind, you are making a reservation at the store – not placing an order. We will not charge your credit card until you come to the store and purchase it.” Their FAQ also has some insightful answers.

Why do you not charge my credit card until I show up In-Store?
Flexibility. You don’t have to use the card you reserved with – If you want to pay cash, check or another card, you can. If you change your mind, you don’t have to deal with the hassle of messy refund credits. Also, you’re free to add to or change your order once you’re at the store. It’s quick and easy.

They don’t charge your credit card because they intend to charge you a significantly higher price once you get to the store.

Why ask for my credit card if you’re not going to use it?
It’s like making a hotel reservation – it’s simply to secure your reservation so we can take it off the selling floor in the store.

This would make sense, except that CompUSA doesn’t take the item “off the selling floor.” The cashier fetches the item.

Kevin’s email, below.

On the 18th I went to I didn’t get redirected from some deal site where they had linked to an obvious pricing mistake. I just went there because they’re local and usually have good prices. I needed blank DVD+Rs and CD-Rs and so I picked out two, spindles. Apparently there was an instant rebate for $10 on the CD-Rs and $27 on DVD+Rs. “Cool!”, I thought, “I saved some money.” I typed in my credit card, filled out the mailing address and checked if they were in stock at any local stores. Surprise, they were in stock at the local store and I could pick them up in 15 minutes. Well, I could have, except that, this particular store closes at 8pm. Anyways, I printed my receipt which read a total of $35.70(attached). It actually says “Printable Order Receipt” on the receipt. That’s because it’s a receipt, ofcourse it says it’s a receipt, right? 3 days later I finally get the time to get to compusa.

After standing at the pickup line with no one in sight for 10 minutes I just goto the 1 open register. The guy offers to go and get my stuff and rings me up….bam $72.70. “Uhh, my receipt says $35.70”, I say. “Oh, well that’s not a receipt, it’s a reservation. Those deals expired yesterday.”, the cashier says. “Actually, it says receipt at the top right here. And I already ordered it, I even paid with my credit card”, I said triumphantly. “Nope, sorry, it’s not a receipt” he repeats. “Then why did I enter my credit card info? I even could have had it shipped directly after I ordered it, I just chose to pick it up.” The cashier just stares at me. I told him that I didn’t want it then and he shrugged and looked to the next guy in line as if I was gone.

Later I sat in my car and figured I would read the fine print, expecting to find some sentence that says “this is not a receipt, but a reservation.” There are two blurbs at the bottom and none of them have anything to do with receipts. One is about varying tax rates and the other is about recycling your cell phone batteries. I have carefully inspected the receipt. If this is not a receipt, I don’t know what is. It seems like there should be some law preventing retailers from doing this. I mean I actually purchased the item and yet they won’t give me the price because I didn’t pick it up right away. I can guarantee that if I had it shipped, it wouldn’t have left the warehouse until monday which is later than now. It says it takes 3-4 days from the time you order to the time it ships! you find a great deal on CompUSA’s website, save yourself a headache; order it online and pay the shipping fees. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER