Best Buy: Open Box Items Cost $30 More Because Of "Policy"

We get quite a few photos of funny open box “mistakes,” but this is the first one that came with a complaint.

OK, normally I don’t even step foot in Best Buy, but my girlfriend’s family doesn’t grasp the internet age so well…so I’m stuck trying to explain how terrible Best Buy is to people who don’t realize anything else exists :) I was in Best Buy on Sunday about noon, and was looking at LCD TV’s to pass the time. I can across what looked like a great deal…a DYNEX 37″ TV…for $650!!

Cheap for a large TV…I saw there were a bunch of new TV’s in the box and saw one that was open box…which is usually good for 25% off. NOT THIS TIME, HOWEVER! They marked the TV UP by $30! I couldn’t believe it. I asked several people, all of whom explained that was “policy”. Oh well…I guess I don’t get a shiny new TV…

I am attaching a picture of both signs I took with my cell phone.

I love the consumerist! Terrific job!

$30 extra for an open TV? We know they were trying to crack down on people buying and returning stuff just to get the “Open Box” discount, but still.



Edit Your Comment

  1. FreemanB says:

    That’s the fee they charge for ensuring you don’t have a box of floor tiles.

  2. Antediluvian says:

    You don’t think those boxes open themselves, do you? I think a $30 service fee for opening a box is a bargain!

  3. jerros says:

    *boggle* I can’t even begin to comprehend the thought process behind this. Maybe they are trying to get the customers to say “Hey wow that unopened box is cheaper than the opened one it must be on sale…I should buy now”

    Or maybe they are betting on the unopened TV’s to sell out so the guy who buys the last one ends up paying $30 more with out realizing it.

    Either way it’s a pretty strange policy in comparison to other standard “open box” policies in every other store in the nation. I think perhaps someone miss read company policy, or the guy who wrote it made a huge mistake.

  4. backbroken says:

    My guess is that the particular model is on sale. The policy is probably that Open Box items are not subject to any sale or promotion.

    Or else thems is just stoopid.

  5. Michael Belisle says:

    The open box stickers are written with marker by a human being. The sign is printed on a laser printer. Often this is an issue of an item going on sale without someone updating the price of the open box edition.

    Since the employees don’t work on commission, there’s no incentive to mark up the price of a TV. Maybe the person who said “policy” was joking. Because it’s funny.

  6. joeblevins says:

    Yeah… I am thinking this is just some guy bitching to justify his BB hatred. This happens all the time. Item goes on sale, open box price not adjusted.

  7. This happens all the time.

    @joeblevins: This is the first I’ve heard of it. If it costs more because the unopened items are on sale, why wouldn’t they just say so?

  8. Michael Belisle says:

    @joeblevins: It is funny that he normally doesn’t step foot in Best Buy but those oh those Open Box deals are a steal! His girlfriend probably didn’t have to try very hard to cajole him.

  9. Critcol says:

    The $640 (before $40 mail-in rebate) 37″ LCD over at Staples is a much better deal.

    Also, shout out to the Harvard Sq Staples crew, they rocked when I swung by on Sunday (in the middle of a snow storm) to grab one.

  10. SpenceMan01 says:

    In the picture, you can see the “As Advertised” above the price of the TV on the tag. I’m with belisle in thinking that it went on sale and the Open Box tag is merely unchanged. I’m not sure why they called that “policy”. I would assume that you would be able to negotiate it down to at least a little below the sale price. Back when I worked there, the sales guys were pretty interested in getting the open box crap off of the shelves and out of the store.

  11. Don’t places like BestBuy charge you a re-stocking fee for returning open items? Aren’t they double dipping?

  12. reasonsnotrules says:

    Some of you are ridiculous, while some of you actually have a good thought process. Sales start every Sunday, prices change. Sometimes they miss an open box sticker and forget to update it. This has been on here so many times its starting to get obnoxious. I also highly doubt they said it was “policy”. This guy is probably just some ass who caused his own bad experience in a big box store and is bitter. Use your heads people.

  13. quzarx says:

    I could see charging more for an open box of something in one of the evil plastic electronic cases. $30 fee to not cut one’s hands while opening, but on a TV, that is just crazy.

  14. comopuedeser says:

    Something in me says it should be illegal for them to call themselves BEST buy. My inclination is that they aren’t the actual BEST buy.

  15. warf0x0r says:

    20 bucks says that the “Policy” was just a way to attempt to get a service plan sold on the thing and by reflecting 10%, standard open box markdown, plus the cost of some service plan they were trying to “plant the seed” by telling the customer,

    “It’s been opened but it also comes with a 3(4,5 or whatever) warranty.”

    Probably some department supervisors way to up the PSP % that day.

  16. B1663R says:

    i’ve had nothing but good times with best buy. probably because it’s the Canadian version of the store. I have had problems with Futile Shop, er, Future shop in the past because they are Commission and they take advantage of people all the time, and also because of evil Service reps.

    Best Buy Canada, is alright in my books, well except for that time they sold me the wrong RAM for my computer and screwed it all to hell. and the time they busted my chops over an MP3 Player exchange and refund for extended warranty.

    other than that… meh i guess.

  17. Boy Howdy says:

    I don’t think it’s crazy to think that it might actually be policy not to update open box stickers when the product goes on sale, because they might forget to adjust it back upwards when the sale is over.

    Not saying it’s what they do, as I don’t know anything, but it would seem like a reasonable-ish policy if that were the case.

  18. Bobinow says:

    Do the dates on the tags match? I work at BB in the warehouse and merch. section so on Sundays I work on sign pricing. If the people in the Home Theater department at the store you went to is [statement removed] as the one I work at, they probably didn’t change the open item to reflect the current price (something they are in charge of). It should be cheaper, but if I were you I wouldn’t look at Dynex for an LCD.

  19. jaydez says:

    I worked at a Best Buy when I was in college (2001ish). We had to go throught the department once a week (usually tuesdays) and chage all the open box stickers. We were given a scan gun that would show the lowest price in the last 30 days and adjust the price down from that, then $10 more every week it went unsold. There were many occasions where the price went down before he change the sticker because the prices were changed after EOB on Saturday.

    I have a feeling it still works the same way.

  20. Android8675 says:

    TV was probably being sold under cost, when returns come in the system puts “recommended” prices which is usually like just short of cost.

    See how the top TV’s label says “As Advertised” above the price (Hard to make out, but I think it says that), that TV is on sale, probably a “door buster”. Best Buy takes a loss to get you in the store and buy other stuff. Chances are when the open box item was priced the TV was not on sale, if $679.99 is close to cost, figure the TV normally sells for $699 or $749.

    So if the TV was not on sale, it would be cheaper, but since it is just take the TV to a manager and ask if you can get it for less.

  21. pearlythepirate says:

    Truthfully, if you were to ask a Home Theater or Customer Service rep, or perhaps a manager NICELY and explain the situation, they would very likely have given you the item for the current price or with a discount. Whining about not eloquently asking for a price discount that you should actually get doesn’t help any.

  22. Android8675 says:

    Also, just reading this letter I get the feeling this is the kind of person who feels everyone is out to get them, and feels “the man” is always trying to keep them down.

    There’s no real indication of the exchange between this customer and the employees, but I know if someone starts giving me a hard time and possibly tosses in a couple insults for good measure, I’m much more likely to quote “policy” to him too instead of just changing the price if he asked… nicely.

    Ya get more ants with honey than with vinegar. (apparently this is a lie, ants prefer vinegar over honey, but the addage has been this way for eons, so who am I to argue)

  23. Antediluvian says:

    @comopuedeser: I think you’re mistaken in your interpretation of the word “best” in the store’s name.

    It’s not that it’s your “best” possible purchase.

    It means that you had “best buy” dat der gizmo, if you knows whats good fer ya.


  24. clevershark says:

    @jerros: “I can’t even begin to comprehend the thought process behind this.”

    That’s your problem right there — you’re assuming there’s *a* thought process behind this!

  25. warf0x0r says:

    @clevershark: Either two things are happening here.

    1. They’re imbounding the TV to sell PSP on it.
    649.99 – 10% (open box discount) =585
    + 99.99 for PSP = 684.99

    except all Open box Items have to end in the dollar amount of 9 and cents .60

    So 679.60 (the sixty thing was true from ’97 til ’01 they could have changed it.)

    2. On they say the original price of the TV is 749.99, so if you take 10% off of that price 675. You can see it says as advertised above the price in the picture.

    Either way they must have new rules cause I cannot figure out how they came up with 679.99 for an Open Item.

    @backbroken: I think you got it, but I wouldn’t be suprised if it was imbounding.

    Either way they’re never gonna sell the damn thing.

  26. coren says:

    @belisle: Best Buy isn’t the only store that has open box policies (and theirs is usually far less than 25 percent unless something has been sitting around a good while)

  27. Copper says:

    It’s not “policy” at Best Buy. It’s one manager who’s an asshole. Store managers have a lot of control over their individual stores and they choose, for the most part, which policies to enforce and which to ignore.

  28. thebigbluecheez says:

    Not that it’s perfectly applicable, but when I worked at Circuit City, open box TV stands cost more than closed ones.

    The reason? $30 Assembly charge

  29. mmmmna says:

    @FreemanB: A box of floor tiles should not have been accepted by Customer Service staff – what are the duties of Customer Support if not to inspect returns (to verify the damages) and to verify all the cords and CDs came back to the store?

  30. failurate says:

    @comopuedeser: They are who we thought they were!

    /D. Green

  31. vastrightwing says:

    Do not ever buy an extended warranty from these people! I am in the middle of contacting the Attorney general and their legal department for not honoring a claim on repairing my camera. The salesperson declared the warranty would be good for nearly any mishap short of abuse. However, abuse can be anything from a dent, serial number worn off a sticker, missing plastic part, etc. The warranty lasts up to 4 years, and in 4 years, there is wear and tear. Therefore, be warned. The warranty will never be valid because if you ever do anything to the device that makes it look like it didn’t just come off the shelf, they will deem the warranty void. Also, Best Buy won’t let you read the contract until you’re checking out.

  32. krom says:

    Do they honor price matching on open box items? Take it to CS desk and have them call themselves to verify the price.

  33. HOP says:


  34. JohnOB1 says:

    Can we agree that Best Buy sucks and kill the damn rationalization/pretext? “I was in a bus hijacked by terrorists who DRAGGED me at gunpoint to Best Buy… while I was there I figured I’d buy a 37″ LCD.”

    Just tell us what happened and dispense with the overture.


  35. RvLeshrac says:


    Nice idea.

    Now, who is going to pay for the 30 additional CSRs needed to handle all that searching through boxes?

    In addition, not every item is clear about what comes in the box. I see plenty of items like videocards and motherboards where the manual states what is in the box and additionally what *might* be in the box if you happened to get a model that supports the features that require the additional cables/whatnot.

  36. nuton2wheels says:

    And now you know why those crooks at Fry’s won’t let you bring a camera into the store? :)

  37. blkhrt1 says:

    What it is is when an item is returned, but is open and still functioning, it is discounted 10% from the CURRENT price at the time of return. Prices change every week, so that is just an old tag that wasn’t changed. If they did their jobs right, they’d check every open tag to make sure the cost of the item didn’t go on sale.

    SO, chalk it up to the idiot staff of that store, not Best Buy charging more for an open item…

  38. blkhrt1 says:

    @vastrightwing: Um, it clearly states that it doesn’t cover abuse. It covers accidents and malfunctions. So you fail.

  39. blkhrt1 says:

    @GitEmSteveDave: They only charge a restocking fee on laptops and cameras and projectors…the things they really lose money on just to sell it to get it out the door.

  40. Jesse in Japan says:

    That TV was bought and returned by none other than Elvis Presley.

  41. jtheletter says:

    The best part of this is that if the TV was returned then they most likely charged that person a 15% restocking fee (because we all know that restocking an item is not a fixed cost but rather scales linearly with price [/sarcasm]). So that’s about $97 + $30 extra in Best Buy’s pocket for this open box item.

  42. hals000 says:

    I am sorry but the original complaintant is out of line on this one. First off, open items are marked down between 10 and 15 percent at first unless there are missing items in which case the markdown will be much greater. And second off, they are often sold with little to no margin. In this case it would have been stupid to reprice the open box tvs to even lower than they have already been marked down. Say this tv is regularly priced at 700 dollars, its on sale for 650 dollars, wow great deal you get to get it for 50 dollars off. If the item weren’t on sale you would be able to score an extra 20 off for no reason except someone returned it…I am sorry this does make sense.

  43. PandaBunny says:

    The reason why it is $30 more is because the item was priced before it went on sale. Above $649 it says “As Advertised” which means it is on sale for the week. The next week the price probably went up by $70-100 in which case the Open Item sticker would have been a great discount. The reason why the employees probably didn’t want to give a greater discount is that most items are below or at cost when they are on sale.

  44. rasbach says:

    Seriously, we’re talking about Best Buy management here. I remember when I complained to a manager that my car install was taking 6 hours longer than it should, and the manager actually threatened to never let me shop there again. Oh NO,please don’t make my shop at better stores for my electronic gear!

    Anyone can be a manager at Best Buy, all you need is to work there for longer than a year.

    Best Buy Sucks big time!

  45. chattwriter says:

    Look at the tag on top of the TV. See how it says “AS ADVERTISED” above the $649.99 price? Obviously this is a sale price, and obviously the open box tag was written before the TV went on sale. Either way, it’s true (I can’t claim to understand it either). It is a policy to not mark down open box product when the current new in box price is lower. I imagine it’s because it’s a business. Businesses succeed by making profit. When this TV is sold for $649.99, the store loses money rather than gaining it. So, in case an associate forgets to change the open box tag back when Sunday rolls around – or is just too busy to since weekends are quite busy in retail – the open box price is not changed. Why would you want to get a TV open box anyway? Just get it new in box if you find the price to be so good!