Best Buy Still Embracing Deceptive In-Store Kiosks

Best Buy still uses a secret internal website to deceive customers, according to the L.A. Times. The website appearing on in-store kiosks resembles Best Buy’s official site in every way, except for the prices. Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal was surprised to hear that his investigation failed to end Best Buy’s bait-and-switch, telling the L.A. Times: “We thought Best Buy had addressed this. That’s what they said to us. Apparently that’s not the case.” A tipster in Virginia also reports the continued existence of the secret website.

According to our tipster:

Not that anyone should be surprised, but Best Buy is still at it.

My wife spent several hours at home researching digital picture frames online, and Best Buy actually had the best price on one, as well as being the only way to get it in time for Christmas. Last night we went to our local Fairfax, Virginia, Best Buy. They didn’t have the frame at first, and I actually have to commend the staff, they searched for about 30 minutes because one of them thought he had seen it somewhere. They finally came up with one, the Kodak EasyShare EX1011. I took it to a different station and asked them to price check it, and it came up at $255.99, well over the $234.49 that was listed online.

We went to one of their public computer terminals and searched it and it came up at the $255.99, no surprise.

iPhone to the rescue. At first it was showing the $255 price on my iPhones browser, then I realized it was connected through WiFi, so they have it blocking the external Best Buy site and feeding the fake one. I disabled WiFi and searched again and bam, there it was, $234.99.

The electronics department said I had to go to customer service for such a thing, and they promptly took care of the price change.

Keep up the great work, Consumerist.

The L.A. Times called Best Buy’s pen of Pinocchios to provide an explanation:

[Sue Busch, a Best Buy spokeswoman] said the kiosks were never intended “for price-match purposes,” but admitted that “a small percentage of customers did not receive a price match when they should have due to errors in policy execution.”

What is a “small percentage of customers?” Maybe a Best Buy salesman in California can clarify:

“Every day we get at least one person asking why he can’t find a price he saw online,” the salesman replied.

I said I was looking for a DVD player I’d seen online that was selling for $71.99. I said it wasn’t on the kiosk site.

“Here,” the salesman said, “let me show you a secret.”

He switched to a different screen, typed in his employee I.D. number, and the real came up. “Try now,” the salesman said.

I asked why the real website wasn’t available to everyone.

He shrugged. “I wish I knew.”

Maybe that’s something California Atty. Gen. Jerry Brown should also be wondering.

Best Buy kiosks not connected to Internet [L.A. Times]
(AP Photo/Paul Sakuma)
Best Buy’s Secret “Employee Only” In-Store Website Shows Different Prices Than Public Website

Best Buy Confirms The Existence Of Its Secret Website
UPDATE: Best Buy Still Using Its Secret Website

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