Best Buy Charges Wrong Price, Lies When Confronted

Chris writes: “I had been last minute Christmas shopping on Saturday morning with my younger brother and sister and we happened upon Best Buy where we were looking for a digital picture frame for my Dad as a Christmas present. We got to the section near the digital cameras and noticed a decent deal. “7” Digital Picture Frame Touch” 79.99 was the label. A whole slew of product (NuTouch 7″ Touch button Frames) were neatly stocked on the shelf. Note: STOCKED not STACKED. I quickly picked one up and proceeded to the register. At the register- the product rung up for the incorrect price (179.99)- here in CT, when that happens, so long as the item is labeled as such in the store (mistake or not) the retailer is legally supposed to give you the product for free (if food items) or at the marked price if it is any other type of consumer product…”

I quickly informed the cashier of the price mishap and he said, “No this is the right price” (how would he know what the RIGHT price is?). I asked him to have it checked. He quickly walked away from his post to find someone to go check on it. At that moment I had my brother go over and snap a quick picture of the items stocked on the shelf with the incorrect tag. The cashier came back within about 2 minutes and said we would have to wait. I was ok with this. About 5 minutes later, a “Computer Specialist,” as his nametag read, came over and asked if I needed some help. I explained the situation and he invited me to come over and check out the products on the shelf and re-verify the price. All of the digital picture frames had been restacked and reorganized with new tags on the shelves and whatnot (Mind you this was about 10 minutes overall). Since all I had was a picture (blurry at best from the iPhone) I couldn’t really do much- he either invited me to take a 30$ discount off of the 179.99 price or to please vacate the store. I was infuriated.

I will not be shopping at Best Buy ever again.

– Chris

This happened once to me too when I was a teenager. I was buying kitty litter at Shop Rite and I noticed it rang up the wrong price. I told customer service and they sent someone to go check it out and he came back and said, “oh, nope, you’re mistaken, the register was correct. So then I went back and grabbed the sticker off the shelf and came back and showed it to them and they had no choice but to give me the litter for free. It looks like retailers have become more sophisticated since then and have resorted to elaborate Potemkin shelf displays in order to dupe their customers.

In his original email, Chris asked for some Best Buy executive email addresses so he could send his complaint off to a senior somebody. We told him that the email address format for Best Buy is and that he should combine that with a list of top company executives and go to town. CC the Connecticut Department of Weights and Measures as well.

Here is the full-size version of the picture:digitalphotframe.jpg


Edit Your Comment

  1. B says:

    Seems like a lot of trouble just to overcharge him. I think he caught them in the middle of a price change, and got screwed over by the poor timing. Also, hold the iPhone with two hands when taking a picture, please.

  2. jacknval says:

    Guess I won’t be buying an iPhone for the camera feature!

  3. vliam says:

    Ugh. Motion sickness.


  4. girly says:

    I don’t get why you’d have to stay at the checkout counter. Should have shown the guy to it yourself. Although who would have expected them to go and change everything around

  5. unholycinna says:

    Target tried to screw me over the price of some pants (only about $5) so I went back to the area where I got the pants. I then proceeded to take the sign down with the lower price and got my money off. If there is a physical sign, in a dispute, take sign back to the register with you.

  6. jimv2000 says:

    I think a $100 is an awfully large amount just for a “price change”. More likely they ran over and put the right sticker on. Why else have the customer wait for 7 minutes for a price check?

  7. UpsetPanda says:

    I think he would’ve had a lot more luck if the photo had been clearer. Taking a quick photo doesn’t mean take it while you’re running away. It does look like Best Buy was in the middle of changing its price, or baiting people to buy something. If it was $85 instead of $80, I think most people would be ok with it and pay the extra few dollars. But from $80 to $180 is ridiculous.

  8. rewinditback says:

    why does that price look hand written.

  9. CumaeanSibyl says:

    Did you make sure the UPCs matched?

  10. pylon83 says:

    Probably not. The guy likely saw it, knew it was probably wrong, and thought he’d take advantage of it. I doubt he did anything to make sure the price on the shelf matched up to item above it.

  11. MightyPen says:

    I would like to know if the sku on the box matched the sku on the 79.99 label. Unfortunately the pic is terrible and doesn’t do anything to prove or disprove the op.

    This appears to be another “gotcha” posting about box store mislabeling and a consumer expecting a tremendous discount.

    Or it could be a more nefarious, switch the labels around and demand the lower price scam, but I’ll give the benefit of the doubt to the poster and say that its just labeling incompetence (not a shock, I don’t trust any labels I read at best buy or other similar stores)

    1. If labeled, make sure the skus are matched, a lot of stuff gets shuffled around this time of year, both by workers (many of whom are merely seasonal know nothings) and even consumers

    2. Price tags at bestbuy probably have the date its good for, so make sure it still applies.

    3. if price seems off, say by the 100$ it is in this post, have a guy in blue ring it up. Much better than finding out after standing in line that there is a labeling problem.

  12. infinitemojo says:

    Hmmm….photoshopped? I mean, could you possibly post a more questionable photo for an incident such as this?

    However, this does sound like best buy to do something like this. Of course, if you are reading this, you already know.

  13. girly says:

    180 does sound too high for a 7″ frame–was it wi-fi or something?

  14. @infinitemojo: I use to work in a BBY as a third party vendor… Their store is so incredibly mislabeled. I would believe any store like this.

  15. AlteredBeast (blaming the OP one article at a time.) says:

    I think I see Bigfoot on the top right!

  16. MercuryPDX says:

    @rewinditback: Because the photo was taken mid-seizure?

    @girly: Touch screen, but no Wi-Fi.

  17. AlisonAshleigh says:

    Is anyone else REALLY irritated by all the nasty/snippy/rude comments on here lately, not only of the blame the victim variety but to other commenters, and about the subject matter? Seriously, I think maybe we could all be a little nicer, and this site would be a lot more enjoyable.

  18. MercuryPDX says:

    @AlisonAshleigh: the only kind I don’t like are “Slow news day Consumerist?”.

    As if this is the only site on the internet for anything.

    I like a little snarky/funny, but nothing that’s downright rude.

  19. RandomHookup says:

    I’ve done more than my fair share of the ‘shelf price waltz’ in the grocery store to show the staff the wrong price — after another employee came back to say ‘no’. I’m just disappointed they changed the “if we screw up the price, it’s free” policy. No more free snack food with week old shelf tags.

  20. girly says:

    @mercurypdx: ah, well 80 bucks does seem too low for that?

  21. MercuryPDX says:

    @girly: I think THIS is the one that you’re looking for. When I buy a fool-proof frame for my dad, it will be this one.

  22. rf1892 says:

    I’m not sure about the laws in Connecticut, but here in Georgia the sku on the tag and the sku on the product have to match. As mightypen wrote above there are customers out there who will place a more expensive product in the spot of a cheaper product and demand the lower price. There are also customers who pick up an item and then place it back on the shelf in the wrong spot. The only protection the store has is to have the skus match. On the other hand, I too have ran into mislabeled items in pretty much every retailer I’ve ever visited. It just a fact of life, it happens.

  23. AlisonAshleigh says:

    @mercurypdx: When people are like “THIS DOESN’T BELONG ON A CONSUMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMERSIT WEBSITE” I want to throttle them a little.

  24. ivealwaysgotmail10 says:

    Its obvious that they re shuffled the stock when you pointed it out to them, that picture is good enough, you can read the price tag. I would write to best buy corporate, go to and write a nice public letter to them.

    Wow, thats just slimy…. What a scam, not like i was surprised to see best buys name associated with this story.

  25. dreamcatcher2 says:

    @AlisonAshleigh: When people are like “This doesn’t belong in a discussion thread!!!” I want to throttle them a little. ;-) jk, I do know what you mean. But it’s a hard thing to stop – I find myself getting snarkier as time goes on…

  26. firerocket says:

    it looks to me like the tag says westinghouse on it, which is what the pink one on the left is( i bought one of those for my mother in law for xmas and it was 79.99

  27. JollyJumjuck says:

    @Mercurypdx: That’s a nice picture frame you’ve linked to, but I hope it’s equipped for security against unauthorized picture dumps. Otherwise someone could maliciously drop some objectionable pictures onto a victim’s picture frame.

  28. Anonymous says:

    Thing is, they had others sitting in a basket behind the register, obvious that others had seen the mislabeled price and tried to purchase it as well. It’s just downright wrong to call me a liar to my face and ask me to leave the store due to their mislabeling practices.

    Where the sku should have been read something to the tune of “7INTOUCH” not a model # or anything to identify the tag to a particular item. Convenient.

  29. rmontcal says:

    @AlteredBeast: haha!

    @pylon83: When I worked in a grocery store, this was very common. People would grab an item, assume that the first price tag that entered their field of vision matched the product they wanted to buy, and then complain about how cans of tuna weren’t individually stamped with prices anymore, like in the olden days when their product rang up at a different price.

  30. gorckat says:

    Somebody with better GIMP/Photoshop skills than I should be able to de-blur the image a little bit. I don’t know if the SKU would be legible, but the product name should be.

  31. AlisonAshleigh says:

    @dreamcatcher2: I’m a big fan of the “BE NICE” policy over at Jezebel, I must say!

  32. machete_bear says:

    I got a $200 external hard drive from Staples for $80 because of a tag mix up. Needless to say, the careless stock boy who verified the price for me in the aisle must have received a severe tongue lashing as the manager was obliged to give me the tag price. Score one for the consumer!

  33. smoothtom says:

    Kohl’s has twice charged me more than the price listed on the shelf for items. Both times, the clerk just shrugged when I told her what the shelf tag said and changed the price manually–no questions. I was surprised, but given that most Kohl’s I’ve been to look like giant rummage sales, maybe the clerks are used to that sort of thing.

  34. Ryan Duff says:

    According to the picture, it looks like a Digital Spectrum 7″ Elite Frame priced at $179.99 on Best Buy’s website. It could have been on sale for $79.99 as a Christmas special, but Best Buy’s ads run Sunday to Saturday. I’m suspecting it was on sale, the new prices were already in the computer and because of that, threw up the new tag to make a quick $100 on the item.

    I honestly wouldn’t be surprised with Best Buy the way they’ve acted recently and with CompUSA’s crumble that they’ve notified cashiers how to proceed when price changes go into affect and how to reset the display before the customer sees.

    Anybody have a Best Buy ad laying around for the week of December 16th-22nd? I’m really curious to see if this frame is in there. In that case, Best Buy would really be screwed.

    Also, the customer should have tried to grab an ad for that week on his way out of the store just in case it was in there.

  35. KogeLiz says:

    i enjoy reading the Consumerist because of the blunt honesty.

  36. unclescrooge says:

    well best buy had done that to me before and luckily, i had the presence of mind to secure a legible photo with my cellphone of the mismarked tag that showed the UPC. with that’re outta luck.

    in an unrelated note…i’m miffed that a best buy salesperson talked my wife out of letting buy the dslr camera that i have been wanting for over a year. he told her that we could go home and come back tomorrow (Sunday) and the same financing and pricing would be in effect. I asked him, “are you sure? tomorrow’s sunday.”

    he said yes it wouldn’t be a problem…sure enough…on sunday the 18 month financing option was gone and i’m back to not being able to afford my camera.

    thanks a lot jerk.

  37. KogeLiz says:

    I ALWAYS check the label/sku with the product above it.
    So many stores have customers and employees putting things anywhere.

  38. snoop-blog says:

    @AlisonAshleigh: i don’t like the blame the victim people, but i have read some articles on here and been thinking? this is news?! perfect example: “judge judy not a real judge”…….uh hello? did i miss something here?

    but i have noticed an extremely large volume of haters (victim blamers) and a lot of people on here seem to be big on defending large corporations.

  39. Infoclast says:

    Great, more people complaining about getting called out when trying to scam a store.

  40. ncboxer says:

    @Infoclast: And you know they are scamming because why? Sure I have questions about stories where I only hear one side of the story, but I don’t automatically jump to the conclusion that because the story is not air tight the person must be a scammer. In this case the price tag clearly shows $79, it looks like from the blurry picture that the product is neatly behind the price tag (if the product where all of the place, that would clue you in that you needed to find what product went to what tag). And he if was was just scamming and got caught, why would he put himself out there in this story? I would think most scammers would not complain to the Consumerist.

  41. chili_dog says:

    @Ben:“It looks like retailers …have resorted to elaborate Potemkin shelf displays in order to dupe their customers.”

    Way to HighBrow this place up.

  42. ianmac47 says:

    If its a state law, then you should file a police report. Presumably the state can levy fines against a retailer, and their only defense includes forcing minimum wage employees to commit acts of perjury.

  43. snoop-blog says:

    slow COMMENTS day??<–
    @AlisonAshleigh: how’s that. that ought to balance things out.

  44. dcartist says:

    I side with the consumer in this case. The part that tips me over is the deliberate deception on the part of the manager to change the prices after the fact.

    I’d be more inclined to give the corporation some leeway on screwing up the prices, if they hadn’t tried to LIE and change the pricing after the fact.

    He changed it because he knew he’d get dinged for the mistake.

    I’d bring as many small item merchandise up front from the computer sectino of the store in a shopping cart (just toss it in by the fistful… then at the counter, I’d tell them I changed my mind and decided not to buy it. Abandon the cart and go. Bastards.

    I’d definitely raise a stink to corporate about it.

  45. Observer2121 says:

    So because you couldn’t get the price that some store clerk getting paid $6.50/Hr places on the picture frame you will no longer shop at Best Buy? I could understand if Best Buy, overcharged you on the correct price and then refused to give you back the difference, but in this case you are mad because some 18 year old messed up on the sign and to avoid getting into trouble switched the sign to the correct one. Plus with the heavy use of photoshop I find it impossible to trust your blurry photo.

    I guess you can always shop at circuit city and CompUSA while they are still in business.

  46. spinachdip says:

    @snoop-blog: It kinda bugs me when people don’t get obvious sarcasm. Like the “Judge Judy is not a real judge” post.

  47. Gopher bond says:

    @unclescrooge: “on sunday the 18 month financing option was gone and i’m back to not being able to afford my camera. thanks a lot jerk.”

    If you couldn’t afford it on Sunday, you couldn’t afford it Saturday.

  48. tasselhoff76 says:

    Why is there all this open hostility against the consumer on this site?

    The law is that you pay what an item is marked. If this item was marked for $79 and it rang up at $179, the marked price should control. I do not care what the clerk makes or who gets into trouble. The law is the law. The company faces the possibility of a class action lawsuit, which will cost them far more than $100 if they were to continue such “mistakes”.

    I am not saying the story is true, but the picture looks clear enough to me to see that it is a $79 picture frame.

  49. BigBoat says:

    When taking a photograph during an earthquake, try to move your hands with the same motion to reduce what some call a “blur” effect.

  50. forgottenpassword says:

    WTF is with all the SKU questions? If the name of the product is on the shelf-sticker tag along with the price, then why should the sku matter?

    Looks to me the customer got hosed by incompetant/prickish employees…. which for best buy… its no suprise.

    I am with the customer on this one. If a store mis-prices an item, or has a sale & doesnt register the sale price in computer & then charges me the full price(happened to me MANY times)…. then the customer needs to be comphensated for the false advertising….. intentional or not! I dont care if its a $500 fridge advertised/labeled for $50.

  51. Benny Gesserit says:

    @Observer2121: Circuit Shitty (or their Canadian arm … er… claw “The Scourge”)?

    I had a variant of the same thing there not long ago. I was shopping for a mouse for my brand new Asus EEE PC. The Scourge had several kinds on “locked” pegs – so you can’t see the back of the package. Among them I found one for CAN$19.99 and asked the clerk to free one for me. He fetched the key, did his thing and waited while I decided to go with it.

    At the cash, he said the total was $44.85. I said “Did you scan it twice or something?” He said, no the mouse’s price is $39. When I pointed out the thing was locked on a peg with a tag that reads $19.99 he shrugged and said “The SKU’s wrong on that peg. It’s $39.” (No, he didn’t go and look before saying this.)

    I left without the mouse as $25 was my price-point and we don’t have any price-match/free policy here.

    Out of morbid curiosity I went back to the store the following weekend and the same mice were on the same peg with the same incorrect price tag.

    How many people breeze through there, grab one of these with a few other things and don’t clue into their purchase total being about $20 more than expected?

  52. tikitorch says:

    by your logic, a blurry picture of big foot confirms his exisitence…

    even if it was a misplaced sign you think a store should give up 100 dollars just to please you. I would have taken the 30 and been happy.

    this isn’t a case bait and switch most people have a misconception that a sign up for a product meens they have to honor it. The thing is all best buy signs are dated, and synced with the register, more then likely even if your sign was legit, it was expired, and therefore best buy had no legal obligation to honor it. The 30 bucks was actually great customer service when in reality they owed you nothing

    I don’t understand this sites personal vendetta with best buy…ive had nothing but good experiences there.

  53. PatrickIs2Smart says:

    @jacknval: My iPhone takes wayyy better pictures than that… He must have Parkinson’s.

  54. Jay Levitt says:

    According to JPEGSnoop, the “full resolution” version was, in fact, saved in PhotoShop – specifically, using the “Save For Web” menu item, with a “quality” setting of 77. (PhotoShop saves that value in a custom JPEG marker.)

    Much as I hate Best Buy, and want to believe this happened so I can hate them further, this photo comes from PhotoShop.

    Chris, if you’re out there, how about the original iPhone photo?

  55. MercuryPDX says:

    @JollyJumJuck: The messaging on the site (“and allowed email accounts and cell phones”) seems to infer that.

  56. pylon83 says:

    What “law” are you referring to?

  57. Bizzarodave says:


    The SKU on the price tag has to match the SKU of the product in order for the price to be valid. It’s not uncommon for products to get pushed further down a shelf than they were when the shelves were tagged with price stickers, in which case we’re talking about an unfortunate misunderstanding and not deliberate malice. That price might have well been advertised for a basic 7″ photo frame, but its unlikely something that retails for $180 would go on sale by more than 50%.

  58. cosby says:

    What gets me is they would change the tags and lie like that. If the tag was correct(ie same upc or sku number) then the price should have been given to the customer and you leave it at that. If it was the wrong tag for the product you bring the tag with you back to the register and show the customer why it isn’t the right tag. Either way you fix the self.

  59. faust1200 says:

    @AlisonAshleigh: At least at Consumerist you know where you stand. You may think they are being nice at Jezebel but if you listen carefully you can them whisper “slut” as soon as you are out of earshot.

  60. Anonymous says:

    @Jay Levitt: I am Chris.

    I’d be happy to send you a copy of the original picture. I did not ever open nor save it in PS- must’ve been Consumerist staff. I just took the photo- downloaded it to iTunes, emailed it to my email (from my brothers mac) and then forwarded it to the editors here at Consumerist. No funny business here. Still blurry on my end- they didnt modify the image.

  61. Jay Levitt says:

    Chris, that would be awesome – and you’re probably right; they were, I’m sure, trying to find a balance between “show people the details” and “oh my God what happened to the servers?”.

    I just downloaded a bunch of sharpening tools that may help remove the blur. If you could e-mail the photo to me, I’m at: jay you-know-the-missing-symbol jay dot fm (Yes, that’s .fm, like FM radio). If that’s confusing, just Google me :)

  62. Jay Levitt says:

    @Specialized: Cool. I’m sure you’re right; they were probably trying to strike a balance between “show everyone the detail” and “oh my God, the servers, they’re crying”. It’s a consumer site, not a forensic photography site.

    If you could e-mail me the photo, my e-mail address is, where Z is the at sign. (Yes, really .fm, not

  63. Imaginary_Friend says:

    1. Please don’t shop at BestBuy and then complain about getting screwed. That’s like having sex with a meth-addicted hooker and then acting surprised when you end up with a disease.

    2. I totally believe the O.P. Digital Spectrum is an off brand photo frame that routinely sells for less than $90.00. Ex. at Costco here:


    3. Most digital photo frames, especially the off-brand ones, are useless pieces of junk. They either have dead pixels, crappy, low res screens, die within a few weeks of use, or other issues. Do some research before buying one, or better yet, wait another 6 months to a year when they’ve ironed the bugs out and prices will be cheaper.

    4. I bought this same photo frame at Safeway for $25.00 on clearance a few days ago and immediately returned it. It was a P.O.S, so you actually saved yourself $80.00 (or 180.00) and the hassle of trying to beg BestBuy to refund your money. Consider yourself lucky.

  64. topgun says:

    2007 word of the year was: “subprime”
    My vote for 2008 is “snarky”

  65. marsneedsrabbits says:

    If the potential price difference is worth mentioning, it’s worth following the clerk back into the store to sort it out.
    Of course, it is also worth mentioning that Best Buy will screw you whenever they possibly can, they have no corporate ethics, and don’t care even a tiny little but about being honest. This is pretty widely known. They will not (as a matter of course) do the right thing.
    So why do people shop there? The “good deals” you may (or may not) get at Best Buy are offset by how quickly they will stick it to you when they can.

  66. girly says:

    Maybe it just appeared that they shuffled stuff around?
    Because if you look at the BB website, there are two 7″ frames that are available in stores, the 180 one and one that’s 100, and the one that’s 100 is listed as being a widescreen one…seems more likely that the one the OP eyed was mis-shelved.

    If they shuffled stuff around after the fact that is weird and shady, but it seems like the frame in question was never discounted (but that’s just my guess).

    Seems more likely that the 100 buck one would be reduced to 80

  67. eelmonger says:

    @girly: One of the only legible things in the picture is the word “widescreen.” Yet the picture on the box looks a lot closer to 4:3 to me. The tag itself also looks dog-eared and is hanging over the top of the tag space. Of course I’m basing this all on the blurriest non-bigfoot photo I’ve ever seen, so take it as you will.

  68. endless says:

    sku’s wont match.

    79.99 = westinghouse 7″ on sale which is normally 99$

    179.99 frame = nu touch which is the normal price.

    suck it up cry baby. you didnt get to scam best buy. oh boo hoo.

  69. endless says:

    looking closer, you can actually almost see it saying westing house on the left side of the tag.

  70. scoosdad says:

    @Jay Levitt: What’s the point? If Chris took the photo you sharpened or cleaned up back to BestBuy, they’d just accuse him of Photoshopping it anyway to show the lower price. Works both ways.

  71. girly says:

    @endless: I think my eyes are pretty sharp, and I do not see any indication of it saying “westinghouse” on the left side of the tag.

    Still, I think it is pretty reasonable to think the tag was for the westinghouse frame based on frame size and price (unless that other frame is widescreen as well).

    Doesn’t change that if they tried some kind of shell game BB is being shady, even if the OP was trying to take advantage (knowingly or not) of a shelving mistake.

    The only thing I take from this is wanting to know if BB actually did something like switching up the display while the customer was waiting. I still think that the price were really as BB said SKU-matching-wise (since it makes the most sense), so it seems dumb that they would switch things around.

    The photo is pretty worthless for helping the OP’s side, but I still believe it is possible BB did what he thinks they did.

  72. Eilonwynn says:

    some days, I loves me some Canada – []

  73. Edjamacator says:

    Whether this is true or not, why do people even still shop at Best Buy?? I wouldn’t put it past them to do what it is claimed even if they were entirely in the wrong. I don’t even consider Best Buy when I shop around and haven’t for a couple years now. Aren’t people tired of getting screwed?

    Oh what am I saying? Of course not…they might save a buck if they take it up the arse a couple more times.

  74. chocxtc says:

    I have posted in other best buys threads and this still does not seem to amaze me about them. Best Buy is horrible and why anybody would want to spend money there is beyond me. You can go in, price compare, play with their stuff, change the channels on the TVs, just don’t try to walk out with any merchandise in hand. I would NEVER shop there again.

  75. Thaad says:

    This happens all the time at the Best Buy I work at. I always give the incorrect price then change the tag, though I am sure managers with their bonuses hanging in the balance are willing to resort to anything to protect their margin.

  76. Thaad says:

    I see this happen all the time at the store I work at. If it happens, I just give them the incorrect price and change the tag so it doesn’t happen again. Some managers though (not that I have seen in my store) I could see denying the price to protect their margin and hence, their bonus.

  77. stevekw says:

    You guys forget the Best Buy rule….Never ever never ever ever give them a single dollar of your money. Problem solved.

  78. Joedel263 says:

    I work in retail, I am not defending Best Buy. but what bothers me about ALL of these complaints is that ABSOLUTELY NO ONE understands the law in regards to mispriced items..

    in the state of Connecticut, as this is where it happened..
    Universal product coding, electronic shelf labeling, and electronic
    > pricing are all regulated by the Food & Standards Division of the
    > Department of Consumer Protection.
    > If a commodity is offered for sale at the reduced price, but its
    > electronic price is higher than the reduced price on the sign which is
    > adjacent to the consumer commodity, then one item of such commodity shall
    > be given to the consumer upon demand at no cost. A conspicuous sign shall
    > adequately disclose to the consumer that in the event the electronic price
    > is higher than the reduced retail price; one item of such consumer
    > commodity shall be given to the customer upon demand at no cost.

    > Retailers often use electronic devices at their checkout counters to
    > “scan” the UPC bar codes on each item. This enables the cashier to total
    > your purchase faster, and helps the store keep track of the items and
    > quantities being sold. Consumers sometimes question whether the scanned
    > prices charged are accurate, compared to the actual (or sale) price of the
    > item. Consumers have certain legal rights in the event of inaccurate
    > scanning. There are three conditions when a retailer must provide an item
    > free of charge when it has scanned at a price higher than the posted
    > price.
    > * The item must be a “consumer commodity.” This means a food, drug,
    > device, cosmetic or other item produced for sale to retail stores, that
    > gets “used up” or depleted, and is meant to be eventually replaced, such
    > as: toothpaste, a loaf of bread, plastic wrap, or shampoo. A broom, for
    > example, is not a consumer commodity.
    > * The item must be on sale for a period of at least seven days, and
    > offered in a publicly circulated advertisement, such as a newspaper
    > circular.
    > * The consumer must ask that the inaccurately scanned item be provided
    > to him or her free of charge.

    In english, if there is a SALE sign in front of a CONSUMER COMMODITY and it does not ring up on SALE.

    technically, Best Buy didn’t need to do a thing for this person, of course it’s terrible customer service, but legally, they have done nothing wrong..

  79. MightyPen says:

    Hmm, I would rather give best buy that single dollar than spend more at its competitor or wait a week from Amazon. But then again, I think smart consumers aren’t duped by “free” magazine subscriptions or lazy price tag switchers.

  80. ninjatales says:

    Judge Judy will not accept crappy pictures as evidence. This has happened to me many times in the past with many big retailers but if you have a camera, please get a better picture. Would probably see a 99% sympathy vote.

    That $100 mark-up if true is terrible.

  81. Jesse in Japan says:

    Instead of telling your brother to go snap a crappy iPhone picture, why didn’t you tell your brother to just stand next to the digital photo frames to make sure they didn’t mess with the price tags?

  82. vastrightwing says:

    Best Buy lies about prices, warranties, sales, websites… basically they lie about everything. Isn’t Best Buy the store that yells “I have the last Wii in stock” every 45 minutes?

  83. tasselhoff76 says:

    @pylon83: Most states have either statutes or case law regarding a mis-marked or mis-advertised product. As far as I know, most states come down on the side of the consumer. There is sometimes question of whether some of the items in an ad are merely “puffery” or an attempt to bolster the image of the product. But otherwise, the store is liable for a mis-marked product.

  84. flapjackboy says:

    @firerocket: I think you’ll find that says ‘Widescreen’, not Westinghouse.

  85. HOP says:

    best buy sucketh

  86. Anonymous says:

    My intent of this article was not to scam Best Buy nor to gain pity for myself. I was simply trying to show the slime that is Best Buy and why (even in a pinch) I will never shop there again.

    I attempted to paint a picture where I was not an ideal son (shopping the day before) and tried to get a gift last minute. I didn’t anticipate any retailer ever going this low to negate a price differential. How was I to know the employees were going to restock the entire display?

  87. girly says:

    @Specialized: Yup, I get that you wouldn’t have expected it. It is really weird that they would do that!

    Especially considering it appears that the SKU’s would not have matched and they really were right about the price (although not the location of the product).

    I do think that it is likely they switched things up, but even you weren’t around to see exactly what happened.

    I haven’t shopped at BB since I bought a computer there, and they were so goofy then I haven’t bought anything since.

  88. banmojo says:

    bottom line is, they are under no legal obligation to sell anything to you, at any price. (as far as I’m aware – please correct me if this is wrong). So, if BB is going to practice these nefarious deeds (folks, this is not NEW news, right?) just do your duty as a capitalist consumer and STOP GOING TO F$#@ING BB, ALL RIGHT?? Sheesh. They’ll go bankrupt soon enough. Then you can feel righteously indignant and somewhat justified, until your next flight on any of the airlines of today.

  89. Jay Levitt says:

    @Scoosdad: Admittedly, no real point – it’s just sparked an interest. (I know nothing about forensic photography, but a lot about forensic audio and data, and there are some fun similarities.) Just like there’s no real point in either of us spending time commenting on stories like this. We’re interested, so we do.

    Clearly, no matter what, BB isn’t going to say “Oh, you’re right, that photo shows we committed a crime. Oops!”

    On the other hand, should this story grow from gossip blogs like this to actual tech news sites, it’d be nice to have stronger evidence. If I, a rank amateur, can clear up the photo a little, I bet Wired or Salon or whoever could get a forensic guy to do a better, more-authenticated job for an investigative piece.

    Chris, I haven’t seen any e-mail yet; dunno if you had a chance to try sending. If you’re having trouble sending the attachment due to its size, try a site like []

  90. vdragonmpc says:

    Ahhh the sleaze that is Best Buy…
    I have seen ‘free installs’ that cost over a hundred dollars… Computer Services by wankers that couldnt tell the difference between XP pro and XP home much less know that SATA is faster than IDE…
    I have had a tool in the computer department quote me specs on a videa card that didnt exist and then tell me (a MS partner) that his lame-O department manager gets the newest best cool stuff because he works at the best buy computer department… I wonder why we dont get that stuff in the DEV market?
    I am not their best customer as I watch for media sales like DVD-rs and movies that are on sale… I also watch fo games on sale…
    I would never buy a TV, Computer, Stereo or any other high dollar item from them.
    After getting scammed on an Xbox elite during the ‘sales tax holiday’ I am not interested in dealing with them. They negated their own coupon and hid the newer units that included games. Mine was just the console. Not to mention what is up with the DVD movie filing system there? You cant find anything in the store half the time.


  91. DanGross says:

    Come on, we all know at Best Buy the only “true” price for a product is the one on the “store-only access” Best Buy web site. Any consumer that doesn’t check that price is just asking for trouble, and deserves none of Consumerist’s sympathy!

    Seriously, that they actually bothered to change the price tag implies an incorrectly tagged item to me. If it was the wrong SKU, they would have brought the tag up front (or the consumer to the shelf) and point out the SKU was different.

  92. girly says:

    @DanGross: That is what would make sense, that they didn’t do that underlines how ridiculous they’ve become

    there must be something in the way they either ‘punish’ price matches or the way they tolerate weird employee behavior that allows this to happen

  93. Anonymous says:

    @Jay Levitt:

    Not avoiding anyone, I mentor a high school robotics team after work and didn’t get a chance to get on my machine at all last night. I am currently @ work and my laptop is in the car- Ill work on the email shot to you tonight. Look for it around 7:30pm(EST) I would hope.

  94. erratapage says:

    @tikitorch: It only takes one bad experience to make someone a former customer. I haven’t had any overtly horrible experiences with Best Buy (although I don’t particularly enjoy shopping there). However, I have friends and family who have had bad experiences. I choose not to shop at a store I don’t trust.

    A few years ago, I was jonesing pretty bad for some diet coke. I went into a Super America (local convenience) store to purchase a 12 pack. I counted four or five signs around the store advertising that the diet coke was $2.50. When I took it up to the register, the clerk said the 12 pack would be $4.77. I pointed to all the signs and said, “What’s the deal?” The clerk put her hand up and said (I kid you not), “Talk to the hand…” The manager was standing maybe six feet away and heard the entire exchange. I walked out of the store, saw a new banner on the outside of their building and went back inside to point it out to the clerk. She picked up the phone and threatened to call 911. I saw my future flash before my eyes and left before I became a statistic.

    I was so angry I wrote to Super America. They sent me a coupon for a free 12 pack and an apology. I also got a telephone call asking for more particulars about the situation, because they had been considering some management changes at the store.

    I was pleased by their response. That is why I am not a former Super America customer. They didn’t do everything right, but they fixed it.

    I don’t think that I’m a demanding consumer. I don’t hate Best Buy or Comcast or any other company. I want them to be better than they are. That’s all.

  95. mattindustries says:

    I had a decent experience with a best buy. I saw a 30 pack of cd-r’s a while back on sale for about 1/3rd of the regular price and picked them up. The sale was supposed to only be for the grand opening which I missed, but told them they had it advertised so I deserved that price. The manager got pretty upset, but I got the discount. I definitely was not treated with a smile though.

  96. Jay Levitt says:

    @C@Specialized: No worries, I am told there’s a real world outside of consumerist. I’ve read a lot about it and hope to learn more. E-mail me when you can!

  97. reasonsnotrules says:

    I skipped most of the comments so if this was already stated, I’m sorry. The blurry picture clearly says Westinghouse and not Digital Spectrum. Stop trying to beat the system by playing dumb. The blurry picture isn’t helping your case. If the tag was for the right product then complain. But the tag clearly says WESTINGHOUSE on it.

  98. girly says:

    @reasonsnotrules: where does it say that clearly?


  99. shadow735 says:

    If it wasnt 35mm film irst get a better photographer, if it was digital he should have kept taking photos till a clear one came up.
    But in the end at least the item was in stock.

  100. wellfleet says:

    I’m gonna ask the editors to have a Best Buy section edited by moi, to address all of y’alls complaints. I can escalate them all and I bet I get get 80% solved within a week. Imagine the image makeover!
    Gee, you mean there was a mistake made stocking product above the wrong price tag two days before Christmas? Really? On an end-cap base stack? Really? I work in a 45,000 sq. foot store and our last few trucks before Christmas were over 10,000 pieces which we all have to shelve ourselves. It’s awesome, being at work until 2 in the morning.
    They made a mistake, absolutely. But you were not lured to the store under the guise of a cheap frame. You saw it and picked it up.
    I hope some day, when you make a mistake in your professional life, it gets plastered online for all to hold you to a standard they wouldn’t hold themselves to.

  101. Anonymous says:


    I take personal offense to that statement. My point was not to publish a mistake on behalf of a store for stocking its shelves. It is not quite that simple. If you read the entire letter, you would see that the “management” staff at BB called me a blatant liar to my face and asked me to leave the store upon confronting them with proof of a simple mistake.

    I would not be so upset at the fact that something was mislabeled or incorrectly stocked. The fact that they tried to cover up the mistake between the time I left the shelf with the product and returned with the “manager” to investigate the mistake was what completely disgusted me and the point at which I became a “previous” customer.

  102. girly says:

    @wellfleet: Now here’s the weird part, if it was just a mis-shelf (as I suspect), and would have been easy to resolve, why shuffle stuff around and pretend it never happened?

  103. commorancy says:

    That pricing may have been one of the 2 day holiday sales and was left mis-marked on the shelf. Granted, if it was marked at that price, they should have given it to this person for that price. But, I guess that just goes to show exactly how reputable this company is (changing prices while you wait).

  104. wellfleet says:

    @girly: No doubt this management team was lame. I see many BB issues that involve poor managerial decisions rather than poor policy or a bad company….