How Price Guarantees, Aren't

Reader Ziemowit has a good point. Some big box stores loudly proclaim their “PRICE GUARANTEE” signs but then actually do some stuff that make them irrelevant. The guarantee is supposed to be that they will match any competitor’s price. But when you have a number of manufacturers making products with packaging and SKUs just for that one retailer, then you can’t do a price guarantee because no one else carries that specific model. If you can’t find the same product at another store, you can’t match the price. Zing!

Ziemowit writes:

Take computer memory (RAM) at Best Buy for example. Why the heck is it so expensive? Is it made of gold or performs better? No. It’s the same memory you can buy at some other stores except it’s up to three times more expansive and has a different model number and package. How do I know? I actually looked compared memory boards at Best Buy and CompUSA. The packaging and model number sticker were different but the actual product was identical. Also if you look on the internet, no other retailer will carry that exact model number.


Of course there is a simple solution. Don’t shop at big box retail stores. Pricematch the product online first, then go to the place that gives you the best deal, whether it’s an online or brick and mortar retailer.

Want more consumer news? Visit our parent organization, Consumer Reports, for the latest on scams, recalls, and other consumer issues.