Customers Report Receiving $15 Best Buy Gift Cards For $15 After Pricing Error

Image courtesy of (Ryan)

It turns out that our post yesterday about the pricing error at Best Buy wasn’t quite accurate. When the retailer’s site offered $200 gift cards for $15, lots of people hopped on this particular bandwagon and ordered them. However, a tipster reports that some cards shipped out before best Buy caught the error. Some shipped out…and they aren’t worth $200. Well played, Best Buy.

The biggest single order that we heard of trying to take advantage of this deal was a dozen cards, which would have been an impressive haul if it had worked Further reading of deal forums shows much larger orders than that.

“What is highly interesting is that these cards just arrived with packing slips that clearly indicate the $200 SKU, orders that confirm the $200 card, but the value loaded onto the card is only $15,” tipster J. tells us. We’ve read other unconfirmed reports that card balances have been changed to $0 in transit. If that’s the case, it means Best Buy figured out what was going on after the packages containing the gift cards were shipped, but before the buyers received them.

Update: We have the packing slip from a card that shipped, and it looks like the change was made before shipping: the lower value on the card is on the packing slip. However, while the card’s value is $15, the SKU (Best Buy’s number that they use to identify a product) is the one for a $200 value card.

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We’ve established in a lot of similar cases in the past that you can’t expect a company to honor a pricing mistake if they catch the error before shipping your purchase. In a statement to the media, a Best Buy representative explained that the “We regret the error and we are canceling all pending orders on the affected gift cards.” What will happen to the orders that have already shipped?

What if the product is changeable from afar and they catch the error in the interim? Best Buy’s terms and conditions for gift cards don’t address this issue. Even if that didn’t happen with any of the cards here, it could possibly happen with other items: say, a software or game activation key, or some other product that isn’t on the market yet?

In any case, we can’t repeat enough times: legitimate pricing errors are just that. People who ordered these cards hoping for $185 in free money from Best Buy were not acting in good faith, and knew that their orders would be canceled once Best Buy noticed what happened.

At what point does a gift card change hands, though? Is it like a movie or book that lives in the cloud, and you never really “own” that money?

We contacted Best Buy to find out whether they did change the card values in mid-shipment (update: or after the orders were confirmed) and will let you know what they say.

PREVIOUSLY:
Best Buy Sells $200 Gift Cards For $15, Cancels Orders
Reminder: Legitimate Pricing Errors Are Not Bait And Switch