The attorney general for the state of Connecticut has opened an investigation into sales tactics used by retailing giant Best Buy that allegedly involve bait-and-switch pricing.The Hartford Courant has reported that some customers looking to confirm special prices for notebook computers shown on Best Buy’s public Web site were told those prices were no longer available, and shown a product listing on the Web while at a Best Buy store that seemingly confirmed that statement. But the site those customers were shown in the store was actually an intranet site that didn’t always show the pricing that was available on Best Buy’s public site, the company confirmed to the Courant.
Needless to say, this burns me good. For a quick recap, what Best Buy was doing is this:
- Dutiful consumer (like me) researches prices for something online, and finds Best Buy has a good price.
- I go into the store, ask for the item and see it marked at a higher price than I saw online. I tell the salesperson (this scenario is flawed b/c it rests on actually finding a salesperson at Best Buy…) about the price I saw on the web site.
- She takes me over to the computer and agrees to look up the website, where it says that the price I saw no longer applies. What Best Buy has actually done is set up a FAKE Internet site for the employee to show me!!!
This is beyond bullshit. Companies rip us off daily through poor service, misleading ads and high retail markups, but this is criminal. Kudos to the CT Attorney General for investigating. It’s sad that that’s what it takes for corporations to act right, but hopefully they will eventually learn their lesson.