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macro
03-02-2007, 10:53 PM
I have had mostly good experiences with Best Buy, but have had issues with Circuit City not wanting to honor prices posted on their Web site, saying that "the system" had a different price listed. Despite my preference for Best Buy, I did find this story to be interesting. Notice the mention of the Ohio connections at the end of the article.


(http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-watchdog0302,0,5198012.column?coll=hc-utility-local)http://www.courant.com/news/local/hc-watchdog0302,0,5198012.column?coll=hc-utility-local

Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Website

March 2, 2007

Under pressure from state investigators, Best Buy is now confirming my reporting that its stores have a secret intranet site that has been used to block some consumers from getting cheaper prices advertised on BestBuy.com.

Company spokesman Justin Barber, who in early February denied the existence of the internal website that could be accessed only by employees, says his company is "cooperating fully" with the state attorney general's investigation.

Barber insists that the company never intended to mislead customers.

State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ordered the investigation into Best Buy's practices on Feb. 9 after my column disclosed the website and showed how employees at two Connecticut stores used it to deny customers a $150 discount on a computer advertised on BestBuy.com.

Blumenthal said Wednesday that Best Buy has also confirmed to his office the existence of the intranet site, but has so far failed to give clear answers about its purpose and use.

"Their responses seem to raise as many questions as they answer," Blumenthal said in an interview. "Their answers are less than crystal clear."

Based on what his office has learned, Blumenthal said, it appears the consumer has the burden of informing Best Buy sales people of the cheaper price listed on its Internet site, which he said "is troubling."

What is more troubling to me, and to some Best Buy customers, is that even when one informs a salesperson of the Internet price, customers have been shown the intranet site, which looks identical to the Internet site, but does not always show the lowest price.

Blumenthal said that because of the fuzzy responses from Best Buy, he has yet to figure out the real motivation behind the intranet site and whether sales people are encouraged to use it to cheat customers.

Although Best Buy also refused to talk with me on specifics of the intranet site or its use, it insisted that its policy is to give customers the best price.

"Our intention is to provide the best price to our customers which is why we have a price-match policy in place," the company said in a written statement to me. "As prices and offers may vary between retail and online, our stores will certainly match BestBuy.com pricing as long as it qualifies under the terms and conditions of the price match policy."

"As a company, everything we do revolves around our customers' needs and desires. It is never our intent to mislead them as their loyalty is incredibly important to us," the statement said.

Then they threw in this interesting line: "Although we have an intra-store web site in place to support store operations (including products and pricing), we are reminding our employees how to access the external BestBuy.com web site to ensure customers are receiving the best possible product price."

That last sentence seems to indicate that Best Buy, which is supposed to be staffed by tech-savvy employees, is putting the blame on memory lapses: that employees have somehow forgotten how to access BestBuy.com from the store.

Having been to many Best Buy stores where some helpful employees showed me how they access the intranet and Internet, I can assure Best Buy officials that the re-education process will probably not be lengthy.

After making sure the computer is turned on, employees should click twice on the Yahoo Internet icon and then type in BestBuy.com.

This is not the first time the giant electronic retailer has gotten into trouble misleading customers. The firm, based in Minneapolis, operates more than 1,100 electronic retail stores in the U.S., Canada and China. It has more than 125,000 full-time employees.

Attorneys general in New Jersey and Ohio have accused Best Buy of deceptive sales practices, repackaging used merchandise and selling it as new, and failing to pay rebates and refunds. It paid $135,000 in New Jersey three years ago to settle that state's suit, which was based on hundreds of consumer complaints. The Ohio case is ongoing.

redsrule2500
03-02-2007, 10:56 PM
I would tend to be the other way around with Best Buy and Circuit City.
I can't stand Best Buy, and will never buy anything from the store unless it's on a gift card!

oneupper
03-03-2007, 07:08 AM
The Best Buy around here never has the stuff that's on sale.
But they'll sell you something "similar" (bait and switch).

Circuit City used to be awful. Now it's where I look for deals.

Expect both to get less agressive now that CompUSA is closing half its stores.

RedsBaron
03-03-2007, 07:37 AM
I had a very bad experience with Circuit City several years ago. We discovered that a TV we had purchased had damage to it. Circuit City refused to allow us to return the TV and falsely accused us of having damaged it.
Fortunately, I know a lawyer (me). My threat to file suit against both Circuit City and the manufacturer eventually persuaded the manufacturer to refund my money, but the whole episode left me with ill feelings toward both Circuit City and the manufacturer, and I have avoided purchasing from either one ever since.

creek14
03-03-2007, 09:20 AM
I don't shop at Best Buy cause of the ole bait and switch.

I don't shop at Walmart, either, but mr creek wanted to buy his mom a plasma TV for Christmas and found the best deal at Sams Club.

So he gets it to his mom's house (3 hours south of us) and when they took it out of the box, it was damaged.

I scanned the receipt and emailed it to him and he took the TV and the email to a Sams in his mom's town.

Son of a gun, they exchanged it without any problems at all.

I still think Walmart is icky and dirty and won't shop there. But my oponion of Sams Club has changed.

Tommyjohn25
03-03-2007, 10:06 AM
I will never go back to Best Buy again. The least three purchases I made were either damaged out of the box or defective.

Falls City Beer
03-03-2007, 10:08 AM
I will never go back to Best Buy again. The least three purchases I made were either damaged out of the box or defective.

Wow. That's insanely bad. A sincere thank you for this thread. I will not be shopping Best Buy again any time soon.

justincredible
03-03-2007, 10:47 AM
I haven't been to Best Buy for a while for no reason other than I haven't needed to make any electronics purchases. I probably won't be going back any time soon if this is how they do things.

Reds4Life
03-03-2007, 11:01 AM
I would tend to be the other way around with Best Buy and Circuit City.
I can't stand Best Buy, and will never buy anything from the store unless it's on a gift card!

Same, I hate Best Buy with a passion. They push the extended warranty stuff way to hard and it gets on my nerves. Never had any trouble with Circuit City.

Red in Chicago
03-03-2007, 11:30 AM
best buy blows:thumbdown

Caveat Emperor
03-03-2007, 12:45 PM
Same, I hate Best Buy with a passion. They push the extended warranty stuff way to hard and it gets on my nerves. Never had any trouble with Circuit City.

I'll shop Best Buy for dumb little things -- CDs and DVDs a little more "off the beaten path" than you'd find at Target, PS2 games, etc -- stuff that you never have to deal with a salesman to buy (I hate salesmen with the burning heat of 1,000 suns -- why, in 2007 can I not just walk into a store and buy something. I don't need a middleman to explain things about TVs, Stereos, Cars, or Computers. I've spent countless hours researching most major purhcases I make to the point where I probably know at least as much as the guy standing around at the place I'm shopping. Why can I not just walk in, point to what I want, have it given to me, and walk out without some hasseling me about "better models" or "extended warranties" or "options and features"? Grrr....).

I am in the market for a new car stereo, though, and Best Buy has an exclusive-carry agreement with Alpine. So, I guess I'll have to venture in there for a dreaded big-ticket item in the near future.

Razor Shines
03-03-2007, 04:31 PM
I'll still shop at Best Buy for some things because it's close. It's never happened to me but if I saw something on the internet and they had a different price in the store I'd tell them to shove it and leave.

westofyou
03-03-2007, 04:41 PM
Same, I hate Best Buy with a passion. They push the extended warranty stuff way to hard and it gets on my nerves. Never had any trouble with Circuit City.

I always look them right in the eye and say, No... and that means No so just stop.

MWM
03-03-2007, 05:00 PM
Actually, Best Buy does not have commissioned sales people. They only ask about the warranty at the check out counter by the cashier. One of the basic business principles of Best Buy is that they DON'T push people hard to buy the warranties and they don't want pushy sales people. Circuit City is the opposite. They have people who are commissioned and are pushed and pushed and pushed to sell the warranties. Selling warranties at Circuit City is more important than the item itself. Trust me, I used to work in the business. One of the reasons Best Buy has been so successful is because it's the place you can go without being hounded by pushy salesmen and without having your arm twisted into buying the warranties. The problem at Best Buy is that it's darn near impossible to get any help if you need it. At Cirtuit City, you have a sales person assigned to you th second you walk into the store.

BTW, when I worked in the business, you could earn up to 30% on the extended warranties (we called it cheese).

HBP
03-03-2007, 05:29 PM
BTW, when I worked in the business, you could earn up to 30% on the extended warranties (we called it cheese).

Saw this on Digg this (http://www.storyevent.com/outsmart-best-buy-circuit-city-save-hundreds-on-electronics) week. Supposedly how you can scam them out of money.

hebroncougar
03-03-2007, 05:29 PM
Actually, Best Buy does not have commissioned sales people. They only ask about the warranty at the check out counter by the cashier. One of the basic business principles of Best Buy is that they DON'T push people hard to buy the warranties and they don't want pushy sales people. Circuit City is the opposite. They have people who are commissioned and are pushed and pushed and pushed to sell the warranties. Selling warranties at Circuit City is more important than the item itself. Trust me, I used to work in the business. One of the reasons Best Buy has been so successful is because it's the place you can go without being hounded by pushy salesmen and without having your arm twisted into buying the warranties. The problem at Best Buy is that it's darn near impossible to get any help if you need it. At Cirtuit City, you have a sales person assigned to you th second you walk into the store.

BTW, when I worked in the business, you could earn up to 30% on the extended warranties (we called it cheese).

Now that makes you sound like you work at Best Buy.

MrCinatit
03-03-2007, 05:37 PM
I would be very surprised if I found out Best Buy was the only retailer with a "secret" site.

pedro
03-03-2007, 05:42 PM
Now that makes you sound like you work at Best Buy.

I can assure you that he doesn't.

MWM
03-03-2007, 10:37 PM
I worked at Steinberg's years ago before it closed down. This was before Best Buy had a national presence. It was basically us and Circuit City. There was a lot of overlap in people. One of the managers in my store (Field Ertel Road) was a former manager at Circuit City. We had people leave to go there. Heck, I even interviewed there when I worked at Steinberg's. In sales training at both places it was all about the warranties. They care a lot more about that than they do about your actual sales volume. The reason is that these waranties are almost 100% profit. They're one of the biggest ripoffs out there. The commission percentages on these things were ridiculous. If you wanted to make to good money in sales at a place like that, you did it through selling the warranties.

At one point, there was a policy in my store that if you didn't close an extended warranty on a customer, you were required to bring in one of the "closers" to give it a shot. If they were able to get the deal done, you had to split the commission. This policy was my last straw and the primary reason why I left a few months before I planned to (took a year and a half off school during undergrad. This was when I worked there). I hated spending time with people, getting to know them, feeling like I was really helping them get what they needed, only to have them absolutely beaten down by someone else because they didn't want the warranty.

But Best Buy came in and changed this. Heck, that's the only reason I started going to Best Buy for these things. I hated being hounded about the warranties. At Best Buy, the simply ask you if you want it while you're going through the check out line. If you say no, that's the end of the discussion. It's just the beginning at some of these other places. Radio Shack is the worst. I bought a couple of cell phones there and both times I was about the punch the sales person out if they said another word about the warranty. But Best Buy, as a company policy, does not push people on warranties. It's a one time question and nothing more. They don't get paid on them, nor are they evaluated on them.

RBA
03-03-2007, 11:46 PM
It doesn't matter to me where I buy my high tech items, all it matter is that I'm getting the best deal. Now that I live less than 2 miles from Fry's, I'm enjoying shopping there a whole lot more. With CompUSA closing over half their stores, I think Fry's and MicroCenter will expand to take up the void.

harangatang
03-04-2007, 12:58 AM
I worked at Steinberg's years ago before it closed down. This was before Best Buy had a national presence. It was basically us and Circuit City. There was a lot of overlap in people. One of the managers in my store (Field Ertel Road) was a former manager at Circuit City. We had people leave to go there. Heck, I even interviewed there when I worked at Steinberg's. In sales training at both places it was all about the warranties. They care a lot more about that than they do about your actual sales volume. The reason is that these waranties are almost 100% profit. They're one of the biggest ripoffs out there. The commission percentages on these things were ridiculous. If you wanted to make to good money in sales at a place like that, you did it through selling the warranties.

At one point, there was a policy in my store that if you didn't close an extended warranty on a customer, you were required to bring in one of the "closers" to give it a shot. If they were able to get the deal done, you had to split the commission. This policy was my last straw and the primary reason why I left a few months before I planned to (took a year and a half off school during undergrad. This was when I worked there). I hated spending time with people, getting to know them, feeling like I was really helping them get what they needed, only to have them absolutely beaten down by someone else because they didn't want the warranty.

But Best Buy came in and changed this. Heck, that's the only reason I started going to Best Buy for these things. I hated being hounded about the warranties. At Best Buy, the simply ask you if you want it while you're going through the check out line. If you say no, that's the end of the discussion. It's just the beginning at some of these other places. Radio Shack is the worst. I bought a couple of cell phones there and both times I was about the punch the sales person out if they said another word about the warranty. But Best Buy, as a company policy, does not push people on warranties. It's a one time question and nothing more. They don't get paid on them, nor are they evaluated on them.You know what's funny about that is when I bought a computer a few years I went to Best Buy first. I decided on something and the kid who was selling me the computer asked me about buying a service plan. I politely said no which was fine until the "closer" came in and started pressuring me. After he got really really pushy I left the store and told the man I would never be back. The look on that guy's face was absolutely priceless. I went to Circuit City and everything was fine, no pushy sales people or anything.

redsrule2500
03-04-2007, 02:56 AM
Actually, Best Buy does not have commissioned sales people. They only ask about the warranty at the check out counter by the cashier. One of the basic business principles of Best Buy is that they DON'T push people hard to buy the warranties and they don't want pushy sales people. Circuit City is the opposite. They have people who are commissioned and are pushed and pushed and pushed to sell the warranties. Selling warranties at Circuit City is more important than the item itself. Trust me, I used to work in the business. One of the reasons Best Buy has been so successful is because it's the place you can go without being hounded by pushy salesmen and without having your arm twisted into buying the warranties. The problem at Best Buy is that it's darn near impossible to get any help if you need it. At Cirtuit City, you have a sales person assigned to you th second you walk into the store.

BTW, when I worked in the business, you could earn up to 30% on the extended warranties (we called it cheese).

Alright, you obviously HAVEN'T worked at Best Buy. They push people so hard they made people quit! They have numbers on yellow signs at the front of the store and if your FLOOR TEAM doesn't meet the goals posted in the allocated time frame, the manager is gonna have you head that night at closing. It's disgusting.

By the way, Circuit City hasn't been on commission in about 4 years...

Caseyfan21
03-04-2007, 03:26 AM
I feel great about the warranty I purchased from Best Buy for my computer. I went ahead and got the total coverage, no questions asked warranty for my laptop figuring I would probably drop it and need it at some point. Well, I have had 2 mother boards fail, and I have dropped it causing damage at least twice. Furthermore, I will be taking it in in a couple months to complain about battery life and get a new battery before the warranty runs out in October. That warranty has been the best thing I have ever bought. I have probably had over twice to three times the value of the computer fixed (almost exclusively because of my own stupidity). And every time I just laugh knowing Best Buy is bearing the cost of it.

Cedric
03-04-2007, 03:56 AM
I feel great about the warranty I purchased from Best Buy for my computer. I went ahead and got the total coverage, no questions asked warranty for my laptop figuring I would probably drop it and need it at some point. Well, I have had 2 mother boards fail, and I have dropped it causing damage at least twice. Furthermore, I will be taking it in in a couple months to complain about battery life and get a new battery before the warranty runs out in October. That warranty has been the best thing I have ever bought. I have probably had over twice to three times the value of the computer fixed (almost exclusively because of my own stupidity). And every time I just laugh knowing Best Buy is bearing the cost of it.

Well if you know you are stupid then it's a good purchase.

TeamCasey
03-04-2007, 06:53 AM
Whenever they ask me if I want to purchase an extended warranty, I ask them, "Why, don't you stand by your products?".

RedsBaron
03-04-2007, 08:11 AM
Purchase extended warranties or insurance coverage only for items that you cannot afford to pay to fix or replace on your own. In other words, most people should have coverage for their house, their car (if it is worth much) and their lives, but not for something purchased at Best Buy or Circuit City.

RANDY IN INDY
03-04-2007, 08:46 AM
You'd be better off giving that money to your favorite charity.

Yachtzee
03-04-2007, 11:39 AM
Selling the extended warranty is pretty standard for all of those places. My sister gets the same kind of pressure at CompUSA. Of course I never buy the warranty because my sister is a tech manager and fixes my stuff for free anyway. I just have to pay for the parts. Her advice is that you only really need to buy an extended warranty if you get an expensive laptop, and when you do, make sure it covers damage or failure to the screen. According to her, a lot of warranties don't cover replacing the screen, which also happens to be the most expensive repair on the laptop.

creek14
03-04-2007, 11:49 AM
I've never had anyone anywhere get pushy with me when I turned down an extended warranty.

Of course, being a 6'2" female, I've never had anyone get pushy with me about much of anything I've said no to. :cool:

paintmered
03-04-2007, 11:58 AM
If you can show you know more about the products than the sales guys, you'll get left alone. They don't want to look like they don't know what they are talking about.

Caseyfan21
03-04-2007, 12:20 PM
Well if you know you are stupid then it's a good purchase.

I wouldn't say stupid, I just think a warranty on a laptop is a must. I would recommend anyone getting a laptop to get the top warranty because even if nothing happens you can still get a new battery and other parts at the end of the warranty that will prolong the life of the computer (and be about the same value as the cost of the warranty). I use my laptop extensively and run some heavy duty programs so I knew I would run the laptop into the ground. That's why I got the warranty. Sure enough the first time the motherboard failed was not my fault, it was a defect (still under basic warranty). Then I dropped it once and really messed it up and got it fixed for free. Then, a few parts failed after 2 and a half years just because of usage. I guess I made it sound like I was being stupid in my previous post but only once did I actually drop it.

If you baby a laptop and don't use it for much more than word processing and internet then an extended full service warranty is pointless. If you use if every day extensively and run large programs on it that wear it out then I wouldn't think twice about getting the warranty. I still say it's the best purchase I ever made. And the cost of the warranty is very close to the cost of replacing a battery, wireless card, and maybe a couple other pieces of hardware that will naturally wear with time. If you want to get those pieces replaced after 4 years to prolong the life of your laptop (I've found they need it) then the warranty really makes sense.

Razor Shines
03-04-2007, 12:41 PM
Alright, you obviously HAVEN'T worked at Best Buy. They push people so hard they made people quit! They have numbers on yellow signs at the front of the store and if your FLOOR TEAM doesn't meet the goals posted in the allocated time frame, the manager is gonna have you head that night at closing. It's disgusting.

By the way, Circuit City hasn't been on commission in about 4 years...

I wouldn't say it's disgusting. They're just trying to make money, if you don't like it don't shop their. I don't think they are having trouble keeping busy. I honestly have never had a problem with people being pushy with me at a Best Buy. I think all of this is random, it just depends on the person working there. Some people say Circuit City is pushy some love it, some think Best Buy is pushy, some don't. I just think it's different from store to store.

hebroncougar
03-04-2007, 01:17 PM
I bought my extended warranty through Toshiba, instead of the purchasing store. They have a repair center on my way to work, and got 3 years for about $120 bucks on a $1200 laptop.

KronoRed
03-04-2007, 01:55 PM
If you can show you know more about the products than the sales guys, you'll get left alone. They don't want to look like they don't know what they are talking about.

So so true.

The other day I was in Best Buy and overheard 2 Best Buy employees talking to a guy about blueray/hd-dvd, they seemed to know their stuff until the guy asked if a player existed that could play both, both guys say no no no way, it's impossible.

Such a player does exist, and what makes it better is, the player was on sale in the best buy ad one of the employees was holding :laugh: