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Thread: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

  1. #1
    Just The Big Picture macro's Avatar
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    Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    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...-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.
    Last edited by macro; 03-02-2007 at 10:59 PM.

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    Member redsrule2500's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    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!
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    Danger is my business! oneupper's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    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.
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    Big Red Machine RedsBaron's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    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.
    "Hey...Dad. Wanna Have A Catch?" Kevin Costner in "Field Of Dreams."

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    Dunnilicious creek14's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    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.
    Will trade this space for a #1 starter.

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    Moderator Tommyjohn25's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    I will never go back to Best Buy again. The least three purchases I made were either damaged out of the box or defective.
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    Quote Originally Posted by Tommyjohn25 View Post
    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.

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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    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.

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    Member Reds4Life's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    Quote Originally Posted by redsrule2500 View Post
    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.
    Pessimists are well informed optimists

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    Oy Vey! Red in Chicago's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    best buy blows:thumbdown

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    Titanic Struggles Caveat Emperor's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
    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.
    Last edited by Caveat Emperor; 03-03-2007 at 12:48 PM.
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    Bread Gloves Razor Shines's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    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.

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    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    Quote Originally Posted by Reds4Life View Post
    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.

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    Pre-tty, pre-tty good!! MWM's Avatar
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    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).
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    Re: Worst Buy: Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Web Site

    Quote Originally Posted by MWM View Post
    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 week. Supposedly how you can scam them out of money.


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