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October 22, 2012

Best Buy to Match Online Prices, Sort of

Filed under: Internet,Retail — Edgar (aka MrConsumer) @ 5:39 am

A couple of weeks ago, Best Buy announced that its brick and mortar stores were going to match online prices. Hurray! What could be better than being able to shop locally *and* pay lower Internet prices?

Not so fast. Have we forgotten who we are dealing with?

At the very end of the page describing its price matching policy, Best Buy added these catches:

*MOUSE PRINT:

Best Buy will match the new, identical, immediately available current pre-tax appliance and electronics hardware products price for these designated major retailers: Amazon.com, Apple.com, Bhphotovideo.com, Buy.com, Circuitcity.com, CompUSA.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, hhgregg.com, hp.com, homedepot.com, lowes.com, newegg.com, officedepot.com, officemax.com, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com, Tigerdirect.com, and walmart.com. Appliance and electronics hardware products include audio hardware, video hardware, cameras, camcorders, desktop computers, notebook computers, e-Readers, tablets, TVs, MP3 players, small appliances, major appliances, gaming handheld devices and consoles. Best Buy will not price match accessories, during the return and exchange period or the online prices of third party vendors (Marketplace Vendors) on major retailer websites. Valid for purchases made between October 7, 2012 – November 17, 2012 and November 27, 2012 – December 24, 2012. Best Buy may amend these terms at any time. All other terms and conditions of the Best Buy Price Match Guarantee apply. See Store for details.

*MOUSE PRINT Summarized:

1. Best Buy will not match all Internet prices, just at those specific sites listed above.

2. Best Buy will not match Internet prices of all products it carries, just electronics and appliances.

3. Best Buy will not match Internet prices during Thanksgiving week, Black Friday or Cyber Monday — the days when prices are likely to be the lowest.

4. Best Buy will apply all its other restrictions to online price matching, including that limited quantity, out of stock, and “Deal of the Day” items are excluded.

Best Buy garnered huge headlines for being one of the first brick and mortar retailers to match Internet prices, but the fine print of the actual policy reveals that it will not apply on the best days to shop nor to the lowest prices you are likely to find.

• • •

15 Comments

  1. As of 10/22/12, for the Cisco Valet M20 router, Amazon.com charges $49.99, NewEgg charges $39.99–and Best Buy charges $109.99. That’s Best Buy’s price match?

    Edgar replies: Mark… the consumer has to point out the lower price to Best Buy. The policy does not require them to scrutinize the marketplace and adjust their prices on their own.

    Comment by Mark Hochhauser — October 22, 2012 @ 7:57 am
  2. And it will be a nightmare. Can you imagine being in line behind someone wanting a price match? The cashier needs to get management approval and they have to look the item up themselves online to verify.

    Then, chances are, the item will not “qualify” so now the customer will spend a few minutes arguing with them.

    Yeah, that should make some happy campers.

    Comment by tom — October 22, 2012 @ 10:20 am
  3. I’m not a fan of Best Buy policies, but you can’t knock them for excluding Black Friday and Cyber Monday…why would they want to price match a door buster item? – door busters are loss leaders.

    For Best Buy, this is a pretty good step forward – these restrictions should be noted, but are hardly worth criticizing. Other stores will follow suit…

    Comment by Jim — October 22, 2012 @ 10:35 am
  4. Yeah, no. I’m likely to still shop online, since most places offer free or very reduced shipping during the holiday shopping season. I do not like Best Buy’s policies, stores, or how they train (or don’t train) their employees in customer service. I will also skip being in line while customers argue with cashiers/managers about price matching that Tom pointed out above. Best Buy lost my business a looooong time ago. There have been several notable incidents in my shopping history with them that sealed that deal.

    One that comes to mind is a few years ago, when Best Buy advertised widely their policy of trying out any item in the store so you could decide if it was really what you wanted. The ads said to just ask and the sales staff would let you see, hold, touch, try, use, etc ANY ITEM. My sister and her husband were shopping for a digital camera, and narrowed their final selection down to two. They asked the sales staff to show them one out of the box, and they were refused. No reason given when their policy was referenced – just NO, you can’t. You have to buy it, and if you don’t like it return it – with a 15% restocking fee. Um, no thanks.

    Best Buy has a habit of doing idiotic things like this. If I really want to buy locally, I’ll go to a more reputable retailer. But, I’m a shop online guy, so Amazon here I come.

    Comment by Eric — October 22, 2012 @ 11:14 am
  5. You have to be careful when you try to price match. Many manufacturers will purposely make the same model with different model numbers (eg: HP4900s to Staples, HP4900b for Best Buy, etc). This allows stores to not match prices since they are technically different models. Gone are the days of being paid commission so stores are not going to match the price even if you tell them that they will lose a sale.

    Also, don’t be surprised if the manager won’t price match for some obscure policy reason. If, after a short conversation, the manager won’t match the price, it’s not worth the opportunity cost of arguing with them. Unless you need it right away, it’s their job to earn your money. I’ve often gone to a store to negotiate a better price with my smart phone in my hand. I tell them that unless I get the price I want, I will buy from their competitor. Seems to be a better bargaining position than having to drive to the other store.

    Comment by Mike — October 22, 2012 @ 11:23 am
  6. What’s the point of ‘price matching’ (considering all the hassles), just buy it at the place with the lowest price. It’s not ‘rocket surgery’.

    Comment by Gert — October 22, 2012 @ 12:43 pm
  7. “It’s not ‘rocket surgery’.”

    What is it then ‘brain science’?

    Comment by erasmus — October 22, 2012 @ 2:16 pm
  8. Best Buy’s policy is fine with me. Electronics are the big sellers & they don’t need lower prices on Black Friday.

    Comment by Teri — October 22, 2012 @ 4:31 pm
  9. Says who Black Friday/Cyber Monday the prices will be lowest? Those gimmick shopping days haven’t been real bargains in years. You’ll usually find better deals on better products throughout the year without the hassles

    Comment by Bill — October 22, 2012 @ 4:31 pm
  10. I’d be happy if I get stores to match the price on their own damn website.

    Nothing drives me crazier than having a physical store tell me “No, we will not honor the price on our website. Please buy over the internet from our site and pay shipping. It should only take a week. No I don’t care that we will lose the sale. Maybe technically we are the same company, ut the online is handled separately.” Aaaaaaaaaargh.

    That is a pretty accurate reenactment of a conversation I had with Toys ‘R Us.

    Comment by Bryan — October 22, 2012 @ 5:13 pm
  11. With the exception that Best Buy should be matching all websites and not a select few, I think this policy is okay. Every customer won’t try to price match, just the ones that might still shop at brick and mortar

    Comment by Wayne R — October 22, 2012 @ 10:41 pm
  12. I still can’t believe that people have this kind of time and energy. If you find a better price on line, just order it!

    Comment by Charli — October 23, 2012 @ 8:50 am
  13. Not surprising coming from Best Buy. They lost my business years ago.
    At my house, it’s referred to as “Worst Buy”.

    Comment by Jack — October 23, 2012 @ 9:48 pm
  14. remember the olden days when vendors advertised…we will match the competitors price AND xx percent of the difference…. ??

    Comment by tom gauvin — October 24, 2012 @ 7:42 pm
  15. I can understand only matching specific sites. I’ve seen plenty of sites with lower prices that just looked really shady. It’s not fair to ask Best Buy to match a shady site that has a 1 star rating at Reseller Ratings and reams of comments of people who have been screwed over.

    They include Amazon in the list, so that should be able to get you nearly the best (realistic) price right there.

    Comment by Marc K — October 24, 2012 @ 8:08 pm

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