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Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

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Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Old 03-23-09, 03:58 PM
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Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Never been much of a price matcher myself, but this kind of stuff burns my britches...


Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

http://i.gizmodo.com/5180369/best-bu...yline=true&s=i

Best Buy, like many other stores, has a public "price matching" policy. But HD Guru reports that according to internal docs, personnel are trained to deny price-matches and even paid bonuses for shutting them down.

This all comes out of a lawsuit that was just granted class action status. Internal documents, plus depositions from past and current Best Buy employees reveal just how evil Best Buy is. A price match is when, say, Circuit City advertised a Sharp HDTV for cheaper than Best Buy, Best Buy's public policy is to match that price.

But Best Buy actually trains employees in New York how to deny legitimate price match requests, and the average Best Buy store denies 100 price matches a week. You even get paid bonuses based on how many price matches you deny!

Here's how it works, according to Phil Britton, a member of Best Buy's Competitive Strategies Group:

What is the first thing we do when a customer comes in to our humble box brandishing a competitor's ad asking for a price match? We attempt to build a case against the price match. (Trust me, I've done it too). Let's walk through the "Refused Price Match Greatest Hits:

"Not same model? Not in stock at the competitor? Do we have free widget with purchase? Is it from a warehouse club (they have membership fees, you know)? Limited Quantities? That competitor is across town? We've got financing! Is it an internet price? It's below cost!….."

If you live in NY state, and you've been screwed by Best Buy's anti-price matching, HD Guru has further info on the attorney to contact so you can take a piece out of Best Buy. What a bunch of scum.

Update: Giz reader Jake reveals how they scam you on model numbers to avoid price matching:

Example: A few months ago my wife and I were looking at a Frigidaire Washer. The model we were interested was the ATF8000FS. At Best Buy, we found the washer there however it was displayed as the ATF8000FSL. At first I figured "Oh this must be some variation on the original model number, like how manufacturers sometimes add a letter to the end of the model to indicate the product color." Anyways, to make a long story short, this ATF8000FSL was not available from the manufacturer.

The "L" was added on by Best Buy in order for them to skirt around price matching. This is so no one can come to Best Buy and claim to have found a lower price of this product because no one else sells the product under the model number ATF8000FSL. It's ATF8000FS everywhere else. Best Buy will tell people that its simply a different product, so therefore, no price matching. Even on the manufacturer's sticker on the washer, it said ATF8000FS, as it was supposed to. Upon further investigation I could see that Best Buy's internal computers even listed the model as ATF8000FSL.

Pretty scammy.
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Old 03-23-09, 04:30 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

does not surprise me one bit.
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Old 03-23-09, 04:37 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Yay class action lawsuit! Cant wait until they settle and give everyone a coupon good for a nickel off a plasma tv.

That fake model number thing is disgusting.
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Old 03-23-09, 04:45 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

No surprises here, but I've had few problems price matching @ BB on the rare occasions I even shop there. Just 2 weeks ago I pm'd a Blu-ray for the Amazon price by showing it to the cashier on my iPhone and it was all good.
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Old 03-23-09, 05:14 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

For some reason, I could never get Best Buy to price match Target or CC, now I know why.
I'm am now glad that I always took my business to Target or CC over BestBuy. I don't think I'll do any more business with BestBuy after all my experiences and the shit I hear about them all the time.
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Old 03-23-09, 05:52 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Ok, I'll play devil's advocate

That model number thing is used by a lot of big companies, notably Wal-mart, where they ask the manufacturer for a slightly different, exclusive model to prevent pricematching. However, when Best Buy makes up their own number themselves, that's an issue, I can't defend that.

However:
Not in stock at competitor, free widget with purchase, limited quantities, and competitor across town are all, to me, valid reasons to deny a price match. The purpose is to get you to buy something at their store, and maybe have you pick other stuff up on your visit... if it's not available at the other store, why price match? I can understand from the consumer perspective why it seems like crap that BB isn't price matching Target's ad on a DVD, when Target sold out at that price within minutes of opening... but that's clearly written in their policy. The cross town thing might be annoying, but bottom line if it's far enough away for gas to negate the savings, are you really going to go across town? Even if they did price match across town, there has to be some physical limit... a New York Best Buy doesn't have to price match a West Coast Fry's store.

Free widget with purchase: Yeah, annoying, however, most consumers seem to want (and sometimes get) both the price match AND the special deal. Perhaps the other store got a steep discount on the widgets. Also goes for exclusive Best Buy editions, the bottom line is you have to buy it from there if you want it.

People want them to price match internet stores, but they'd have to add in shipping and tax (whether or not you would actually pay it to the internet company). I agree that they should price match their own website, though.

I've never heard the "it's from costco" argument, the "we've got financing" one, or even the "it's below cost" from Best Buy.
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Old 03-23-09, 05:53 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

JVC used to have different model numbers for products sold in Best Buy but they usually had an extra feature that the general release product didn't have. That was their way of justifying why they needed a different model number. We all knew the real reason but we could never tell a customer the truth so we just said it was because they bought in such large quantities.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:35 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Yeah, I'm with Best Buy on this one. The only invalid rejection reason I've seen this thread is "across town"--there needs to be some concrete figure or rule. 10 miles, closest competitor, etc. "Across town" or "too far away" is too vague.
We ran into the model number trick with mattresses and baby cribs, they're the same thing. Each store will get a different check number or letter at the end so it's not the "same" product. A weaselly technicality, but still within the 'rules'. And nowadays it's actually more valid--many products have store-specific versions that are truly different. If you want the steelbook, go to the store with the steelbook.
The internal item number, okay, that's a little weaselly.

To be honest though, the headline should be "Best Buy Employees Told to Enforce Policy Consistently and As Written to Avoid Decreasing Profitability". And don't forget, if they did grant every single price match request because "the customer is always right" ("What do you mean you won't pricematch this online store which has no overhead and no state taxes and no physical storefront to deal with?") (and "the customer is always right" is BS anyway), and then go out of business or have to lay people off, they'll be excoriate for that as well.

The two times I asked for a PM, I got it. And the one time I asked for a bigger discount on a floor model item, I got it. *shrug* I'm not seeing the problem, either with BB as a whole or with this alleged "scam".

"It's from Costco"--I haven't heard this one, but I have seen this in the fine print, and I'm fine with it. The argument could be "Sure, you can buy it for cheaper at Costco or BJ's...but you have to pay 35$ membership fee. Still cheaper here." Or that by paying the fee it's not a "public" store like WM or Target, it's a "members only" store.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:41 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

I have had the not in stock thing pulled on me many times. Lots of times its target. There are several Targets within 5 - 10 miles of Best Buy. I just say, call them all. Then the "I dont really want to work that hard" clerk suddenly decides to give in.

Yay class action lawsuit! Cant wait until they settle and give everyone a coupon good for a nickel off a plasma tv.
Yep, then the only ones who win are scummy lawyers.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:44 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

I don't understand price matching. If Store X has the lower price, I go and get it at Store X. Much better than waiting in line and having to go through the hassle.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:47 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

The two times I asked for a PM, I got it. And the one time I asked for a bigger discount on a floor model item, I got it. *shrug* I'm not seeing the problem, either with BB as a whole or with this alleged "scam".
Different Best Buys do things differently. One BB I go to, I am treated the same way as you are. The other BB, its like pulling teeth to get a simple price match.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:47 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Originally Posted by Groucho View Post
I don't understand price matching. If Store X has the lower price, I go and get it at Store X. Much better than waiting in line and having to go through the hassle.
Depends on the store you're price matching with. I'd go into Best Buy and price match a Circuit City ad, just so I wouldn't have to go to Circuit City.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:47 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

I generally do it when the closest Target is out and I dont want to drive further out to get to one that is in stock. A lot of time price matching is for convenience.
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Old 03-23-09, 06:52 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Originally Posted by BKenn01 View Post
A lot of time price matching is for convenience.
Exactly. For me I do it so I don't need to stop at two stores. Find parking, going in and out, finding the item and checking out. Especially at Target, its not easy.

It should be a no brainer for BB, especially if your buying multiple items at the store. I bought my laptop there and wanted to get a price match for a dvd in that same transaction. It was such a pain!
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Old 03-23-09, 07:06 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Originally Posted by JB7 View Post
Exactly. For me I do it so I don't need to stop at two stores. Find parking, going in and out, finding the item and checking out. Especially at Target, its not easy.

It should be a no brainer for BB, especially if your buying multiple items at the store. I bought my laptop there and wanted to get a price match for a dvd in that same transaction. It was such a pain!
did you still buy the laptop, though?
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Old 03-23-09, 07:13 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

There are some legitimate reasons for Best Buy to not price match, but i've also seen plenty of stories from people where they reach really hard to deny you. Adding a letter to the product number is pretty screwed up too.

I didn't have a problem buying my TV at Best Buy, as they price matched with Fry's even though Fry's was out of stock. So yeah, it really depends on your store.
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Old 03-23-09, 08:18 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Originally Posted by BKenn01 View Post
I generally do it when the closest Target is out and I dont want to drive further out to get to one that is in stock. A lot of time price matching is for convenience.
Of course, that's one of the *valid* reasons to deny it, when the closest competitor is out...if they're out, and you want the convenience, you should pay for it (the rationale for denying the PM).
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Old 03-23-09, 11:48 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

I think the whole "bonuses" bit is BS.

Unless they mean *MANAGERS* get bonuses when regular blue shirts deny price matches, because there was no such thing as a "bonus" when I was there...just a "its your job".

But I can't really understand why a price match would be denied on a DVD or CD (exclusive content/discs aside) given that we in the Media Dept. were *ALWAYS* told that music and movies were there to lure people into the store in hopes they buy other expensive things.
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Old 03-24-09, 12:53 AM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

I never had a problem pricematching there.
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Old 03-24-09, 09:12 AM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Very deceptive thread/article title.
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Old 03-24-09, 01:12 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

Originally Posted by Trevor View Post
Very deceptive thread/article title.
Only in the context of we don't know for certain if they got bonuses. In the context of this specific article, we know there are at least documents and employees that can back up the policy to give consumers a hard time. http://www.tomsguide.com/us/best-buy...news-3669.html

Internal Best Buy documents point to shady anti-price matching policies.

Ever been to Best Buy armed with a competitor’s ad in hopes of getting a better price, only to be shot down by a barrage of seemingly inexplicable excuses? If so, you’re not alone.

The U.S. District Court has granted a motion to allow plaintiff Thomas Jermyn and any similarly situated NY State residents to enter into a class action lawsuit against Best Buy for violating its price match policy, according to HD Guru.

The suit alleges that Best Buy knowingly deceives customers. As noted by the plaintiff, Best Buy uses its “price match guarantee policy as a ploy, to lure unsuspecting consumers into its stores and to induce them to purchase its merchandise, while allegedly having an undisclosed ‘Anti-Price Matching Policy,’ pursuant to which employees aggressively deny customers’ legitimate price match requests.”

According to the report, the decision to grant the suit class action status was based on Best Buy internal documents, depositions of current employees and declarations by two former employees.

Some of the evidence supposedly included an “Anti-Price Match Policy” which was distributed to regional managers, store managers, assistant managers, and necessary store personnel. Perhaps most striking of all was the point that alleged that Best Buy provided financial bonuses on denying proper price match requests.

A Best Buy representative responded to questions regarding its policies, saying, “We encourage customers to become familiar with our price-matching policy and use it to their advantage, especially in these tough economic times.” The representative also added that customers who believe they’ve met the applicable criteria and are unable to price match at their local Best Buy store should contact the Customer Care Center.
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Old 03-24-09, 01:19 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

^ Also deceptive in that most of the reasons listed for denying the PM are legit reasons.

I agree that the bonuses and alternate model #s are dishonest business practices, if true.
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Old 03-24-09, 01:27 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

The problem with this is that Best Buy could go the route of Target and just decide to no longer price match.
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Old 03-24-09, 01:43 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

The only time I've ever had a price match denied was when I brought in an Ad for Fry's and the guy said that they aren't considered a "Local" competitor since the closest Fry's was almost 15 miles away.
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Old 03-24-09, 02:03 PM
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Re: Best Buy Staff Paid Bonuses to Deny Legit Guaranteed Price Matches

We had $400 in BB GCs when we were buying our HDTV in 2003. I wanted to pricematch Fry's. I was told a number of blatant lies by the same manager: "It is open box", "We have a guy who travels store to store and he says it is B-stock", "I called earlier about this same model and was told it was B-stock", etc.

I knew that none of what he said was actually true (the item was really new and not an open-box or refurb), so the next day, I dropped a note off for the store manager and then sent an email to the CEO. The next day I got a call from the district manager who said that I could come back and pricematch it, and that they would give me $50 more off and free delivery. When I went back in, the girl at the counter said something like "I don't know what you did, but you have friends high up the ladder".

Between that comment and the fact that it was the district manager who called me (as opposed to the store manager that I had left the note for), it makes me think that my email to the CEO was what got me results. It wasn't easy to track down his email address, so I'm guessing he doesn't get many customers emailing complaints to him directly.

Last edited by Jeremy517; 03-24-09 at 02:11 PM. Reason: They gave me $50 extra off, not $100
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