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The Almighty Buck

Worst Buy 1037

Posted by michael
from the how-not-to-handle-customer-complaints dept.
Cutriss writes "Steve Lynch of Hypothermia has been running a consumer awareness page following of an Internet pricing disagreement between Best Buy and over 2000 angry customers, where Best Buy refused to honor a web-only sale price of a GeForce4 Ti 4600 for $129.99, at a "Special pre-order price". The situation has escalated further - Rod Hill, Store Manager for Best Buy #513 in Tucker/Dekalb County, GA, had a customer arrested on Friday of last week, citing Fraud and Criminal Trespassing. Hill informed police that Abraham Cherian, an Indian American, was trying to rip off the store, the same store that had conceded to give another customer his video card as requested 10 days earlier. Best Buy is now apparently red-flagging inquiring troublemak^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^Hcustomers who attempt to obtain their purchased cards from Best Buy locations." FWIW, if the description of what happened is accurate, Best Buy has entered into a binding contract to sell the cards at the advertised price, and if they don't want to honor it, the people affected should take them to court (or contact their local Attorney General's office, which is what they appear to be doing). It's Best Buy's obligation to make sure their prices are accurate.
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Worst Buy

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  • Kodak and others (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 56ker (566853) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:01PM (#3403007) Homepage Journal
    You'd think after the Kodak fiasco & another online vendor got the price of an X-Box wrong - and in both cases the customer got it (eventually) at the advertised price they'd just cave in and avoid the bad publicity!
  • Disclaimer? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:02PM (#3403012)
    I'm guessing they have a disclaimer on their web site. "We reserve the right to cancel sales in the event of errors" or somewhat. Don't know if it'll hold up in court, but it seems somewhat reasonable to me. It's not like they took the money and didn't give it back. Although I guess it would make a difference if the credit card was charged, and that would be the equivalent of money actually changing hands.
    • Re:Disclaimer? (Score:5, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:04PM (#3403036)
      http://www.bestbuy.com/infoCenter/Policies/Deliver y.asp#2

      Best Buy may, at its own discretion, limit or cancel quantities purchased per person, per household or per order. These restrictions may include orders placed by the same BestBuy.com account, credit card, and also orders which use the same billing and/or shipping address. Notification will be sent to the e-mail and/or billing address provided should such change occur. We reserve the right to limit the quantities sold, including the right to limit or prohibit sales to dealers.

      Prices and availability are subject to change without notice. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Best Buy reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted and whether or not the order has been confirmed and your credit card charged. If your credit card has already been charged for the purchase and your order is cancelled, BestBuy.com will issue a credit to your credit card account in the amount of the charge. Individual bank policies will dictate when this amount is credited to your account.

      While Best Buy takes steps to ensure the accuracy and completeness of product and third-party services provided, please refer to the originator of information for details, for example the manufacturer for complete product details.
      • Re:Disclaimer? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by macrom (537566) <macrom75@hotmail.com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:13PM (#3403119) Homepage
        Sure they have a disclaimer, but is the disclaimer legal? They're basically telling you that they can change the price of a product at any time, regardless of when the purchase was made. That sounds rather fishy to me. One would think that Best Buy has a decent legal team, but if it's anything like the team of people in their stores...well, most people here know what I mean.

        So the question now (probably) becomes : Does Best Buy really have the right to arbitrarily change the price on any item you purchase, just because the disclaimer says so?
        • Re:Disclaimer? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by ADRA (37398)
          It says it will cancel the order, not jack up the price and still force you to buy it. The difference is VERY important. The worst that can happen is that you have to re-order the product at the higher price.
        • Re:Disclaimer? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by flatrock (79357)
          If you read the letter from the AG which is on the web page, it seems like the issue isn't them canceling all the orders. It seems like the issue is that they are honoring the price for some people and not for others. It seems like that MAY be illegal, and least in some cases.

          Does Best Buy really have the right to arbitrarily change the price on any item you purchase, just because the disclaimer says so?

          Is anyone really stating that they are arbitrarily doing this? Someone made an error. They don't want to have to honor erroreous prices, which in this case would cost them over half a million dollars for the 2000 customers that placed orders. They are also canceling before the products were shipped.
      • I was going to post exactly the same thing. Congratulations on being quicker to the draw. I was also going to add that there's one problem with that. At least one of the buyers called and confirmed twice that the offer and prices listed were valid. Any legal experts out there know how this will change things?
    • Re:Disclaimer? (Score:5, Interesting)

      by jmauro (32523) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:07PM (#3403065)
      Putting a disclaimer on a page doesn't either make it true or enforcable. Many things can override silly disclaimers. (Like laws conserning advertising fairness). They're usually there to scare people off from actually following through when harmed. Because if it's in a disclaimer, it must be true.
      • An advertisement (wherever placed) is legally considered an "invitation to make an offer" - and is not considered an enforceable contract.

        It's bad press, but errors in advertising are not legally enforceable.

        As for having the guy arrested, we really don't know how this fellow was behaving.

        If it were my store, and he was creating a disturbance and acting threatening, I'd imagine that I'd call the police too.

        Of course, if it were my store, I'd honor the offer for fear of bad publicity, and charge it back to corporate headquarters or whatever. The price difference cannot be worth the bad blood that this is going to generate.
    • Re:Disclaimer? (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Sokie (60732)
      I think the main problem is that they honored the price for some people. IANAL, but it seems like once they did that, they lost the right to refuse to honor it for everyone who ordered before it was corrected. If they had just held firm to begin with and promptly refunded customers their money, then the people complaining wouldn't have much of a leg to stand on.

      It's arbitraty discrimination about who does and doesn't get a card that may get them in trouble here.

      --Sokie
  • by dattaway (3088) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:02PM (#3403013) Homepage Journal
    "The Indian was arrested and..."

    The police report seems to have an old fashioned Western approach to law and order.
    • by Sunkist (468741)
      not that it matters much but doesn't NATIVE AMERICAN refer to the "Indian" part of the "cowboys and indians" mentioned here. So in this case, maybe Indian American means someone from India.

      in all, it is just stooopid that ethinicity plays any part b/c labels are not what is at point here.
      • by dattaway (3088) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:14PM (#3403131) Homepage Journal
        I would expect the incident report would refer to the "suspect" by his name, after all they have identified him, right? Instead, they make repeated comments to his skin color as if that has any bearing to the case.

        "He's not white, so he must be guilty your honor!"

        I'm "white," but I do like it when officers that are required to uphold the law know what are important facts from the details. Sometimes police scare me. That guy shouldn't have made it past the interviews for a "security guard," not to mention a police officer. Sounds racist to me if I have seen it.
  • Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

    by juuri (7678) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:02PM (#3403015) Homepage
    Hill informed police that Abraham Cherian, an Indian American

    ... and what exactly does that last part matter for?
    • Sickening (Score:2, Funny)

      by sc_demandred (309821)
      It wasn't enough that we killed their children, stole their land, gave them diseases, slaughtered their food sources, raped their women, and destroyed their once-proud culture, now we won't even let them play Medal of Honor.
      • An 'Indian American' would be a United States Citizen/Otherwise who is from India. You're thinking of so-called 'Native Americans', who may or may not be the original inhabitants of the land which we call America. I believe there have been many remains found which do not show connection to 'Native Americans' and predate all 'Native American' bones, etc. that have been found. This leads me to believe that they were't necessarily the first either.
        • by mr. roboto (85479) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:54PM (#3403581)
          Apu: Today, I am no longer an Indian living in America. I am an Indian-American.
          Lisa: You know, in a way, all Americans are immigrants. Except, of course Native Americans.
          Homer: Yeah, Native Americans like us.
          Lisa: No, I mean American Indians.
          Apu: Like me.
    • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Informative)

      by KingKire64 (321470)
      If you read further down on the page you will read this is a possible instance of descrimination

      I have attempted to call Mr. Hill all morning to ask what criteria must be met to actually have the original price honored. Do you have to be Male? Female? Black? White? Does it matter that the first person to get the correct price at this very same store was a White Male, and the person turned away today happened to be dark skinned of Indian Nationality?? Well, we won't know, because if you go into the store to ask...you will be ARRESTED.
      • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Interesting)

        by arkanes (521690)
        Having worked in retail, this actually sounds ALOT like someone who came into the store, got refused the price, and then proceeded to be really loud and annoying, probably refusing to leave, until the manager called the police. People who do this often throw down any sort of minority card they can. It's possible this is a genuine case of discrimination, of course, but purely from the quotes in the article it sounds more like an annoying, abrasive, disruptive customer.
        • Re:Sigh. (Score:4, Insightful)

          by m3000 (46427) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:25PM (#3403991)
          The guy who this happened to went into a little more detail [kuro5hin.org] on Kuro5hin about what happened. According to him he was never rude at all. He asked for the manager, and then was lead to a backroom to wait. He thought it was so that the other managers could confer with one another to see if they would honor the price match or not, but instead it was jsut to keep him from leaving the store until the cops came. I know I won't be stepping in a Best Buy in Tucker, Georgia anytime soon.
  • oh shit! (Score:3, Funny)

    by paradesign (561561) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:02PM (#3403017) Homepage
    now best buy will be dual /.ed. both their site and their stores!
  • Is this an isolated incident or is this going on in more than one store out there? Does anyone have additional information on this?

    If this is an isolated incident then we might be able to get this pared down to a case of simple ignorance, as opposed to malice.
  • Future Shop (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dunkstr (513276)
    Best buy came up to Canada and bought out Future Shop. I was never particularly impressed with their business practices before they were bought out but it looks like things aren't changing. I've heard a few stories of salespeople telling customers that X would be compatible with Y to make the sale and deny any wrongdoing when they tried to return the product.

    I had a friend who worked in the complaints department, he was REALLY busy.
  • by Deltan (217782) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:07PM (#3403057)
    They seem to do this intentionally. This isn't the first time Best Buy has misguided customers on its website. They purposely mark a product with the wrong price to get everyone's pre-order dollars and then don't ship it and call it a "typo". They then proceed to either refund you or give you a "discounted price" for their "mistake" which is no where near the original price advertised on their website.

    It is some kind of cheap ploy to get people to use their website for all of their purchases. This is all to common with e-tailers these days. I for one sincerely hope that Steve and Hypothermia take Best Buy to the cleaners over this one.
    • I am interested in your suggestion that Best Buy does this on purpose. I have not heard of any other dimilar cases involving Best Buy. Incidentally, the practice of the "door crasher" special is common in the retail electronics industry, buy typically, on an ad, somewhere in small print are the words "first 10 customers". I find this somewhat underhanded and sneaky too.
      • Check out Steve's article. I think he makes reference to this not being the first time.

        Also, if you have time on your hands, HardOCP brings its users the best bang for the buck deals on its page. More often than not, these end up being typos and are more than happy to get the referred traffic from Kyle at HardOCP. Not only best buy but other online computer e-tailers. Thank god for reseller ratings. It's a shame the search function doesn't work on his site. I'm too lazy to browse through his archives either. But.. it's all there.
    • by systemaster (174904) <sys_mast AT hotmail DOT com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:38PM (#3403390) Homepage
      Assuming what you said is true, then best buy did break the law. Its called "bait and switch" and that is illegal. Of course the hard part is proving that they intentionally showed the lower price to get people to come and spend more than that. Its more detailed than that, but the point is its illegal(I think in the US). It happend to me with a mail order place, had a duron w/ main board combo advertised in a magazine. I called them, 2 days after getting the mag, and they said the sale was over. and that by the time the magazine gets to peoples hands the sale is usually over...I said the words "sounds like bait and switch, thats illegal" 15 minutes later my stuff was ordered and on the way.
    • by ekidder (121911) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @10:54PM (#3406638) Homepage
      I once tried to buy a digital camera from Best Buy. I was spending decently phat l00t for it -- something like $850. When I placed my order, they swore before Man and God that it would be at my doorstep in a week.
      Two weeks later, I called them. They apologized profusely, but it seemed they were out of stock and it was backordered. I told them to cancel my order and I would get it somewhere else. They refused because they could not cancel an order that was on backorder.
      I said 'Fine' and told them that my credit card company (AmEx) would be informed, along with the Better Business Bureau, and possibly the FTC if I could find a relevant statute.
      My order found itself canceled. I ordered the camera directly from Casio and got it in two days.
      Bastards.
  • by Hamshrew (20248) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:07PM (#3403062) Homepage

    It's not that bad... the police sided with the guy, saying the manager shouldn't have done that. Seems like they're doing just what they should, in this case. Best Buy are being assholes about it, and they're getting slapped for it. No news here.

    • It's not that bad... the police sided with the guy, saying the manager shouldn't have done that. Seems like they're doing just what they should, in this case.

      Uh no. They didn't need to cuff him. That was completely unnecessary.

      You cuff someone if they're dangerous. He was being completely calm, and the cops could see that. So putting him in cuffs was definitely going overboard.

      Once, when I was in my early teens (but I was 6' tall) I punched a sign in a park in Lakeport, CA. A cop (and member of the SWAT team) cuffed me and put me in the front of the car without sliding the seat back; So I was bent over in the FRONT seat with my hands behind my back, bent over so far that my face was about a foot from the dash, because I would otherwise not fit into the car.

      Now, I want to tell you that this cop is a bad cop; He's known for predjudice, and for getting into the pants of someone's underage daughter. The guy's in his thirties, mind you, AND A COP. So one hopes that he's atypical...

      What's the point of all this crap? He had no right to treat me that way, especially since I did no damage to the sign (of course he claimed that I was the cause of a 2" crack in the wooden sign, which was BEHIND a piece of plexiglass) but he did anyway, and he got away with it. Don't start making excuses and allowances for cops because some of them are DEFINITELY bad guys. This asshole was one of them, and he's still a cop.

      We should hold our peace officers to a higher standard of behavior than anyone else in our society. Otherwise, the entire law enforcement system becomes one that is founded on hypocrisy.

  • MaxPC (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blankmange (571591) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:08PM (#3403070)
    Remember reading about this in MaximumPC a month or two ago; Best Buy's stand then was that it was an error/typo and not a legally binding contract -- they said that they would not honor the price... seems that some of the stores have been honoring the price, unbeknownst to corporate management..
  • by Wells2k (107114) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:08PM (#3403074)
    I work for an educational institution, and one of the doctors that I work for recently had an experience at the local Best Buy.

    He had just bought a harddrive and taken it home, only to find that inside the sealed box was a can of tuna. This is something so utterly rediculous, he decided to back up his case. He called the tuna manufacturer and found that the code stamped on the bottom of the can showed that the can had been shipped to the same county as the manufacturer of the harddrive.

    So now it is time to go to the store and try to get a replacement. Of course, everyone knows the story. The manager refused to honor the story, even when presented with this amount of evidence.

    The next step was for our doctor in question to go to a bigger regional manager and tell the story. When this manager heard the information about the problem and had looked up the purchasing history of this doctor, he immediately had a new harddrive waiting for the doctor.

    I have left quite a bit out of this story, including the bit about where the police were almost called and where the doctor notes to the first manager that he makes more in a month than the manager does in a year, but you get the idea.
  • Bad Buy (Score:4, Insightful)

    by umm qasr (72190) <leith.bu@edu> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:09PM (#3403081) Homepage
    Best Buy advertising then refusing to sell the GF4 at the low price is actually quite old news. The arrest of the Indian American is actually new. We know Best Buy should honour the low price, but as any company would, they tried to get out of it. Steve @ Hypothermia (and HardOCP) has done alot of work, and indirectly (&directly) got many people their GF4's at the low price, Good Job!

    If what has been reported is true about the Indian American being arrested for trying to get his GF4 at the low price. That is a whole new story. Reading up at Hypothermia and the HardOCP Forums [hardforum.com] it seems so. After some of my experiences at Best Buy, and all this nonsense over the GF4 they are definately on My List. This story about arresting a guy over what happened is just the icing on the cake.

    What exactly happened still seems a bit unclear, and we should probably what for Best Buy's response, but it really doesn't surprise me that Best Buy acted this way. Their company cultrue seems to foster turning employees into assholes. IMHO, of course.

    • Re:Bad Buy (Score:3, Insightful)

      by shren (134692)

      Their company cultrue seems to foster turning employees into assholes.

      You'd be an asshole too if you worked register there. I have never been in a best buy where each register didn't have at least two people waiting in line. I've stopped shopping there since twice they've had register wait times of over 15 minutes or more.

      You'd think that they'd know how bad that is for thier buisness - half of what I bought in Best Buy was impulse buys. You make me wait that long and the impulse fades - I set my 'best buy' on the counter and go see a movie instead.

  • by telstar (236404) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:10PM (#3403086)
    To make up for their screw-up, BestBuy sent everybody a $30 gift-certificate. Obviously, it's not a GF4, but it seemed like a good attempt to correct an obvious misprint.
    • They still owe me about $50 for a rebate I sent in nearly a year ago, any chance I'm ever going to get that check in the mail? And what I can do to get them to send it to me?
    • by coldmist (154493) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:26PM (#3403246) Homepage
      Actually, the $30 coupon originated from Cheetah Mail, an online direct marketing company. So, now they sold your information to a marketing company as well.

      The $30 "gift-certificate" (actually a "coupon") also had a few extra strings attached.

      What a nice way to "make up for their screw-up."

      Also, if you used it, then you forfeit your ability to enter into any class-action lawsuit, or complain in any way after that, or receive any part of a settlement or compromise that could happen at a later date.
  • Email response (Score:5, Informative)

    by ajs (35943) <<moc.sja> <ta> <sja>> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:11PM (#3403098) Homepage Journal
    Still waiting for mine! ;-)

    --

    From: onlinestore@bestbuy.com
    To: <ajs@ajs.com>
    Subject: BestBuy.com Backorder Notice
    Date: Mon, 11 Feb 2002 05:32:13 -0600
    Message-ID: <EC0250S603avN3qljWw0001d1ed@ec0250s603.xbby.co m>

    Dear Aaron Sherman,

    Thank you for shopping at BestBuy.com!

    Unfortunately, the following item(s) are still unavailable to be shipped, but we hope to be able to ship this item(s) to you soon.

    If you prefer to cancel this item from your order, please contact our Customer Care representatives at onlinestore@bestbuy.com or call our Online Store help center toll-free at 1-888-BESTBUY (1-888-237-8289).

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause.

    ORDER NUMBER: 213****
    Order Date: Feb 6, 2002
    Credit Card Used: ****************

    Item Description Type Qty Web Price Total Status

    VisionTek Xtasy GeForce4 Ti 46 --- 1 $129.99 $129.99 On Backorder

    [................] SNIP!

  • Has anyone who's gotten stiffed from Best Buy called the BBB?

    Hmmm ... 2000+ calls may do something about the problem.

    • Has anyone who's gotten stiffed from Best Buy called the BBB?

      Hmmm ... 2000+ calls may do something about the problem.

      Actually, it'd probally be much quicker/efficient to file a complaint online [bbb.org]. I've done it before against companies that have sent me spam, and have actually gotten responses out of the BBB.
  • Damn right! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Rebel Patriot (540101)
    It's Best Buy's obligation to make sure their prices are accurate.

    This statement is 100% correct. The store manager in Dekalb who had that man arrested should in turn be arrested and sued for false arrest. When I worked for The Home Depot a few years back here in Macon, one of our signs for a 24 foot fiberglass ladder (nice ladder) was priced $100 too low. We honored it without any problems. Why? Two reasons: 1) it was our fault, and 2) it's the law.

    Companies that don't honor advertised prices (whether it was an honest mistake or not) are obligated to sell the merchandise at that price. This is not '$199.95 or best offer', this is '$199.95'.

  • by cOdEgUru (181536) <cherian...abraham@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:15PM (#3403140) Homepage Journal
    Allright, can I have one minute of fame here ?? please :)

    They even got my name all wrong, it should be Cherian Abraham, not the other way around..sheesh!

    Its true. This all went down last Friday at the Best Buy store at Tucker, GA. I am just gonna repeat what happened word by word. Makes quite an interesting reading. And I would really appreciate if you guys could tell me where I should go from here.

    So I went to BB at Tucker,GA last Friday armed with the receipts, my original and the copies I printed from the site. I was dumb enough to trust BB and I didnt have anyone to take along with me for the ride. I know I should have.

    There was only one card left on the aisle, so I grabbed with a couple of other things (a 80GB HD and a Platinum Audigy) and went to the counter. There was this customer service lady who told me that six or seven people have been trying to PM with the same receipt there and its not possible. She said that the receipt was a fake, the guy who created it is no longer with BB etc. She asked me if I wanted to talk to the manager, so I said yes.

    Out comes the General Manager called Rod, I politely explained why I am there. He asked me to follow him to a separate room. He did not want to discuss further details standing outside, he wanted me to follow him. Neither did he tell me then and there that I should get the heck out of there. I was kinda hesitant at first, but I thought no better of it and followed him. Inside we sat down and started going through the receipts. Then another guy, a sales manager called Paul McKim comes in, and suddenly Rod jumps out and drags him out whispering something. Rod comes back in and we start going through the same shit again. I believed that I would make him see the sense of it if I kept my cool and explained everything . He was giving me all fucked up reasons and all I wanted was a yes or no. He told me "I dont know whether I can pricematch that low, but let me ask my Sales manager".

    15 mins later, cops walk in. Then I knew they were stalling me on all the time, that he was just waiting there, making sure I was there till the cops arrive. Anyway I still kept my cool and explained to them the reason why I was there. Half an hour goes by and I am still alone in the room with the cops talking to them. Cops are all the time outside talking to BB and not even bothering to listen to my story.

    In comes on of the cops, cuffs me (God that hurts) and then tells me that I was cuffed so that I wouldnt hurt anyone. Yeah right!. So here I am cuffed for the first time of my life and humiliated. Then they told me that I was being arrested for Fraud and that I am being taken to the Dekalb Office and a detective would take it up from there on. They brought me out amidst the whole store, but I kept my head high , because I hadnt done anything wrong and I had nothing to worry about.

    Cops took me on a joy ride for half an hour and it was a damn uncomfortable one. Once there, they took me to this holding pen alone and made me wait there. In comes one black lady, who looked far more reasonable and intelligent than all the three cops combined, and she told me that she is going to talk to the BB guy (Paul) first and then myself. I waited there for almost an hour (the whole thing took from 11:30 till 3:30) and then she came in and asked me for my story. I explained her everything. She tells me then that she does not believe BB's story that I forged the receipt. Looks like they first told her that the receipt was a Fraudulent one and that they have proof to that effect, but once we all got to the precinct changed the story saying that they cant prove it anymore. Also they changed the charge from Fraud to Criminal Trespass, though at no time whatsoever they had asked me to leave the store. I work as an Analyst for a firm in Atlanta and I was looking quite respectable in my work clothes. anyway, she told me that BB does not want me as a customer and I told her that I would be happy to take my business elsewhere.

    She told me that they had changed their tactics from "Forging the receipt" to "Trespassing - not leaving the store even when I were asked to". I told her that all the time the General manager Rod, wanted to keep me there so that the cops would come in, and never he asked me to leave the store. She sympathised with me and told me that she ended up warning the guy from BestBuy.

    So here I am Vindicated, Harassed, Ridiculed. Given up ? Hell no! I guess thats one thing you learn when you are a geek.

    • Wrongful detention? (Score:5, Informative)

      by InterruptDescriptorT (531083) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:29PM (#3403280) Homepage
      At this point, I would call the local friendly legal professional. I bet he or she would be very happy to pursue a wrongful detention civil suit against Best Buy and its manager. Lawyers love this sort of case, especially when it's a little guy clearly in the right versus a big retailer. You get the chance to teach BB a lesson, see the manager get his ass fired, and you could get a nice little chunk of change for your trouble.

      And let us know how it goes. BB deserves the smackdown for this one.

      'I'm tired of waltzing for pancakes.' - Gwen Mezzrow
    • by ryants (310088) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:30PM (#3403293)
      Things I would do if I were you:
      • Have the manager arrested for filing a false police report. See how he likes the cuffs.
      • Sue Best Buy for "damage to your reputation".
    • Spread the word far and wide (and honestly). Nothing will hurt more than the bad press Best Buy will recieve. Also, try taking the matter up to corporate. Chances are they'll be none too happy with what was done (and if they don't care then you've only lost some time and effort).
    • IANAL (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      but, if you are who you say you are, you should talk to a lawyer before talking to anyone else. There's a reason you hear "no comment" in disputes from parties on advice of their lawyer.
    • by jkinney3 (535278) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:48PM (#3403502)
      Welcome to the Tucker Best Buy. Now take your business elsewhere.

      I have had problems with that store as well. That manager, in fact. They must be desparate for ANYONE to work there as a manager to keep that bozo.

      I was also accused of attempting to defraud them when I tried to return som RAM that wouldn't work in an IBM Aptiva. (Picky box, Crucial ram worked fine). He told me they didn't even sell the brand I was returning. I had purchased it less than 30 minutes earlier! When I tried to get him to look in the locked case where the ram is so he could SEE THE SAME BRAND, he ordered me out of the store.

      I am no longer a customer. I will not EVER be customer again. I go out of my way to tell anyone who will listen to my story just how crappy of a store Best Buy, and the Tucker store in particular is.

      I vote for quality business with my money. Best Buy would eventually go out of business if it were not for the hourdes of people willing to tolerate crap for service where they shop.

    • by gosand (234100) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:53PM (#3403556)
      Yeah, I heard about you - harassing the good folks at Best Buy. You, sir, are a troublemaker, and I would never hire you as an analyst because of that. We don't like your kind around here.

      (there, your reputation has now been damaged - feel free to sue Best Buy for false arrest and damaging your reputation)

    • by Sycraft-fu (314770) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:55PM (#3403583)
      As always, this does not consitiute formal legal advice, get a lawyer in your jurisdiction for advice.

      First off, get a lawyer. Once of the nice ambulence chasing kind. If they like the case, and they probably will, they should do it for a split of the settlement. Of course nothing is ever sure in the court system, but juries are generally sympathetic to cases of consumers suing big corperations for being assholes.

      Next, I would talk to your DA about possable criminal charges against the manager. It sounds like he knowling lied to the police to have you arrested, and that's illegal.

      Finally continue to do what you are doing now, which is to spread the word. Bad press hurts the company immensly.
    • Did you say you printed the receipt off the BB site? If so, I wonder if this could be a issue for a federal court - IANAL, blah blah - but if the part of BB that is responsible for the site is in another state, maybe this is something that would be considered to have taken place "in interstate commerce". I once served on a federal grand jury, and the federal prosectors used any link, no matter how tenuous, to haul folks into federal court if the CRIMINAL charges looked like something worthy of federal charges. So you were enticed by something off a out-of-state part of the company(if this is true, and their web site shows a contact address in MN), you try to assert your rights to hold the local representatives of BB to that contract, and you get falsly arrested. While you are shopping for a lawyer, you might want to keep this in mind.
    • Racism? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Otter (3800)
      Well, at least you got some Slashdot karma out of it... ;-)

      Out of curiosity, the linked article seems to think (on the basis of no evidence they mention) that your ethnicity played a role on this. You don't mention any such thing here. Any idea where that insinuation came from?

      Anyway, while I know there are two sides to every story, you seem like a class act and it sounds like you were really treated shabbily. I wouldn't blame you if you sued the pants off Best Buy.

    • by gdyas (240438) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @05:07PM (#3404480) Homepage

      Maybe a little O/T, but everyone please notice that the police in this instance behaved completely properly throughout the situation, to the point of empathizing with this gentleman.

      With the cops, when they fsck up, everyone's on their back. Nobody notices when the system works, and it appears to be working well here.

      As for Best Buy, get a good lawyer who'll work for a split of the rewards for such harrassing behavior, and drain them dry.

      Make sure you get your GeForce4 out of it, too. Make that manager hand it to you himself.

    • by erroneus (253617) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @05:26PM (#3404663) Homepage
      If you don't sue I'm going to get SO PISSED OFF at you it isn't funny.

      You need to sue on behalf of every wronged customer on the planet. You need to sue for triple damages based on the humiliation you suffered. You need to sue for wrongful arrest based on the false charges. You need to sue for illegal detainment. You need to sue for them being arrogant assholes.

      If people want to run a public business that's great. But there are laws the govern the operation of public businesses. Therefore those laws must be followed in order to continue running a public business.

      "Disclaimers" and "EULAs" do NOT supercede the law. Just for emphasis, I will repeat it several times. "Disclaimers" and "EULAs" do NOT supercede the law. "Disclaimers" and "EULAs" do NOT supercede the law. "Disclaimers" and "EULAs" do NOT supercede the law. "Disclaimers" and "EULAs" do NOT supercede the law. "Disclaimers" and "EULAs" do NOT supercede the law. "Disclaimers" and "EULAs" do NOT supercede the law. Only a signed waiver can remove someone from their lawful responsibilities and even that may not be enough.

      So how much should you sue for? $1M minimum. Maybe you won't get it... who knows... maybe it'll be $1M in store credit ;) hahaha... but SUE. The story doesn't end here. This will happen to more people than just you. This has happened to more people than just you. This country is shifting into a company-run nation. Business interests come before those of citizens. Hell, we're not even citizens any more... we're "consumers." If that's not an insult to your dignity as a human, I don't know what is!?

      SUE THOSE BASTARDS. You have to. DO NOT SETTLE out of court. DO NOT SIGN any agreements to "keep quiet" in exchange for money. It doesn't matter if the amount you sue for is more than you could have hoped to earn in two lifetimes. The point is to damage THEM, not to reward yourself. A company the size of Best Buy will not feel $90,000. It wouldn't even make their lawyers blink...let alone any of their accountants. Make it hurt to a level that will send a message to Best Buy and all other abusive retailers out there that each time they pull some crap like this, they run a serious risk not only of bad P.R. but of losing a whole lot of money.

      I'll be happy for you and very jealous when you collect your rewards, but the reward is not what you're suing for -- it's the damages. If they are not damaged by this, then you've lost... we've all lost.

      Okay?

      (Am I being too passionate about this? Nah.)
    • by raresilk (100418) <raresilk@ma[ ]om ['c.c' in gap]> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @06:36PM (#3405367)
      I am a lawyer, and if I were licensed to practice in the state of Georgia I would be sending you an email right now, inviting you to become my client. Since I'm not (California only), I urge you very strongly to consult a local lawyer and pursue whatever rights you may have under Georgia law, with particular attention to the tort of "false arrest." According to your story, what happened to you was wrongful, and quite possibly illegal as well.

  • It isn't that Best Buy refused to honor the advertised price. The problem is that they seem to be picking a choosing who they'd honor the price for.

    the same store that had conceded to give another customer his video card as requested 10 days earlier.

    Honoring it for one individual, but for no one else is A) a bad business practice and B) possibly discriminatory.

    Dinivin
  • Wow! (Score:3, Interesting)

    by PHAEDRU5 (213667) <instascreed@@@gmail...com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:16PM (#3403149) Homepage
    I live just down the road from there, just off Briarcliff Road, on Shallowford.

    I was thinking of getting the ATI Radeon 8500, after today's review. But this is too rich. I'll go there, carrying no ID, to make a cash-only purchase, and let the games begin.
  • Legal citation? (Score:3, Informative)

    by sheldon (2322) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:17PM (#3403156)
    I guess I'm curious what law this is that says a store has to sell something if it's mispriced.



    Wouldn't that vary from one state to the next?



    I was able to find Michigan's Item Pricing Act. [state.mi.us] Which seems somewhat pertinent as the slashdot editors are from Michigan, if I recall correctly.



    The language of this law is really quite clear. It's illegal to purposefully misadvertise a product with the intent to deceive the consumer. It also says that the retailer cannot advertise one price, and then charge another.

    But if the price was not correct on the website, and Best Buy informed the buyers of this and gave them the option to cancel their order. i.e. they didn't go back and change the price as charged to their credit cards... then there really is no lawful violation, is there?

    What we're talking about here is entirely a measure of store goodwill. That is, you've pointed out a price mistake, and the question is whether the store is going to honor it or not. If it had been a brick and mortar store, chances are yes. Why? Because they could immediately go take down the sign which is mistakenly advertising the product.

    But this is a little bit different, because these people didn't stumble upon the price and point it out. Someone stumbled upon it, and then went out and advertised to everyone "Hey! Best Buy has mispriced something on their website... go grab it!"

    Maybe someone else can read that law and see where this would be a clear violation. Or is the law signifigantly different in other states?

  • by linuxpng (314861) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:19PM (#3403179)
    Having an awesome price on some product and having 2 per store. In my area, local retailers won't even match Best Buy prices because they know this trick and know Best Buy doesn't have them in stock. Your best bet is to not make your purchases there.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:25PM (#3403238)
    Sorry about not creating an account, I just want to make this comment and didn't want to take the time to create one. Just to show that I'm not an anonymous coward, my name is Eric Johnson, and I was the guy that got the same Best Buy that arrested Abraham to sell me the card for $129 not 17 days earlier! I have the reciept sitting at home and the card sitting in my computer. The scan of my reciept which he brought into the store with him (in order to convince them to honor the pricematch of his original online order of $129. This copy was never used as the actual pricematch criteria, only as proof that they had done it for me, so why not him) is completely legit and has not been forged in any way. MY question is, why did the people at this best buy choose to handle the situation in the way that they did? They did not have to be dicks about it and arrest the guy, simply because they did not want to take the time to answer his questions in a friendly manner. To see what a real manager should have done, read a post by a gentleman in Illinois that tried to pricematch his online order earlier today:

    "I spoke with a customer service lady, who was really nice, and she went to talk to the manager, Charles. Charles came out and explained to me that his general manager had said they could not price match it because $129.99 is below their cost for the card. He said nothing about not being able to pricematch BB.com. Charles was really nice, and I explained the whole situation, and he said that BB.com not responding to email was really crappy service. He also said he was going to try to contact BB.com management to discuss my situation with them.

    He said to make sure to hold onto my printed out order form, since that should really help me in a class action suit. I don't know why he mentioned that, but he did.

    He also offered to sell me one of the cards at their cost for it, but I politely declined. Much better treatment at this store than the Springfield, Illinois one. All in all, I understood his reasoning, and since he was so nice and helpful, I couldn't get upset with him."

    Now why couldn't Rod have acted in a mature manner such as this instead of calling the police on an innocent man that wanted nothing more than what he originally ordered? Please, if you haven't already, take the time to read the information about the whole Best Buy fiasco from the link in the main article. It will really help clear things up for those of you who have questions about all of the events that have taken place. Thanks!
  • by ShaggusMacHaggis (178339) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:27PM (#3403265) Homepage
    I was one of the people that got in on this "deal". I went to the best buy site the day GF4's went on sale and noticed they had the GF4 TI-4600 for a SPECIAL pre-order price of $129.99. I was like, woah, too good to pass up, so i ordered one. Then later in the day, it no longer said SPECIAL and just said pre-order and the price was $399. This makes me think that this was NOT a price mistake, they knew what they were doing.

    Very shady practices....and what really gets me, is that people HAVE been getting them for $129. How can they give some people the special pre-order price, but not to others?
  • by cowboy junkie (35926) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:35PM (#3403338) Homepage
    I've seen a lot of these pricing mistakes on DVD forums, where folks find them and 'spread the joy' to let other people get in on the deal. Sometimes places honor them, sometimes they don't. I remember buy.com had a real expensive monitor that was mispriced by a few hundred dollars and people were in a state of outrage that Buy wouldn't honor their orders, even though they knew dang well that it was a mistake when they placed their orders.

    Personally, my attitude is that if you try to get a sweet deal that you know might be a mistake, don't bitch if it doesn't pan out.

    That said, what Best Buy did wrong here was to:

    • Deny their mistake (saying the web site receipt was false and that the customer was trying to commit fraud)
    • Inconsistently apply their 'remedy'

    I don't think it's ridiculous that Best Buy refuses to lose $200 on each misprice, but that they go out of their way to make the customers suffer for it is way out of line.

  • by rossz (67331) <ogre@@@geekbiker...net> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:40PM (#3403408) Homepage Journal
    Several months ago I my daughter spent her allowance on a game at best buy. When we got it home I installed the game and found it would not run (crashed on startup). This was on my wife's HP Pavilion (about as generic a consumer computer as you can find). I then tried it on my own computer, a bastard, self-built, multi-booting geek box from hell. Same exact problem, failed on startup.

    We went back to the store to exchange it for a different game. No chance. They will not exchange a game unless the media is damage, and then only for another copy of the same game.

    I spent far too long arguing with the manager. I pointed out that they would lose a regular customer over a $30 game. He would not budge.

    I have not been back to that store since then. So as not to disappoint my daughter, I let her buy another game (from a different store, of course) as it would have been cruel to tell her she lost her allowance.

    Unfortunately, this refusal to exchange software is a growing trend. Eventually, I will be forced to pirate all software for testing before I make an actual purchase.
  • Granholm in Michigan (Score:3, Interesting)

    by the_2nd_coming (444906) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:41PM (#3403431) Homepage
    will StaPle their balls to the wall. she has been the biggest advocate for price laws in Michigan since she took office 4 years ago.

    if you are getting screwed and you call her office, in a week that store will have an investigation going on its butt and a lot of the time they get taken to court.
  • Legal Prescedent? (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dyslexic (112) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:58PM (#3403634) Homepage
    A few years back, buy.com advertised a 19" monitor for sale at a price of $169 (list at the time was in the mid $400s). I saw the ad and ordered a monitor, thinking it was a great deal.

    Well, word aparrently got out and buy.com got flooded with orders for the monitor. Buy.com sent out a couple e-mails explaining the typo. They decided the only fair way to award their stock of monitors, was by taking a random pick of all purchasers. I did not end up with a monitor. Buy.com apologised profusely, and for the most part was very responsible in the matter. It was not like the bait and switch that BBY is known to do in the past (don't think for a second that this is the first time they've tried to pull this trick).

    I was not really upset over the matter. I was not really looking for a monitor at the time, but the big size and low price appealed to me. Granted, I would not probably order from buy.com ever again, but I was not furious. It's not as if I was charged for a product I did not recieve.

    Fast foreward a year and a half. I recieved a letter from a law firm that was handling a class action lawsuit against buy.com in the monitor mishap. The judge in the case found that buy.com was responsible for their typo and awarded the suit a large settlement. Well, after legal feeds were subtracted, each customer in the suit gained somewhere around $300. IANAL, but wouldn't this set some kind of legal presecent to force Best Buy to honor their online price, typo or not?
  • by DeadBugs (546475) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:12PM (#3403776) Homepage
    It's kind of funny that after having trouble with this in the past, Buy.com [buy.com] has a "Price Mistake Of The Day" special on their front page everyday.
  • by FleshWound (320838) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:16PM (#3403853)
    Rather than reply to each individual post where someone has made a grave error because they're not aware of the facts, I'm putting them in one post for easy reference:

    Best Buy advertised the VisionTek Xtasy GeForce4 Ti4600 for preorder at the price of $129.99 (plus applicable sales tax) on their website (bestbuy.com) on Wednesday, February 6, 2002.

    Over 2,000 customers placed orders for the card at this special price.

    These customers were greeted with confirmation web pages, confirmation e-mail messages, issued order numbers, and some even received backorder confirmation e-mail messages (some even received multiple backorder confirmations).

    Within hours, Best Buy pulled the offer, and "corrected" what they later called a "pricing error."

    Cancellation e-mails were sent out, and cited a "systems error" for the mistake.

    Best Buy issued a press released (only published at news.com) which blamed "human error" for the mistake.

    Customers who called Best Buy to inquire about the order cancellation were told that VisionTek would not allow Best Buy to sell the cards at the originally agreed-upon price (Best Buy was falsely accusing VisionTek of illegal price-fixing tactics).

    Best Buy does have a disclaimer on their web site in the form of their Terms of Service Agreement.

    At no point during the account-creation or order-placing processes are customers required to read or actively agree to these terms (see Specht vs. Netscape; also see the FTC's Advertising and Marketing on the Internet: Rules of the Road [ftc.gov]).

    Best Buy has actually changed their Terms of Service since this entire fiasco began.

    Best Buy's Terms of Service do not supercede federal, state, and local consumer protection laws, which (in many cases) specifically outlaw this type of activity.

    Best Buy's Terms of Service exist for the sole purpose of tricking customers into surrendering their consumer rights. The way consumer law is written, customers must exercise their rights; if they surrender them, the company in question is not required to adhere to these laws.

    "E-tailers" are subject to the same rules, regulations, and laws that apply to their brick-and-mortar cousins. (See the FTC's Dot Com Disclosures [ftc.gov])

    Best Buy has stated that absolutely no one will be receiving the card at the previously agreed-upon price, yet well over 140 customers have already done so.

    Best Buy is ignoring its customers at this point. E-mails go unanswered, and phone calls are greeted with a promise to escalate the call, but the customer must wait for someone to contact them; this, of course, never happens.

    At least one person has already taken this to Small Claims Court. He had his first hearing a couple of weeks ago, but Best Buy requested a continuance, which was granted.

    A class action lawsuit is still an option, and one that may be used.

    There are more facts that are pertinent, but these are the most commonly misunderstood or ignored pieces of information.

    • One thing I didn't see mentioned -- I ordered the card and Best Buy did, in fact cancel. A week later, I got a $20 gift certificate to the site. I never expected to get the card for that price anyway (it was obviously an error), so I was happy to get the Robotech DVD box set for $15 instead of $35.
  • by Amazing Quantum Man (458715) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:32PM (#3404098) Homepage
    In the "Worse than Fry's" contest.

    Combine this with their backing of access controlled "silver disks with music" [slashdot.org] (to use Phillip's term), and we have a new Evil Retailer(tm).
  • by Quixote (154172) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:40PM (#3404214) Homepage Journal
    Many of the people here seem to be missing one crucial point: once the money changes hands, BestBuy has to honor the price! They advertised a special "pre-order" deal. People who paid for this (and whose payment BestBuy accepted) have a right to get the card at that price. Once the money changes hands, the "contract" is in place.

    People who never paid for this "special" pre-order don't have the same rights; they can't force BestBuy to honor the mistake (legally speaking).

  • by happyclam (564118) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @05:01PM (#3404414)

    Because Best Buy owns Musicland, they support the CBDTPA.

    Another reason to avoid shopping there.

  • by Mike the Mac Geek (182790) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @07:56PM (#3405737) Journal
    They put a 200$ motherboard up for 21 bucks on monday.

    Dual P3 with built in RAID.

    I jumped on it, and got one. After I ordered, the price was put back up to 229.00. Luckily, the good people at Insight held up their end of it, and shipped the board. These people will be getting a LOT more business from me. This is the kind of customer service that really shows they value me, even when I get the better of them. Goodbye Best Buy, Hello Insight!
  • My DDR story with BB (Score:4, Interesting)

    by (H)elix1 (231155) <slashdot.helix@nOSPaM.gmail.com> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @09:04PM (#3405952) Homepage Journal
    My DDR Ram story

    Here is my story. I was putting off getting a couple sticks of DDR RAM until after the MPX motherboards were ready to ship. Prices started to skyrocket - thinking they would come down again I waited another week. That next week, Best Buy ran an add for 256 stick of crucial DDR RAM for $25 (after $10 rebate on one) when the market was closer to $50. I went to the store and sure enough, it was stripped clean. On-line, however, it showed in stock so I picked up some for in-store pickup.

    Order Date: Dec 10, 2001
    In-store Pick-up Items:
    Crucial Technologies 256MB PC2 --- 2 $34.99 $69.

    It looked good. No problems. The store was near by, so I stopped in and checked. We should have another shipment any day now.... Then the email...

    Date: Thu, 20 Dec 2001
    From: onlinestore@bestbuy.com
    To: xxx
    Subject: BestBuy.com Order Cancellation Notice

    Dear (sucker-my-name-here),

    Thank you for shopping at BestBuy.com.

    One or more of the items that you've recently ordered have cancelled. Please take a moment
    to contact our Customer Care representatives by replying to this e-mail or by calling us
    toll-free at 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289) for further assistance.

    I called the customer service people, and they said that if the item was offered again, they would honor the price. Early January, I saw the RAM was listed on the website again. I called the CS department before I ordered and asked for the details. They said if the item was exactly the same skew number, they would honor the price and ship it to me free this time. Call back with the order number. I ordered, called with the info, and got the item....

    Order Date: Jan 10, 2002
    Shipped Items:
    Crucial Technology 256MB PC210 --- 2 $89.99 $179.98 Shipped on Jan 11,
    2002

    As one may guess, getting the credit was less than easy. Turns out after I took shipment they tell me - ah, well the credit is not automatic. OK... They will forward it to another department for review.. Gha! Well, after many phone calls and showing up in person (something about working a few blocks away may help) they relented and gave me the full credit promised. The email was not clear, but eventually the credits came.

    Date: Fri, 18 Jan 2002
    From: BestBuy.com Customer Care
    Subject: Shipping Credit Applied

    Greetings from BestBuy.Com,

    This email is regarding the recent order you placed on www.BestBuy.com for
    In-Store Pick-up. Because our store did not have the product(s) you ordered
    in-stock, we are providing you with free shipping to your home.

    Your credit card statement will show that you were charged the price of the
    product(s) plus applicable taxes and shipping costs. The billing statement
    will also show a credit to your account that reflects the cost of shipping
    and handling. There may also be a credit for any applicable tax difference
    and difference in the price of the product(s). Your credit card bank will
    receive notice of this credit within the next 24-48 hours, however, it may
    take up to 2-3 billing cycles for the credit to appear on your billing
    statement. If you have questions regarding this credit please contact your
    credit card bank for more information.

    We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and we hope that you
    will continue to shop www.BestBuy.com for all of your future entertainment
    needs.

    It gets worse.... One of my friends ordered for normal delivery. They decided not to give her the credit, but were gracious enough to take the unopened package back and refund all the cost involved. The lameness filter here sucks - but the twists and turns it took to do both were insane.
  • by wowbagger (69688) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @09:26AM (#3408485) Homepage Journal
    Were I the CEO of (Circuit City|Frys|Wal-Mart), I'd be pulling in my marketing director and purchasing director, and saying:

    Purchasing - order in 2000 of these cards. I don't care how much they cost - get them.

    Marketing - Media blitz. The slogan is "When they screw up, they arrest you. When we screw up, we make it right." Offer one of these video cards for $129.99 to anyone who can prove they ordered one from Best Buy, the order was accepted, and then canceled.

    Get over to the guy who was arrested - give him a card. Ask him if he would be willing to appear in our ads.

    They screwed up - let's make it REALLY hurt.

    BY LUNCHTIME, PEOPLE. MOVE!



    Should anyone working for one of these companies read this, please forward to the appropriate parties.

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