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The Almighty Buck

Worst Buy 1037

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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  • Well . . (Score:2, Interesting)

    by G00F ( 241765 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:06PM (#3403055) Homepage
    It is about $200+ difference, not to mention, if they say it is 129, then that is what they sell it as. No false advertising you know.

    Best buy has done stuff like this before, where they accidently show on the website a monorot for like 150$, and they fix the error when it comes to billing the customers credit card.

    So now, it seams both sides are being a little more aggressive. And yes, I would be one of them had I seen that card going for that cheap.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Re:Wow (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Col. Klink (retired) ( 11632 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:12PM (#3403106)
    I have seen several customers arrested before, but not for asking for what is reightfully [sic] thiers [sic]!

    They've had customers arrested for comparison shopping [].

  • by Dick Click ( 166230 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:12PM (#3403109)
    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.
  • by Phoenix ( 2762 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:14PM (#3403128)
    If it were a typo, I'd have to agree with you. But quoting a "$200 savings" along with the listed price, which just happens to match the average pricewatch price on that card, isn't a typo.

    Besides, there is one other thing to consider here...people have PAID for the card at that price. Even if it were a honest typo, Best Buy (or any other company) is obliged to give the option to either use the money towards the proper purchase price, give a refund or give store credit. They only have rights to your money in exchange for goods or services rendered.

    After all how would you feel if you paid your hard earned money for something that you aren't getting and when you asked for your money, you were told to "sod off"? I don't know about you, but I'd be rather miffed
  • by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) 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.

  • 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.
  • Worst Buy ^2 (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Gary ( 9413 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:21PM (#3403204)
    I do anything I can to avoid shopping at Worst Buy.

    I purchased a video card from them one time, took it home and it turned out that the card I bought was not the card contained in the box. I took it back because obviously some loser had purchased a new card, put his old one back in the box and returned it for full store credit or refund. So I point this out to the Sales droid before I even place the box on the return counter. Next thing I know store security is asking me a half dozen questions. Hello? I told you guys when I brought it in the box didn't contain the card it was supposed to. You think I'd try to rip you off by first telling you I'm trying to rip you off? I wanted to tell them I wasn't as stupid as their clerks who accepted the bogus return in the first place.

    An hour later, after copying my drivers license (I assume I'm on the "Best Buy most wanted" now) they agreed to give me store credit. Guess what? They had one of the cards I wanted left. I opened the box right in front of the guy and it was also not the right card! After arguing for another half hour about wanting a refund because if I wanted to wait for a card I'd order it for much cheaper off the web they finally relented.

    I don't know who's worse, the loser who pulled the switch or Worst Buy for not checking model #'s on returned mechandise before they "reshrink wrap" it and put it back on the shelves.

    So my typical mode is to go in to Best Buy (it's much closer to me than any other store) find an item I want and then later go actually buy it off the web or from Circuit City, CompUSA, or a local retailer. They're relegated to a walk-in catalog in my book.

    In my opinon it's not worth doing business with Best Buy.
  • by JThaddeus ( 531998 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:24PM (#3403224)
    I've been boycotting Best Buy for over a year now. I my case, my wife and I bought a over-the-range microwave oven and hood with a 3 year in-home warranty (afterall, you don't want to have to uninstall it to get it fixed). When it broke, they refused to honor the in-home warranty. When we took it to the store, they kept it one week before returning it saying that they didn't fix them, a 3d party did. Then the closest 3d party they could find was in the next town over, 15 miles from out home. He also wouldn't come to the house and kept the microwave over a week. Since then I have heard numerous stories from locals with similar beefs over computers and other appliances. These days, I go to Circut City or Sears.
  • 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 Charles was really nice, and I explained the whole situation, and he said that not responding to email was really crappy service. He also said he was going to try to contact 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 FatRatBastard ( 7583 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:33PM (#3403315) Homepage
    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).
  • Re:Disclaimer? (Score:2, Interesting)

    by GungaDan ( 195739 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:33PM (#3403320) Homepage
    From the Best Buy disclaimer: "Notification will be sent to the e-mail and/or billing address provided should such change occur."

    Anybody know if they sent notification to these people as stated (by e-mail or postal mail)? I would think that a nail in the disclaimer's coffin if they didn't.

  • by systemaster ( 174904 ) <.moc.liamtoh. .ta. .tsam_sys.> 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 rossz ( 67331 ) <> 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.
  • Re:Sigh. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by arkanes ( 521690 ) <> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:43PM (#3403461) Homepage
    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:Kodak and others (Score:3, Interesting)

    by dorsey ( 119963 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @03:52PM (#3403554)

    A friend of mine came across a typo on the BestBuy website once. They were listing 5-port ethernet switches for $0.01. He ordered 10 of them, as did a coworker of his. Neither actually expected to get the switches, but a week later, my friend got his switches, and his credit card was only charged a dime!

  • Re:Kodak and others (Score:4, Interesting)

    by ncc74656 ( 45571 ) <> on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:02PM (#3403681) Homepage Journal
    A friend of mine came across a typo on the BestBuy website once. They were listing 5-port ethernet switches for $0.01. He ordered 10 of them, as did a coworker of his.

    I used to work at Best'd occasionally see stuff tagged in the store at a penny because it had been on clearance for so long that they just wanted to get rid of the product. I have some cell-phone battery packs somewhere at home that I bought that way for use in projects (nothing like getting 40 NiMH cells for 8 :-) ).

    It was a fairly cool company back in '94 (when I started there), but it started losing sometime in '97 or '98. I quit in mid-'99. After a "customer-no-service" incident about a year and a half ago, I haven't been back since. Spend your "toy budget" at Circuit City or PC Club instead...that's what I've done.

  • by cOdEgUru ( 181536 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:03PM (#3403692) Homepage Journal

    Could you send me her contact info. I would love to talk to a good lawyer and I havent decided on which one yet.


  • Re:Wow (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Oliver Wendell Jones ( 158103 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:11PM (#3403766)
    Wow, that's a scary story!

    I worked for BestBuy for about 60 days many years ago, and was told on a Saturday evening to be sure to bring a white shirt to work on Sunday.

    Sunday morning I was given a micro-cassette recorder and was told to change into the white shirt and head off to a local competitor (H.H. Gregg's) to record all the prices on equipment that we sold at BestBuy as well.

    Then when I got back, I had to fill out a form of all the items I had seen, compare our prices to their prices, and if necessary print up new signs with prices that matched our competitor.

    Kind of sad that they would arrest someone for doing something that they pay their employees to do!
  • 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, [] has a "Price Mistake Of The Day" special on their front page everyday.
  • I WORK there (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @04:12PM (#3403782)
    I started at the best buy store just the other week , and as the things I have to say are not "in line" with the company , I prefer to remain anon.
    Yes , I beleve the whole tyhing as it was played out . I beleve the cust. has a wrongfull incarceration and slande/liable sute that is eceptionaly strong.
    The company has come odwn from on high to break Rob's back about "shrink" the retail term for loss and fraud. is that an excuse for hauling off a cistomer in chains ? No , and nothing is. it's apauling as sickening that things like this happen , butr there money is not the geek who will come back time and agian , nor is it the person who knows the law , its the soccer mom who has more time than money .
    As salesmen we are told to push the web sight , make shure the warrany is sold , and let someone know if it's not . Is that right ? I dont know.
    What I do know is that Rob is not the only manager in the store , and if you wanted to push , the big boss (Sally of Susan I think) Can make recomendations about him to the corprat office. I also kow if i were treeted this way , i wold not be nearly as happy about it as this person seems to be.
    I am there and will continue to work there for one simple reason : it's the job i can get. I hope , truly and sincerly that if you do come in I'm he person who helps you , cause I don't knw evrything , i know a hell of alot more than the average tech does there
  • by Eric Green ( 627 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @05:28PM (#3404696) Homepage
    Okay, since you never worked for a business, and have no idea how telephone sales and support works, here's how it works:

    When you call, say, Best's customer service number, you're talking to employees of Best Buy, right?

    *WRONG*!!! You're calling employees of a contracted customer service provider. These people are sitting in a tiny cubicle in a call center in Phoenix, Arizona or Gary, Indiana and provide sales and customer service for several different companies. They are provided with scripts and access to the advertising copy and price database for each company they're supporting. If you ask them a question about a price on the advertising copy, guess what they do -- they read it right off the web site right back at you! At least, until somebody notices that hey, we're getting a lot of inquiries about this product, it's time to push this inquiry upstream to actual Best Buy employees.

    Now, of course this is shitty customer service. The fact that it is standard industry practice doesn't make it any less shitty. Frankly, I do not buy from Best Buy, and in fact have a one-sentence statement on my web site saying, "Shopping at Worst Buy is the worst thing you can do". But the point is that an employee of a 3rd party contract firm reading mistaken advertising copy back to you does not make the mistaken advertising copy any less mistaken.

    And yes, if I'm going by the nearby Krispy Kreme and see them advertising a dozen donuts for 12 cents, I'll go in and ask them about it. If they sell me the donuts for 12 cents, great. If they say, "Whoops! Bad sign!" and hurriedly rush out and change it to say "$1.20", I'd happily pay $1.20 for a dozen Krispy Kremes (of course, the real price is more like $6 for a dozen of those sinful but utterly delicious things, but that's another story :-( ).


  • Best Buy Blows. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by raygundan ( 16760 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @05:43PM (#3404818) Homepage
    I have been screwed by these folks, but never as badly as this fellow. But just to add to the friendly Best-Buy bashing going on, here's the short version of my worst Best Buy experience:

    1. Purchased open-box Viewsonic PF700 at a $150 savings. Lovely monitor, and there was a big sticker on the box that says Best Buy will uphold the manufacturer's warranty since the box was open.

    2. 3 months later, monitor fails. Looks really awful-- blurry, hand-sized dark splotches, distortion.

    3. Take monitor to Best Buy for warranty service/replacement-- am asked if I degaussed the monitor. I say "yes, several times" but am ignored. Monitor is degaussed in my presence once with degauss button (no help) and once with external degaussing tool. (also no help-- big surprise)

    4. Best Buy tells me they don't service these monitors, and to go pick out a replacement.

    5. I go to monitor section, but apparently BB does not carry this monitor anymore. In fact, they don't carry ANY MONITORS at this time that meet the PF790's dot pitch/resolution/refresh rate specs. NONE.

    6. I ask for a refund.

    7. Denied. Store credit only.

    8. I email corporate and ask for a refund.

    9. Denied.

    10. Repeat steps 8 and 9 several times.

    11. Took home KDS monitor that is best equivalent. Now I'm out the price of the monitor and have an inferior product thanks to the wonderful customer service of best buy.

    At the time, I was in college and could not afford a lawsuit. I do not shop their anymore-- but I do hope that another person screwed by their awful service sues them and wins.
  • Re:Sickening (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Lemmy Caution ( 8378 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @05:55PM (#3404954) Homepage
    I wasn't around when my employer merged with another company and then liquidated their assets, but I have no difficulties saying "we" did it. There's an institutional "we" by which institutions and organizations can accumulate liabilities and responsibility even though all the individuals involved have changed over.
  • Re:Email response (Score:2, Interesting)

    by mavjop ( 575976 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @06:11PM (#3405115)
    Don't hold your breath.

    I ordered the Star Trek movies box set from Best Buy at a low-ish (but not unbelievable) price, absolutely in good faith. As the release date approached, all seemed fine. When it passed, the thing changed to "Backorder". I kept checking back to see if the status had changed, and then one day they sent me an e-mail saying _they_ had decided to cancel my order because it had been on backorder too long (hey, now! I was prepared to wait! They shouldn't be cancelling my order because it was taking too long). I checked their web site the same day, and they'd increased the price significantly.

    I had no option to reinstate my order at the same price and wait again (I even called and requested this). What was particularly fishy was the fact that the "we've cancelled your backordered item" mail went out on or around the same day that they jacked up the price.

  • by raresilk ( 100418 ) <> 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.

  • My DDR story with BB (Score:4, Interesting)

    by (H)elix1 ( 231155 ) <> 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
    To: xxx
    Subject: Order Cancellation Notice

    Dear (sucker-my-name-here),

    Thank you for shopping at

    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,

    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: Customer Care
    Subject: Shipping Credit Applied

    Greetings from BestBuy.Com,

    This email is regarding the recent order you placed on 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 for all of your future entertainment

    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 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.
  • by clontzman ( 325677 ) on Wednesday April 24, 2002 @11:09PM (#3406703) Homepage
    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 FleshWound ( 320838 ) on Thursday April 25, 2002 @04:56AM (#3407788)
    Consumer price protection laws only deal with intentional false advertisement of product. They exempt the retailer if the ad was simply a mistake...
    Those are the laws against false advertising.

    There are laws in most places (I believe they even exist at the federal level, and since for everyone except residents of MN, this would be a federal issue, due to interstate commerce) that force retailers to honor prices even if they're the product of an honest mistake.
    I'm afraid you are distorting the facts.
    No, not at all.
  • 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.


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

"Yeah, but you're taking the universe out of context."