Home of the Reek Squad

And some weasels, apparently:

Have you ever found a deal at Best Buy’s website only to travel to the store and find that the “sale” is over? Did the Best Buy employee show you “proof” on their “website”? It now seems that there are really TWO websites, and they’re identical except for the prices. Here’s the deal:

  • You walk into a Best Buy to purchase a sale item you saw on their site.
  • The employee tells you that the item is no longer on sale, and shows you what looks to be Best Buy’s website, but it’s really a secret intranet that Best Buy’s corporate office denies exists. The price on the website shows that the sale is over.
  • You cry and leave, then at home you see that the sale isn’t over at all. What happened?

This happened:

In the wake of an investigation launched by the Connecticut Attorney General’s office, Best Buy has finally admitted that the now-infamous “secret intranet” (used to mislead in-store customers about BestBuy’s online prices) exists. The website looks identical to BestBuy.com … except for the prices.

The secret website was first revealed by George Gombossy of the Hartford Courant (Way to go, George!). While investigating a tip from a reader, George was shown the internal website. It was identical to BestBuy.com, but showed a higher price for the item he was interested in. George was misled by Best Buy employees to believe it was the “real” BestBuy.com. Eventually he found some Best Buy employees who admitted to the site’s existence and even showed him how it worked.

I asked a Circuit City staffer about this sort of thing, and was told that they don’t have a setup like that, and what’s more, sometimes their Web site has lower prices than the stores and “it really pisses off the managers.”





3 comments

  1. McGehee »

    2 March 2007 · 2:22 pm

    When we find a price on the Circuit City website that we like, and where in-store pickup is available, we place the order online.

    I don’t know how it would have gone at Best Buy; I don’t think we’ve ever had a “the sale is over” response there, and if we did I’m betting we bought it online through some other store.

  2. McGehee »

    2 March 2007 · 2:24 pm

    Furthermore, though I don’t recall where, I do distinctly remember a store employee at some big box technology outfit remarking matter-of-factly that the pages shown in-store are on an intranet and not available on the web.

  3. Winston »

    3 March 2007 · 6:46 am

    That sucketh bigtime! Makes one wonder what other shady practices they all use.

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