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It seems as though Best Buy is not being honest with its customers. As is in most electronic stores, there are kiosks that are said to be connected to the retailers website however, Best Buy was sued in May by the Connecticut attorney general’s office for using a falsely created in-store replica of the actual BestBuy.com to take advantage of customers by having them pay a higher price than the actual Best Buy website.

When you usually walk into an electronic retail store, you may find a price in store that is different from what you had seen on their website. In this case, if you were at Best Buy, you may not be able to use the kiosk computer to find that price, but a price higher than what you expected to pay.

An article in the LA Times states the experience of one shopper:

Last week, Simi Valley resident Leigh Murphy, 53, went online in search of a new DVD player. He finally settled on a Toshiba model that he found on Bestbuy.com, marked down from $79.99 to $71.99.

He decided to stop by the store and buy it there instead.

“I just assumed the same price would be available,” Murphy said. “That’s why I didn’t order it online.”

He found the DVD player at the store without difficulty, but it was selling for the full $79.99 price. Murphy asked a salesman about the discrepancy. He said he’d found it online for less.

The salesman guided Murphy to one of Best Buy’s in-store kiosks, which displayed a page virtually identical to the website Murphy had seen at home. He called up the Toshiba device and, lo and behold, no more markdown. It was going for the full list price.

Murphy, an engineer, wasn’t sure what to make of this. So he returned home and went back online. Once again he visited Bestbuy.com, and once again the DVD player came up at the reduced price of $71.99.

So Murphy purchased the player online and then returned to the store to pick it up. But the experience left him wondering.

“It seems like they have one website online and a fake website that’s available only in the store,” Murphy said.

The in-store kiosks make customers believe that the price they saw online is no longer available. Best Buy’s spokeswoman, Sue Busch, says that “Individual store prices may vary from market to market” and that “Bestbuy.com is the national price.”

I have experienced this same issue as I noticed that the store was connected to a website other than “www.bestbuy.com” however the website looks identical to what a consumer would see on their personal computer. When David Lazarus of the LA Times asked a Best Buy salesman about this issue, the salesman was in the dark, as most customers are.

“Every day we get at least one person asking why he can’t find a price he saw online,” the salesman replied.

I said I was looking for a DVD player I’d seen online that was selling for $71.99. I said it wasn’t on the kiosk site.

“Here,” the salesman said, “let me show you a secret.”

He switched to a different screen, typed in his employee I.D. number, and the real Bestbuy.com came up. “Try now,” the salesman said.

I asked why the real website wasn’t available to everyone.

He shrugged. “I wish I knew.”

Hopefully Best Buy will not only correct this issue but be punished for indulging in unlawful practices by deceiving customers into paying more than they should have. Although during my experience, the sales person did take my word on the price difference, that may not always be the case on bigger ticket items such as TV’s or appliances.

Source: LA Times