NEWARK (CN) – Best Buy cheats customers with a secret “anti-price matching policy” after luring them in with a “price match guarantee,” and teaches its employees how to do it, according to a federal class action. The class claims Best Buy teaches its workers “techniques for erecting strategic barriers and denying price match requests.”
Best Buy advertises its “price match guarantee” for its more than 1,800 stores and for merchandise bought through its Web site, BestBuy.com. Its 2005 “price match guarantee” stated: “We’ll refund the price difference, plus an additional 10% of that difference – up to 30 days after your purchase … simply bring in proof of a local retail competitor’s price on the same available brand and model, and we’ll do the rest.”
When Best Buy realized that the policy hurt profits, corporate headquarters implemented a secret “anti-price match policy,” according to the complaint. It taught its employees “techniques for erecting strategic barriers and denying price match requests” at its New York district facility and training store, gave employees bonuses for denying price match requests, and soon was denying “more than 100 price match request per store per week,” the complaint states.
Best Buy allegedly trained workers to deny “customers’ proper price match requests” by using computer kiosks at the stores. Computers at the kiosks have a tab marked BestBuy.com.
Customers who think they are searching for a product on the Best Buy Web site, are sent to an “electronic page configured to look exactly like BestBuy.com” that contains higher prices, the complaint states. The “price match” therefore is phony and employee appears to be backing up Best Buy’s promise, according to the complaint.
The deceptive tactic has brought a lawsuit from Connecticut’s attorney general, the class claims. It seeks punitive damages and is represented by Gary Graifman of Chestnut Ridge, N.Y.