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Worst Buy

michael posted more than 12 years ago | from the how-not-to-handle-customer-complaints dept.

The Almighty Buck 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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The excite (-1)

K0R$ h4x0r ru1z (533828) | more than 12 years ago | (#3402993)

We don't know how to act.
Just how to be entertained.

totally free! (-1)

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enjoy, ladies!

Kodak and others (4, Insightful)

56ker (566853) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403007)

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!

Re:Kodak and others (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403104)

I Remember reading about this in 'Maximum PC' 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...

Disclaimer? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#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? (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#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? (5, Insightful)

macrom (537566) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403119)

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? (3, Insightful)

ADRA (37398) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403166)

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? -- yeah, but.... (3, Informative)

GreyPoopon (411036) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403147)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403059)

Even so, that's no excuse for the whole "arresting" fiasco.

Re:Disclaimer? (5, Interesting)

jmauro (32523) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Re:Disclaimer? (2)

MaxwellStreet (148915) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403110)

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? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403123)

actualy its exactly as if they took the money and dint give it back.
from my understanding.. they have NOT refunded the credit cards that have been charged.

Re:Disclaimer? (2, Insightful)

Sokie (60732) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403138)

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

Cowboys and Indians (3, Funny)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403013)

"The Indian was arrested and..."

The police report seems to have an old fashioned Western approach to law and order.

Re:Cowboys and Indians (3, Insightful)

Sunkist (468741) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403064)

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.

Re:Cowboys and Indians (5, Insightful)

dattaway (3088) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403131)

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. (4, Insightful)

juuri (7678) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403015)

Hill informed police that Abraham Cherian, an Indian American

... and what exactly does that last part matter for?

Re:Sigh. (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403023)

Because he can sell you kick ass fireworks and cheap cigarettes.

Sickening (2, Funny)

sc_demandred (309821) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403048)

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.

Re:Sickening (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403155)

"we", "them"/"their"?

yeah. Get over it, it was 500 years ago.

S

Re:Sickening (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403157)

That's Native Americans, not Indian Americans, you dumb fuck. Can't you read?

Re:Sickening (2)

Peyna (14792) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403167)

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.

Re:Sigh. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403066)

"trying to rip off the store, the same store that had conceded to give another customer his video card as requested 10 days earlier"

To show the discriminatory practices. Dumbass.

While we're on the subject... (-1)

egg troll (515396) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403087)

Was this guy an American Indian or and Indian American? Egg Troll wants to know and suspects the later. In which case why isn't he making me curry right now....Mmm...sweet...delicious...curry.

Re:Sigh. (3, Informative)

KingKire64 (321470) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403096)

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. (-1)

L0rdkariya (562469) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403165)

I metamoderate... and I mark every troll and offtopic UNFAIR

Just so you know... you're an idiot.

Re:Sigh. (1, Offtopic)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403146)

michael informed Slashdot that Cutriss, insert a pointless racial segue here, was trying to submit a story, the same story that ^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H ^H^H^H^H

Re:Sigh. (1)

chadm1967 (144897) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403162)

I agree! Why does it matter that he's an Indian American?

oh shit! (3, Funny)

paradesign (561561) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403017)

now best buy will be dual /.ed. both their site and their stores!

Nothing better to do? (0, Flamebait)

rizzmanix (252920) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403018)

Anyone that spends this much time and effort trying to get away with buying something for what was a pricing mistake is really troubled.

Well . . (2, Interesting)

G00F (241765) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403055)

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:Nothing better to do? (4, Interesting)

Phoenix (2762) | more than 12 years ago | (#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

Wow (1)

mnemon1c (51802) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403022)

I worked for Best Buy for 5 and a half years. I have never heard of anything like this before. Best Buy should just suck it up and honor the price. It is their mistake. I have seen several customers arrested before, but not for asking for what is reightfully thiers!

Re:Wow (5, Interesting)

Col. Klink (retired) (11632) | more than 12 years ago | (#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 [google.com] .

Those bastards! (-1)

Angela Lansbury (568190) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403024)

I've been in a bomb shelter for the past ten years and I have no idea what the hell this article is talking about but I'm completely preprared to start a fucking riot! I mean it! necropheliactic beastiality How in the hell this could happen in this day and age is a freakin' mystery to me! Go to your local Best Buy and burn the fucker to the ground! Teach them a lesson!

Re:Those bastards! (-1)

Yr0 (224662) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403080)

angela, your TV show was the greatest, will you be back on tv soon?
any plans in the pipeline?
fancy a date?
fancy a prune?

Re:Those bastards! (-1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403122)

Hello Angela,

Have you recovered from the incident in Disneyland? I hope your ass has stopped bleeding. You sure sound like you're full of new spunk!

Interesting... (2)

GearheadX (414240) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403026)

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.

Re:Interesting... (1)

MichaelDelving (546586) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403083)

I stopped shopping at Best Buy exactly for this reason. On two separate occasions, they claimed an error in the advertisement. On several others, they had less than a handful of the advertised items in stock. Guess what, they had all been sold by the time I arrived at the store. This seems to be STANDARD practice for Best Buy in my city.

Future Shop (2, Insightful)

dunkstr (513276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403028)

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.

Old news (1, Informative)

HishamMuhammad (553916) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403029)

More details on K5 [kuro5hin.org] .

Take them to court? (1)

PhilJackson (540641) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403030)

I always thought even if a shop advertisises a product on a shelf at a certain price they don't have to sell it at that. I remember once buying a NES game from Dixons and they put the wrong price on it, I was told they didn't need to honour it (even though they did.) How does it all work?

Price is an invitation to treat... (2, Informative)

alwayslurking (555708) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403092)

...which means the store is not bound to honour it. There's no contract, implicit or otherwise until you take it to the till and make them an offer. They can refuse that offer even if the price is correct (not very good business sense though). Most places honour the first incorrect price but change the stickers asap.

IWAAL (I was almost a lawyer) but only in the UK, so the US common law may have diverged.

rather strange (1)

keymygrip (210414) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403039)

All of my dealings with Best Buy have been pretty good. I even got a deal on a video game that was not in stock when the sale was going on. I just came back and told them that I tried to get it and they did not have it and I got the reduced price.

Now I would like to sue them on their slow mismanaged checkout lines, but I don't think that is violating any laws... yet.

Steve's [H]ard work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403040)

Steve's been working on this for some time now, and we all appreciate his efforts on the task at hand. We need to get more laws on the books for this kind of thing so the consumer has a leg to stand on in the future.
-NrF

My legal-sense is tingling! (1)

cliffy2000 (185461) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403042)

Alright. I see two lawsuits here:
#1) Class-action lawsuit against Best Buy for fraud and misleading the consumer. Compensatory damages for monies lost. Sounds fair.
#2) False imprisonment! There seems to be grounds for a suit here. And there's of course, the whole racial bias thing going on. Which is 'orrible as is. I see damages for emotional distress. It'd be quickly settled with the right firm... maybe in the range of 200... considering its high profile.

JEWS (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403046)

So your a JEW??

Re:JEWS (1)

Jacer (574383) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403121)

you're, it's a contraction for you are, your is poessive example: you're an idiot

Are you sure? (1)

Bob Zer Fish (568540) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403052)

In the UK, at least, there are little pieces of text which say 'E&OE.', which means that even if the advert is wrong, they don't have to sell it at that price. As soon as you agree a price, then it is (afaik) a legally binding contract. For this reason, if they advertise something at a price, they don't necessarly have to honour the price, although most bigger companies will. I was wondering about what would happen if they took the money from your bank account, and then told you that the product was now unavailable for resale. Then, they gave the money back (i.e. refund).I would have thought that this was breach of contract, and hence you could take legal action. However, is legal action really worth it? Legal expenses alone will probably out-weigh the money you might gain. I would have thought that the copany could refuse to sell the products though. (esp. in UK). I'm not confident with US law though. Ny experts? (I'm sure most US magazines will tell you your rights)

IANAL yada yada... (1)

GutBomb (541585) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403053)

Best Buy Did have a disclaimer. Also I am sure the message boards at anandtech have kept the messages from when this first happened. There were a deluge of "lets go for it, and when they don't honor the price, sue thier pants off"

when people go in with that intent, it will not stand up in court.

Now is a good time to boycott Best Buy... (0, Flamebait)

Maddog_Delphi97 (173780) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403054)

It seems that since Best Buy is essentially a racist corporation bent on squeezing profits using unethical bait-and-switch tactics, we must respond by boycotting Best Buy.

I also remember somewhere Microsoft owns about ten percent of Best Buy... can anyone confirm or deny this?

Re:Now is a good time to boycott Best Buy... (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403139)

Holy shit! After learning from your conjecture that Micro$haft 0wnz 10%, I am so mad I'mm ready to burn down my Best Buy! Let's kill some people!

Hahaha, what a fucking blunder (1)

soybean (1120) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403056)

They're going to hell for this one. Back in the day of the bubble, they would be paying people to buy these cards, now they are arresting people for buying the cards at the advertized price.

What's even more disturbing... (5, Informative)

Deltan (217782) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Re:What's even more disturbing... (2, Interesting)

Dick Click (166230) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Re:What's even more disturbing... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403143)

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".

I wonder if this happens more frequently around the end of their fiscal quarters. It could be a way of increasing booked revenue for a quarter to make the results seem better.

Of course, this is essentially a Ponzi scheme where they have to keep this up every quarter thereafter or their results will suddenly drop because they won't have anything to offset the returns.

oh really? (1, Troll)

Rombuu (22914) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403061)

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.

Oh yeah? What state did you pass the bar in again?

I read this whole thing and it was obviousy a typographical error and these people are trying to get something for nothing. Best Buy should have continued to tell them all to get stuffed.

Re:oh really? (0, Troll)

hendridm (302246) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403127)

Agreed. And what fool is going to go to court for $130 anyway?

Nice try, cheapskates, but everyone makes mistakes.

And regarding the "Worst Buy" headline. Granted, their store isn't the best store in the world, but in many communities it's the only store of its kind.

Re:oh really? (3, Insightful)

Viking Coder (102287) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403133)

When does this cross the line to bait-and-switch, which is illegal?

I think it's a pretty fine line, not a blatant misunderstanding on the part of the poster. Don't be so critical - there's a real issue at stake, here.

Or, to sum up Best Buy's mistake in Fortune Cookie wisdom :

Measure twice, cut once.

Re:oh really? (1)

Loraque (201014) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403142)

Agreed. The only part that makes this stink is how the website was actually touting the $200 savings. THAT, to a reasonable person, would imply that they knew the card was worth at least $329, which is still a good price for it currently.

I really don't know where people get this "Advertised price = binding contract" crap. It never was and never will be. What you DO get, is customer dis-satisfaction by making "mistakes" like this. That does indeed have a price tag attached, and the company would have to evaluate the financial impact of that dis-satisfaction against paying out for the pre-orders.

I think BB may have underestimated the internet (shock) on this issue. Factor in some store managers caving in, and now they have a huge problem.

They should have just kept up the stonewall from the beginning, and it would have been no different than errors in their print ads. Now that they have caved a little, they probably need to go all the way.

Re:oh really? (4, Informative)

scottdj (136191) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403145)

I suggest you re-read the hypothermia web page. The wording of the original Best Buy offer on the Best Buy web site made it very clear that this was an intentional pricing sale, not a typo.

In case you missed it, here is the quote from hypothermia about the original web offer:

Here's a strange one... we found an Advertisement at BestBuy.com yesterday that proclaimed "VisionTek GeForce4 Ti4600 for Special Pre-Order Price of $129.00..the savings is a $200.00 Value". Normally a "typo" or mistake would be something to the effect of a misplaced decimal point or an accidental wrong price. It usually doesn't consist of adding terms like Special Pre-Order Price and savings is a $200.00 Value, ( since it sounds reasonable $129.00 + $200.00 savings for a card announced that day with no real set price yet ) all over the advertisement. So we did the right thing and CALLED. BestBuy.com confirmed the price of $129.00 twice, at which time they gave us the $200.00 value / saving quotes.

Re:oh really? (1)

TimButterfield (16686) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403161)

If I understand this correctly, here are a couple of rough analogies:

1) You buy a vehicle, sign the papers, start the loan and then get told you have pay more before taking delivery.

2) You go through a store checkout, pay for your items, get your receipt and then have to pay more to leave the store.

IANAL, yada, yada, but...

It is one thing to have a typo and not sell based on the quoted price. It is quite another to sell based on a price and then, after the completing the sale (i.e., collecting the purchase price money), claim the price was not correct and that more is required. While the former may be a legitimate mistake, the later appears to be fraud.

The police sided with the customer. (4, Insightful)

Hamshrew (20248) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403062)

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.

FWIW (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403069)

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.

FWIW, don't take advice from Michael! [sethf.com]

MaxPC (4, Interesting)

blankmange (571591) | more than 12 years ago | (#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..

Other Best Buy stories (5, Interesting)

Wells2k (107114) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

For Christ's Sake (1)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403075)

It was an obvious pricing error on their webpage that was changed after a few hours (maybe 3 or 4). It was only on the webpage. They auto-cancelled the orders for this card and sent out a 30$ off coupon that worked just like a gift certificate (no minimum purchase), and an apology to everyone who tried to order one.

I ordered one expecting to get my order cancelled and maybe an apology. Then these guys whine like their constiutional rights have somehow been violated, when Best Buy only Apologizes and GIVES them 30$. If the gentlemen obsessed with ripping Best Buy off hadn't continued harrasing the employees, then maybe this manager would not have been fed up and had this guy arrested.

That being said, Best Buy should not have had this guy arrested, as it just made the situation 10 times worse.

Re:For Christ's Sake (1)

Phosphor3k (542747) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403115)

BTW, Best Buy never charged any one's credit cards. It was a pre-order sale, but there was no fee charged for pre-ordering, and you would not get charged until the card was to be shipped out a month later. Hence, when they cancelled the orders, there was no money to be refunded.

Best Buy isn't wrong... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403077)

Ok, by that teaser headline, I mean that it's wrong to arrest someone because he came in to see if he could pricematch your deal. But come on, the right of refusal is ok! So they made a mistake - if they honor every deal they'll be losing $200 a card! Aren't we reasonable people - if Best Buy keeps honoring this pricing error (and others), it'll go out of business. I'm sorry, but this seems like greed by a bunch of nerds....all wrapped around a bunch of hypocrisy about your rights under the law...

I didn't know my rights (1)

SamBeckett (96685) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403078)

I ordered the card via the website, got a return notification for my order, along with a confirmation number, and everything. About a week later I received an e-mail saying that all online orders for this item were cancelled.

Two weeks later they sent another email saying that they were providing me with a $20 online credit for future Best Buy purchases... I took it-- if I hadn't, I could have taken them to court to get my card.

::cry::

Bad Buy (4, Insightful)

umm qasr (72190) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403081)

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.

I ordered one of the cards.... (3, Informative)

telstar (236404) | more than 12 years ago | (#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.

Re:I ordered one of the cards.... (2)

Peyna (14792) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403132)

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?

Re:I ordered one of the cards.... (1)

Tower (37395) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403151)

True, I along with a few friend who had ordered with the low price up there all received an e-mail certificate for $30 off an online order (with some restrictions)...

oh no? (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403088)

Best Buy is bad now? Crap, now what brick and mortar computer/electronics store is left?

Didn't Best Buy do this once before? (1)

Zenjive (247697) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403091)

I'm not sure if it was BestBuy or a different chain superstore, but I seem to remember something about a mis-priced computer product making a big stink about a year ago.

If I am correct and it was Best Buy, there's more to this than a simple typo in an ad!

Email response (5, Informative)

ajs (35943) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403098)

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!

They made a mistake on their website .. (1, Flamebait)

roguerez (319598) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403101)

.. and within minutes the news about the mistake was propagated throughout Usenet.

Hundreds, if not thousands, of people were placing orders KNOWING that the price was a mistake. Look up the archives in Google to see for yourself.

People tried to abuse a mistake on the part of Best Buy. They gambled and lost, but apperantly have a problem with that. I suspect these are the same people that stick lower price tags on products in shops as well, before taking them to the checkout..

-1 bad taste (0)

I.T.R.A.R.K. (533627) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403105)

"Hill informed police that Abraham Cherian, an Indian American, was trying to rip off the store...

Are you insinuating something, Michael?
Quit trying to play the race card. No one gives a flying fuck what race/nationality/sexual preference/whatever the guy is/has. "Indian American" has nothing to do with the reason they had his ass hauled off. The manager made a judgement call. He felt someone was trying to rip off the store, so he did something about it. Plain and simple.

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

The same store, perhaps. But was the manager notified the first time it happened? Selling one video card at a marked down price is one thing. But when people start coming out of the woodwork, employees start to notice that something isn't right.

From the BestBuy Website: (1)

asdfasdfasdfasdf (211581) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403107)

Here [bestbuy.com] is the text:

Errors on Our Site
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.


I find it a bit embarrassing that every time a corporation makes an honest mistake, many Slashdot readers begin to chant "BOYCOTT!" Just because they didn't get some goody at an exceptional loss for the company. You can ALWAYS get your money back if you order with a credit card.

Re:From the BestBuy Website: (0)

JDAustin (468180) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403169)

FYI, this TOS was changed AFTER the price error.

Sorry.... (0)

Grape Smuggler (569838) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403108)

But if someone actually thought they would get a GeForce card for $125, then they get what they deserve.

I personally would have assumed it was a typo, and left it at that. And if Best Buy would not sell the card for $125, who cares? Are you any worse off?

There have got to be better things to get pissed off about.

Boycott...? (1)

smithmc (451373) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403111)

I would suggest a boycott, but somehow I get the impression that not too many /.ers buy their gear from Best Buy, huh?

What Best Buy needs to consider (1)

dlgree1 (200197) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403113)

BestBuy needs to think about the future. The people in charge need to realize that in the long run they will make more money by not pissing customers off. My guess would be that none of those 2000 people will ever regularly shop at BestBuy again. However, if they just sold the cards at the advertised price they would have gained 2000 happy customers who would, using word of mouth, tell others to shop there. This would make BestBuy more money in the long run.

Buy Comp (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403114)

Buy Comp has done the same thing. I remember back in 1999 they had posted Hitachi 19inch monitors for a crazy low price (its been so long i forget the exact figures). It was so low that that monitor got flagged as the best selling monitor on their site, and then they didn't honor the selling price when it came to shipping time.

WRONG (0, Troll)

Reality Master 101 (179095) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403124)

It's Best Buy's obligation to make sure their prices are accurate.

Once again, Michael posts bullshit that is totally wrong.

Stores are not legally responsible to honor typographical errors. Period. If there is some intentional fraud, then prove that. Otherwise, these people should grow up and live in the real world.

Re:WRONG (2, Insightful)

Rebel Patriot (540101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403158)

You're incorrect. IANAL, but I have talked with some, and here in GA, they are required BY LAW to honor that price, period.

Better Business Bureau? (2, Insightful)

ProfMoriarty (518631) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403129)

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

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

Damn right! (2, Insightful)

Rebel Patriot (540101) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403134)

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'.

Re:Damn right! (1)

QuodEratDemonstratum (569501) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403153)

The manager isn't guilty of false arrest - he didn't arrest the customer. He called the police and the police decided to arrest the customer.

Guess they'll have no more of this for a while... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403136)

I quote from the Best Buy site, for a GEForce4 Ti 4600...

"Not available for delivery at this time. Not available for store pickup."

Best Buy going down hill (1)

billnapier (33763) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403137)

I used to shop at Best Buy alot, because they always had good sales on things I like to purchase (music, videos, electronics, etc.). I couldn't leave there without something in my hands... I had a problem.

I don't know if its just me or what, but the store quality has declined. I've had rude store employees; I've had stupid store employees; I've been in Best Buy when I've known more about their sales then their employees. And don't get me started on their "Extended Warantee" program (you were just telling me how great this is, and now you're trying to convince me that its crap?)

It's a shame that there is really no other place to go to get "nice" electronic's at reasonable prices (plz. don't mention Circuit "I make stuff up" City...), at least hear on the Easat Coast.

So I guess I'm stuck with going to Best Buy and making sure to do my research before hand and not take any crap from their employees.

Out of the woodwork :) (5, Interesting)

cOdEgUru (181536) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403140)

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.

The real problem... (2)

dinivin (444905) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403141)

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

Honest mistake or unethical marketing practices? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3403148)

Hard|OCP has been reporting about Best Buy pricing fiascos for a while now. This sort of thing has happened several times with them in the past year, and people have justifiably been asking whether or not these unusually low prices are the honest mistakes Best Buy claims they are. Perhaps if someone were keeping track of how often they mistakenly over-quoted their prices by a large percentage, one could statistically determine a conclusion.

Wow! (3, Interesting)

PHAEDRU5 (213667) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403149)

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? (3, Informative)

sheldon (2322) | more than 12 years ago | (#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?

Bait and Switch in the Worst Way (1)

LittleGuy (267282) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403159)

Cheritan goes in with a recepit generated from the webpage and Hill calls it fraudulant.

Gotcha.

It's standard, when doing a web transaction, to generate a hardcopy (many websites advise it), as well as send a copy of the receipt via E-mail. *That's* your proof of purchase. There's also a control number to reference back on records.

For Hill not to recognize it and to have the customer arrested to boot just opens him (and the company) up to false arrest.
And if the transaction records were retroactively changed to back Hill, I bet Georgia's state consumer protection bureau (or equivalent) is going to open up a can of punitive whoop@$$ on Best Buy.

Reprinted Here Due to the /. Effect (1, Redundant)

LuxuryYacht (229372) | more than 12 years ago | (#3403164)



Here's a strange one... we found an Advertisement at BestBuy.com yesterday that proclaimed "VisionTek GeForce4 Ti4600 for Special Pre-Order Price of $129.00..the savings is a $200.00 Value". Normally a "typo" or mistake would be something to the effect of a misplaced decimal point or an accidental wrong price. It usually doesn't consist of adding terms like Special Pre-Order Price and savings is a $200.00 Value, ( since it sounds reasonable $129.00 + $200.00 savings for a card announced that day with no real set price yet ) all over the advertisement. So we did the right thing and CALLED. BestBuy.com confirmed the price of $129.00 twice, at which time they gave us the $200.00 value / saving quotes. After a whole day of ordering, they reneged on the deal and cancelled all orders. The money has yet to be refunded. I have made a sign-up page for all of you that placed orders with Best Buy so that we may get as many people taken care of as possible. I have been in contact with them all day....

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