Monday, May 24, 2010

Best Buy Advertised Price May Not Be A Deal After All

Popular consumer affairs blog The Consumerist is reporting that Best Buy may be taking advantage of uninformed customers by advertising computers and laptops at slightly higher than regular prices and passing them off as incredible deals without actually calling 'sales'.

According to the report users have caught sales advertising where some laptops and computers are actually advertised at prices higher than their regular price. The sales ads show Dell and HP laptops for $649.99 and $699.99 respectively, these prices are apparently $20 and $50 higher than their regular price. Not only is Best Buy's advertising misleading consumers but the stores are taking things a step further by placing "as advertised" signs on the laptops in store -- thereby giving consumers the impression that they're getting a great deal.

Image from page 15 of the BestBuy ad valid from May23-29

The tipster to Consumerist, known only as Donald, points to this week's sale ad pictured above. Donald writes:
Best Buy has been doing something sort of tricky lately on their laptop pricing. Each week, advertised prices on a number of laptops are higher than regular pricing.

In this week's ad, there is a Dell, sku 9693191, for $649.99. Regular price is $629.99. An HP, sku 9705373, is advertised for $699.99; regular price is $649.99. Last week, a Toshiba, sku 9705221, was advertised for $499.99, this week it's back to regular price, $479.99. Likewise, a Dell, sku 9693191, was advertised for $649.99 last week, and this week it's back to its regular price of $629.99.

This is certainly legal, because nowhere is the word sale used. The ad doesn't say that the price is reduced, and the in store signage just says As Advertised. Still, it appears that they are attempting to gouge the uninformed.

Its hard to believe a major retailer could be so unscrupulous in this day and age, none the less given Best Buy's past history will pricing it really doesn't shock me. This definitely lends credence to the adage buyer beware! I for one have always preached that consumers need to be better informed before making purchases. You should do as much research as possible before heading off to the store to make your decision and now days with the proliferation of smartphones and web enabled devices you should be able to check prices right there in-store.

There are tons of sites out there that are very helpful in finding or comparing prices of products. Consumers should always check these before making their purchases.

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