Is Best Buy using bait and switch tactics by using an intranet and Internet pricing scheme? Could be, from the allegations being put forth by the state of Connecticut’s attorney general’s office.

Here is what is suspected. The consumer scans the Best Buy Web site and locates the product they wish to purchase with the online pricing. They than go to Best Buy in person to make the purchase at the specified pricing, but it is not available at that price. When the customer complains, the salesperson will bring up what appears as the Internet Web site, showing the higher price. What the consumer is actually looking at is an intranet site set up by Best Buy, which may be different than the Internet site the customer saw at home or from work.

Which made me wonder. How many other retail stores use this same or similar system? Case in point: Just before Christmas, Staples was advertising a digital camera on sale for a specified price. But when I arrived at the store, it was $20 more. So I asked the salesperson, who brought up what appeared to be the Staples Internet site, showing the $20 higher pricing. Now I know what I saw on the Staples site. I was told to bring in a copy of the Staples onsite ad and I’d be given the lower price, which I did. But this required a second trip back to Staples.

At the time, I didn’t think too much about it. But now it would seem we consumers should be aware of these possible deceptive practices. I will print out the advertised price from the Internet before going to the store to make a purchase. 🙂

More information.

[tags]best buy, bait and switch,staples, intranet, deceptive sales practice[/tags]