“Congratulations, You’re Not Getting A Dell,” so says Tiger Direct in its advertising flyer. In the same advertising flyer, Tiger Direct gives six reasons not to buy a Dell. It then lists Acer, Lenovo, Sony, HP, Toshiba, and Gateway brand names as the six reasons. Next the folks at Tiger Direct pit the six brands it carries against equally configured Dell systems and price beat Dell on every system.

So what does this mean to us the consumer? Not much really. I went over to the Best Buy site and found a similar HP system advertised by TD for $599 for the same price with 1G more RAM, and everything else the same for the same advertised pricing that TD has. It is a numbers game.

For us consumers who try to compare model numbers this number game is sometimes confusing. The model that TD advertised was a HP530 whereas BB used HPTK53. So what is the difference? Both models had the same spec’s, with the BB having more RAM.

Well some models are made specifically for a supplier. BB sells enough stuff that they can go to a OEM and ask for a model specific item sold only through BB. In fact the model number BB uses may not even show up on the OEM’s site, which adds to the confusion.

Case in point. BB had a 42″ Panasonic Plasma TV on sale around turkey time [Thanksgiving]. Pricing was at $899 on sale. Yet if you took the model # and went to the Panasonic site it was not listed. We learned later that this model was made specifically for sale through BB and no other outlets. In checking in some of the forums I also located a 10% off coupon for BB and got the TV for $805. So what was the difference between the BB model and similar 42″ Panasonic plasmas? The BB unit was minus 1 HDMI connector and had no card reader built in. Other than that the unit was the same that others were selling at the time for $1,199.

Bottom line. Be careful when reading advertising no matter who it is from. The pricing numbers can be juggled to make anything look good. 🙂

Comments welcome.

PS I almost forgot. BB bases their extended warranty on price of the unit you buy. For units priced over $1,000 a 4 year extended warranty was $399. But since the Panny was under $1,000 a 4 year extended warranty was $199. Go figure. I believe Circuit City does the same.