March 9, 2015
Bait and Switch at Best Buy
Is Best Buy a company you want to do business with?
    The ad here was printed Monday, February 23, 2015 from the website, and the phone number written on it is for their store in Mayfield Heights, Ohio, the local store where the customer wanted to make the purchase. When a customer called to see if there were actually any in stock, the customer was told there would be some in Wednesday or Thursday (February 25 or 26, 2015), and that the advertised sale price would be honored.

    When the customer arrived at the store the afternoon of Thursday, February 26, 2015, the item was in fact in stock, and the computer sales associate retrieved one from the locker above the display along the wall. Unfortunately, the sales associate refused to honor the advertised price. The customer explained that he was told the price would be honored when the computers arrived, but the sales associate still refused to honor the advertised price, or for that matter even the rain-check offered.

    The customer asked for the manager, and a man with 'Dave' and 'Manager' on his badge arrived. The customer was told the sale price was a "Monday only sale" and the store will not honor the price. When the customer pressed on the issue, called it "bait and switch" and refused to buy the same computer at the regular retail price which was one hundred dollars more, the manager escorted the customer to the front of the store and out the door. All the while the customer was asking the customer was pressing the bait and switch question.

    According to consumer protection laws, if an item is advertised, the price in the ad must be honored. When a rain-check for the item is offered the rain-check must be honored. When the customer called the store on the Monday, the person on the phone clearly stated four were arriving Wednesday or Thursday, and sure enough the computers were available for sale, but not for the advertised price.

    This is a clear case of bait and switch, which defines as "bait and switch. n. a dishonest sales practice in which a business advertises a bargain price for an item in order to draw customers into the store and then tells the prospective buyer that the advertised item is of poor quality or no longer available and attempts to switch the customer to a more expensive product." In this case, a customer was lured into the store for an advertised item, was promised the advertised item was in fact going to be available at the sale price, but was then denied the advertised sale price. Boycott Watch sees this as a clear violation of federal consumer protection laws.

    The customer drive for thirty minutes each way to the store, the called the corporate help number, 1-800-Best-Buy, and spent forty minutes getting run around. When transferred to a supervisor, the photo of the ad was emailed to the supervisor per her request, but so far nothing has happened.

    The fact is, the customer spent more than two hours attempting to have Best Buy fulfil their ad, but after one week Best Buy has only remained silent. Boycott Watch will be filing a complaint to the Ohio Attorney General and the Federal Trade Commission. Updates will be posted as available.

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