Price Matching with a Twist

in Case Study, Consumer Advocacy, Refunds, Scams

I have written previously about price matching with Best Buy and I have been successful previously getting Best Buy to match prices from other stores, however, this past weekend I ran into a new and interesting twist in the price matching game that I’d like to share with you dear reader.

Same but Not the Same

This past week I bought an LG portable DVD player for our car, so my son can watch movies while we take longer car rides. I found a reasonably price player at Best Buy and purchased it and it seems to be working just fine. 

My wife noticed on Friday that the Future shop seemed to have the exact same player on sale for $30 cheaper, so I decided on Saturday to trek down to Best Buy and get my $30 off (they have a price matching policy within 30 days of purchase, which I have taken advantage of previously).

I showed up at the service desk and the pleasant young lady there asked me what I needed help with. I pointed out the Future shop circular and I had a copy of the bill from my purchase and I figured within a short period of time I would receive reimbursement.

Wrong! 

The young lady was very pleasant with me but pointed out that the product identifier was NOT the same for the two products. The item I had purchased is an XXXX-NR whereas the Future Shop item was an XXXX-NB, it was in fact the exact same product, however it was identified differently, thus Best Buy would not match the price, because of this difference.

I then noticed in the Ad that the device in question at the Future Shop had a logo on it that said, “Exclusive to the Future Shop”, which I should have noticed before I left, so that one was my mistake.

In hindsight, I should have done one of the following:

  1. Shown up at Best Buy with the entire device in hand in it’s original packaging, if they then said they would not match the price, I could have simply returned it and bought it at the Future Shop.
  2. Gone to the Future Shop and bought the cheaper player and simply returned the more expensive player to the Best Buy.

I may do that yet, but I will wait a week to see if the item goes on sale at the Best Buy.

I am not pleased with this “fine print” trickery to save having to pay out on price matching, especially since Best Buy and Future Shop in Canada are owned by the same company (I believe).

Sort of leaves you with a funny taste in your mouth, and in my case $30 less in my wallet.

{ 3 comments }

  • MM April 13, 2009, 9:07 AM

    I found out through a similar experience that mattress manufacturers use the same practices. Identical mattresses and box springs are sold to different retailers but are given different model names and UPC codes. This makes comparison shopping difficult (if not impossible) and ensures retailers that they will not have to follow through with their price matching guarantees. It is unfortunate that such misleading tactics are allowed.

    Reply
  • Michael James April 13, 2009, 7:21 AM

    That’s a nice little game. The next step is to change the suffix on the part number every day to make a complete mockery of the price-matching policy.

    Reply
  • Adam April 13, 2009, 6:05 AM

    Great post – and what you’ve out first hand is a practice ALL the time in many industries (electronics, sports, etc).

    You’ll have one golf club manufacturer make only the one certain model (its just the SKU, everything else is the same) so you can’t cost compare to other companies. Tonnes of money in this.

    Electronics are even worse. You are lucky it is just a portable dvd player. Think about thr person who has the problem but with a home entertainment system with big screen tv. They are hooped.

    Reply

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