Best Buy “Bait and Switched” Me

Best Buy Will Not Deliver
John P.

Insignia 42" 1080p HDTVSo, today my friend Bruce gave me a call and told me that Best Buy had a 42″ 1080p LCD HDTV on sale for $796.99. In fact, he had just come from our local Best Buy in Frisco, TX where they had 17 of them in stock. He said it looked pretty good, and recommended that I get one.

So, of course, I blew about 30 minutes looking at the Web site and eventually placed an order online for in-store pickup. Before doing so, you have to choose a local store and it checks availability. (Clearly I did this, and placed the order.)

Flash forward to this evening, when I finally get around to heading over to Best Buy to pick it up, and lo and behold – no TV!

I had taken my receipt with me to pick it up, but hadn’t checked my e-mails since I ordered. Luckily, thanks to Ian Clarke I had changed my personal e-mail over to G-mail and was able to check it from my Blackberry right in the store. It was at this point that I put all the pieces together…

After I checked stock and placed my order, BestBuy sent me three e-mails.

First they sent me an e-mail essentially saying “thanks for buying a new TV!”… and would you like some fries with that? The e-mail offers me:

  • Installation
  • Wall Mounts
  • Cables
  • Furniture
  • TiVos
  • DirectTV
  • BlueRay Discs
  • PS3 / Xbox
  • Home audio systems

You can’t blame them for offering the upsell, but after I saw this I figured I’d ignore anything else than came through.

Next, they sent me an e-mail saying:

Thank you for shopping at Best Buy. We have received your order, and it will be processed as soon as possible.

Best Buy Will Not DeliverThen about 30 minutes later they sent another email essentially stating… Oops! Sorry, you’re SOL! We actually don’t have that item in stock. HOWEVER, feel free to give us a call and if you still want it we’ll ship one to your house. More specifically their language was:

If you still want this product, call us toll-free at 1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289) to check product availability at a different store or to have the item shipped via free standard shipping. Please contact us within 8 days to choose one of these options. For faster service, tell us the order number when you contact us.

Now, I’m a little upset because I’m learning all of this while I’m standing in the store waiting to pick up my $800+ purchase. But I figure, “Oh well… they’ll ship it to me.”

So I call the phone number they tell me to call and speak with a Best Buy representative who basically proceeds to tell me that they are out of stock in all the stores in my area (though this afternoon they were IN stock when I ordered), but the really good news is that they can’t ship it to me either!

Yeah, that’s right. The lady tells me that the system says that I don’t live “in the delivery area”. Of course, I’m 4.5 miles from the store, in the Dallas metroplex… but I guess that doesn’t matter.

So she cancels my order, because it can’t be fulfilled, and suggests that I try to reorder it from another department who can actually deliver it?!? And then I asked her who the heck that would be before she hangs up on me, and then she decides it is her.

So, she is going to bravely try to slip my order through the system, and she takes all of my information again, and then at the end of the process tells me that she’s sorry, but she can’t re-order the TV for me!

So, here I am. I wasted a couple of hours on this. Best Buy sold me a TV they didn’t have, then offered to deliver one to me, but apparently lied about that, and finally they cancelled my order with no plan to do anything about it. Worst of all, no one I spoke to seemed to give a shit.

I will never make another purchase from Best Buy online again, because you can’t be certain they aren’t lying to you about having the item in stock. At this point I feel like they just allowed all of this to happen so they could get me into the store, and maybe I’d go ahead and buy something else.


  1. tom says

    Sounds like Best Buy uses that hillbilly marketing system that wally world uses, which means that if something sells like crazy, get rid of it! Keep those shelves empty. When you see that blue blazer that says “May I Help You”? on the back, it’s always running away from you. Seriously, most web sites are broken these days in one way or the other.

  2. Shane says

    That’s called Marketing Fraud here in the U.S.
    The only way the store can fix that is to issue an immediate recall and post a new flyer/magazine/advertisement with the number changed and a label pointing out the mistake.

  3. says

    I am not sure they would get away with saying that, once they send something out they are bound to sell it at that price … I think that is the way it works in Denmark actually :)


  4. says

    That always helps :)

    And last time you had an issue and posted about it a lot of good feedback came in from the shop itself…


  5. says

    Sounds like a great example of Best Buy’s ROWE (Results Only Work Environment). It’s quite unfortunate that these guys can get away with this. It would take a large majority of their customers to quit buying from them to solve the problem. That or a class action lawsuit. I’m not a big fan of lawsuits, but when a company is misbehaving… They should be punished. Perhaps you should send them an invoice for your time with a not in stock fee added on for your trouble. If only we could make that stick…

    Reminds me of a stop at Burger King earlier this week. I wanted a steakhouse burger. “What size? Medium? Large? or Extra Large?” I said “small.” We don’t have small, only medium, large and extra-large… What do they do? lobotomize people? They call it price point marketing. I call it lying.

    That’s what Best Buy did in this case. They lied.

  6. says

    Catch 22.5. :-) I am quite happy to live in a country that has not yet evolved the bait and switch to that level… yet.

  7. Kirk (Brother of OMB) says

    One other little detail you might not know… When purchasing online for In-Store Pickup, you cannot return items to any other store outside of the original pickup store. Best Buy Online Sucks!

    EX: You want the new TV, but its only available 20 miles away. You purchase it, pick it up from the 20-mile away store, and later, determin it doesn’t fit your needs. Even if there is a store a block from your house, you’ll have to take it to the store where it was originally picked-up!

  8. says

    Who told you this is not a Marketing strategy??
    It happened to me at Elgiganten in Sweden, where they posted on their ads, a creative webcam for 59 sek ( around 12$) , and once I got into the store, they said, it was a printing mistake. The correct price was 590 sek :)
    But they had a good excuse, not like urs..

  9. says

    My wife purchased two DVDs online from them for in-store pickup for my birthday this year. She arrived well after the recommended time to be able to pick them up. Then she waited in the store for 30 minutes for someone from the pickup counter to help her, only to find out that they hadn’t even pulled the order yet. It would have been faster for her to have walked over and picked them out herself and paid like a normal customer.

  10. says

    I loved Best Buy years ago before I purchased a large HD TV in store. They delivered the display even though I paid full price for it. It didn’t even have the remote! They ended up making the sale right by giving me a new TV that was already sold from another store but the customer hadn’t picked up yet. I was happy just to have the TV and I have never bought an expensive product from those guys again.

  11. says

    haha – Reading through this most made me smile, as it’s exactly what I go through every time I deal with a Thai company here in Thailand – Every time! It drives me mad, makes my grey hair grow faster and also makes my blood boil. Seriously, I get this from every business: telecoms, suprmarkets, ISP, furniture stores… the list could go on. I wonder how many wordwide company directors actually purchase something from their own store/shop to understand the process that their bread and butter have to go through? I don’t think it’s that many.

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