If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy
James Madison (American 4th US President (1809-17), and one of the founding fathers of his country. 1751-1836)

Friday, March 2, 2007

Best Buy internal kiosk website...

Okay...if you haven't read or heard about the Best Buy fiasco...well here it is in a nutshell. Some customers of Best Buy have been complaining that the advertised specials they had seen on the web and in weekly paper promotions were rebutted once they showed up at the store to get that product they had seen, a bait and switch if you will. The store employee(s) would look up this product on the in store website (a site that looks identical to the external website, but is actually an internal site to the store) to check the price...only to find that this special doesn't exist. Thus leaving the customer to either buy this product at a non-reduced rate, not buy anything, or get wrangled into buying something else.

Previously, Best Buy denied this animately...that is until the Connecticut Attorney General got into the which point Best Buy fessed up to the existence of such an internal site. Why they would deny such a site exists at first and then admit the existence of such a site when the legal system is brought in leads one to immediately assume that something is awry here. I am sure the intent of the internal site initially was not to deceive customers, rather to help the employees at the store, but I tend to also believe that as time passed the unscrupulous use of this site was adopted by someone in the organization and spread to the rest...or it was an upper management undocumented decision that was passed down to the satellite stores. In any event the use of the site has been used as a means that is deceptive and by the intentional disavow met of the only goes to assure the mass public that it was intentionally used as a tool to deceive.

Techdirt has been following this story closely and in a recent post, "Best Buy 'Fesses Up That Website In Stores Is Not And Often Not Your Best Buy", an apparent Best Buy employee is posted the following comment:

Here is the actual clip from the bestbuy employee newsletter. BestBuy is a great company and is not trying to dupe customers. The internal website is designed to show sales for that particular store. It seems some untrained employees don't know how to access the external site. Store Kiosk Prices Vary From Web Prices

Have you ever had a customer come in with a printout that reflected one price on a product, but when you looked it up on your in-store kiosk it was another price? That’s because the kiosk in your store reflects your store’s pricing, not necessarily the online offers.

How do I see the Web pricing?

· Click Products, Services, Offerings, Lookup Info on Employee Toolkit. Then under you’ll see links to both the kiosk/in-store pricing and the Web pricing. Click the (Web pricing) link to see what your customer sees at home.

· You can also see only promotions by clicking Ad Source and Promotions and selecting Only Promotions under the Promotions header.

Be aware of these differences so you can price match the price the customer sees on and avoid confusing the customer.

As I stated previously...I am sure the intent of the site was to be used as a tool by the employees, but the profits to be gained by using it in a more deceptive manner would out weight the honest use of this site. The description of the kiosk and website in question in the comment above makes total sense from the Best Buy store standpoint of it's initial use. However, I am equally sure that some undocumented decision was made and the employees made aware that they were to use this site in the exact opposite of it's intended use. This issue has management pressuring the lower employees to deceive all over it and thus I find it hard to lay blame on the sales force and more on management. It sucks all around for the customer, employee, and the trust between the two.

In all...I for one will probably not use this company for any of my electronic needs in the future...I will more than likely stick to getting what I need online.

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