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Robert Silva

Best Buy Embroiled in Possible Price-Matching Scandal

By March 25, 2009

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According to both credible anecdotal reports, and the possible revelation of an internal communication, Best Buy is being accused of not honoring their own posted price matching policy. As a result, a branch of the U.S. District Court is allowing a class action lawsuit to proceed against Best Buy for "false and deceptive trade practices". For all the details, check out the report from HD Guru.

My Perspective: First, let's keep in mind that it is yet to be determined if Best Buy is indeed guilty of the charges that have been made; that will be resolved either in court or via a settlement. However, looking at a larger picture, it must be noted that the current economic downturn is putting a lot of pressure on both consumers, who need to save money, and retailers, who need to make enough money to stay in business. With the disappearance of both Tweeter and Circuit City within the past year, competitive price choices for consumers have narrowed considerably, resulting in less motivation by remaining consumer electronics retailers, such as Best Buy to be as responsive to consumer price desires.

However, all this could backfire if the economy stays in its present doldrums. If less people are motivated to shop, or maintain store loyalty, because of the perception that they are not being treated fairly, retailers could see less customers in their stores, during a time where every customer counts.

My Advice to CE Retailers: Be thankful consumers are still buying that home theater receiver, blu-ray disc player, or big screen flat panel HDTV during this rough economic time. Honoring a price match inquiry is a small price to pay for gaining or keeping a loyal customer, and loyal customers is what you all need right now.

Related Story: Best Buy Fourth Quarter Numbers Reveal Interesting Trends (Wall Street Journal).

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