Chuck Bartowski would never resort to such underhanded tactics at Buy More.  (Source: NBC)
Price discrepancies between Best Buy's online site and in-store sites continue

Those looking to score the lowest prices on items at Best Buy brick and mortar (B&M) stores apparently are still having problems thanks to the company's internal website.

Customers who shop Best Buy's website often come across deals only to find that the items are sold out or on backorder. The site then often directs customers to proceed to the local store to purchase the item (usually denying customers the option to buy online with in-store pickup).

At first glance, this doesn't seem like such a bad idea: 1) the customer can receive the same price at the store and 2) the customer doesn't have to wait for shipping or pay shipping charges by picking up the item from a local Best Buy store. The problem, however, comes from the fact that Best Buy continues to operate an internal website at its B&M stores that shows higher pricing than the "official" Best Buy website.

"I took [the Kodak EasyShare EX1011] to a different station and asked them to price check it, and it came up at $255.99, well over the $234.49 that was listed online," said one tipster for The Consumerist. "We went to one of their public computer terminals and searched it and it came up at the $255.99, no surprise."

Not one to kneel down and admit defeat, the tipster pressed forward in order to receive the merchandise at the $234.99 price.

"iPhone to the rescue. At first it was showing the $255 price on my iPhones browser, then I realized it was connected through WiFi, so they have it blocking the external Best Buy site and feeding the fake one. I disabled WiFi and searched again and bam, there it was, $234.99," the tipster continued. "The electronics department said I had to go to customer service for such a thing, and they promptly took care of the price change."

The news of the continued operation of Best Buy's internal website with higher prices may come as a shock to some considering the lawsuit brought against the company by Connecticut attorney general Richard Blumenthal.

A Best Buy spokeswoman noted in May of this year that the company was in the process of making changes to eliminate the pricing discrepancies between Best Buy's website and the internal Best Buy site. "We provided immediate training for our employees to help ensure that all customers received the best price," said Best Buy spokeswoman Susan Busch in late May. "We are in the process of making changes to eliminate future confusion."

It appears that Best Buy's efforts to change its internal website are progressing a bit slower than initially thought.

"We thought Best Buy had addressed this," said Blumenthal to the LA Times. "That's what they said to us. Apparently that's not the case."

Best Buy recently made headlines for its stellar fiscal 2008 Q3 performance. The company saw its overall quarterly profits rise 17 percent thanks to hot items including flat-panel TVs, notebook computers and GPS units.

Best Buy's market dominance has come at the expense of one of its closest rivals: CompUSA. CompUSA recently announced that it will close all of its remaining 103 stores at the start of 2008.

"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer

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