Customer Learns Price Matching Not Always Guaranteed
Posted July 30, 2002 3:12 a.m. EDT
RALEIGH, N.C. — We often see the word "guarantee" used by companies trying to get people to buy their products. When a Raleigh man felt a local retailer was not living up to its price-matching guarantee, he called Five on Your Side for help.
Lots of stores offer price-matching guarantees to keep people from shopping around after finding an item by guaranteeing they will match any lower price. As Don Pearce learned, sometimes there is a catch.
Pearce recently paid $150 for a pair of speakers at Best Buy. About three weeks later, he saw an identical set at BJ's Warehouse Club for $50 less.
"I thought 'Wow. I just got ripped for 50 bucks,'" Pearce said.
Pearce remembered seeing Best Buy's price-matching guarantee, which promises to "beat their lowest price" if a customer finds an item for less within 30 days.
Pearce went to Best Buy. He said an employee called BJ's, verified the price and was about to refund the money. But a manager stepped in and told Pearce the policy does not cover wholesale clubs, even though that is not written in Best Buy's guarantee.
"I said, 'Well, if I really wanted to get nasty about it I could box them up and bring them back and go to BJ's and buy another set,'" Pearce said.
Instead, Pearce called Five on Your Side to get the word out.
"I thought, well this is kind of misleading to me and I'm sure it's misleading to other people as well," he said.
Five On Your Side called Best Buy. A spokeswoman said a store manager was incorrect and that Best Buy does price match with BJ's. Two days later, she called back and said Best Buy does not match prices with BJ's, but sent Pearce a check anyway.
When asked why the company does not list exceptions so that consumers and employees are clear, she said it would be "burdensome."
Pearce said the situation is more about principle than money.
"If I have a product for sale and I have that in my policy written in black and white, I feel like they should honor that policy," Pearce said.
states it excludes Internet offers. Pearce thinks wholesale clubs should be added, too.
Consumers can protect themselves by asking about a store's policies before making a purchase.