Customers irate about $10 HDTV ad
Nearly free television triggers complaints and possible class-action lawsuit
Some customers were likely breathless as they pushed the "add to cart" button at Best Buy's Web site. The big draw? A Samsung 52-inch HDTV that appeared on the chain's Web site for the unbelievably low sale price of $9.99.
Best Buy corrected the error hours later and announced that any orders processed at that price would not be honored. (You can find screen shots of the ad and an order placed by Augustine Fou at his go-Digital Blog.) But what's truly amazing about all this is that so many people are ticked off.
People flocked to Best Buy forums to complain, and a Web site called Ten Dollar HDTV quickly appeared, where posters are mentioning a possible class-action lawsuit. "BestBuy.com deserves this and I believe they will get what is coming to them!" "admin" proclaimed.
Over at Gizmodo, blogger Danny Allen said he placed an order for the TV this morning, and later got an e-mail from Best Buy saying it had been canceled and that his credit or gift card would be credited. No nearly free TV for him, but he's OK with that.
"It'd be nice if they just admitted it was a screw-up. But, oh well, the dream was fun while it lasted," Danny said. (Later messages from Best Buy apologized for the "error.")
He also reprinted this statement from the company Web site:
Prices and availability of products and services are subject to change without notice. Errors will be corrected where discovered, and Best Buy reserves the right to revoke any stated offer and to correct any errors, inaccuracies or omissions including after an order has been submitted and whether or not the order has been confirmed and your credit card charged.
That isn't dissuading some customers from complaining -- out of real frustration or in dogged pursuit of an insane deal. "I'm going to call and be very angry," one commenter at Gizmodo said. "Is it really worth it to lose a customer? Maybe they will give it to me."
The Washington Post also observed that the company's apology fell on some deaf ears. "That wasn't good enough for many Web-surfing customers, many of whom characterized the matter as a stunt to get people to register at Best Buy's Web site," the story said.
We're not the only one puzzled by some people's responses. "Let's put it this way. If you post an ad selling your car on Craigslist for $100 when you meant to put $10,000, are you going to honor the $100 price?" said another commenter at Gizmodo. "How would you feel if people decided to sue you over it?"
Some people will likely call for government action against Best Buy. But KKTV.com reports: "If you're wondering if Uncle Sam or the state can hold Best Buy's feet to the fire and honor the price, the answer is no. In fact, the Colorado Attorney
General's Office says it's not their job to go after companies for a typo."
People lined up outside Best Buy stores this morning either to buy the TV for $9.99 or pick up ones they thought they'd purchased online.
WFTV.com talked to one guy who'd bought four of the TVs and then joined a line outside a Best Buy in Osceola County, Fla. Informed that he wouldn't be getting them, the customer told a reporter, "I'll go to my lawyer and see what he has to say about it."
He added, "I knew it was a mistake, but when I go to Walgreens and they forget to take a tag off for a sale that was yesterday, they honor that price." (Note: The TV really sells for about $1,700.)
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