03-22-2009 02:31 AM
Here is my situation and I am hoping someone can actually provide me with some answers.
A month ago I attempted to price match a game to G@mestop but was not allowed to because it wasn't considered a competitor to Best Buy despite the fact that they sell the same product. So Best Buy lost a sale and G@mestop gained one. Strike one BB and +1 to the competition. Seems ridiculous but I let it slide under the rationale that they are a specialty store, even though they compete with BB and that shouldn’t be an excuse. (For the record the G@mestop was one mile away)
This Friday I attempted to price match a game to another direct local competitor - Micro Center - a chain with stores in 15 different states across the country. So a large company and one that sells everything Best buy does. The Micro center store is 13 miles away from the Best Buy store.
Once again I was denied. This time by the store manager who claimed that her hands were tied by corporate and its policies. Because Micro Center is not listed in their computer as a competitor they can not price match microcenter. They would get in trouble by corporate if they were to put it under one of (few) stores actually listed on the computer. Once again I returned the game and bought it at Micro Center. Strike two for BB and +2 for Competition.
Looking up the exact policy, not surprisingly, this goes against what is written:
"What is considered a local retail competitor?
A retail store located in the same market area as your local Best Buy store."
Both examples should qualify under the policy as written. If in fact these do not qualify BB needs to rewrite it so that it is not a meaningless statement and have specifics and make sure stores stick to them. Either that or be honest with its customers and just say "Price matching up to the discretion of the manager".
So my questions.
1) I am about to try another price match to another direct local competitor - Sams Club. Will I be denied? If so it will be Strike three for Best Buy being the First place I look for things.
2) Who determines what constitutes a local retail competitor and what gets listed in the store computer system? The manager or BB Corporate? Does each store have a different list? Or is this a regional list, statewide list, or national list?
3) Is the manager truly forced to only be able to PM to the stores listed in the computer? Do they have the ability to PM a non listed competitor and list it under one of the listed store names or just do a manual price reduction?
4) If the manager has absolutely no independence or discretion in determining who they can PM too, and must do it only for the stores listed in the computer, Is there a way to ask BB Corp to add a direct competitor to the stores listings?
5) Why have such a long policy that doesn't provide any actual details? Is this just to trick customers into thinking it is a comprehensive and specific policy when it is anything but? Why have a policy when it seemingly varies store by store? A clear detailed and consentient policy that is applicable to all stores (with the ability for Corp to override rogue managers) should be the standard, otherwise the policy is meaningless and only there to dupe people.
Thank you for any help in answering my questions.
P.S. If the current policy is in fact a method of tricking customers, note that it is a very shortsighted one that will create more anger and far more lost sales/profit than the amounts lost to price matching. Even the current confusing policy is most likely hurting BB far more than if they had just price matched people's requests.
Also Auto Banning any mention of the names of competition in a support forum? Really? It is directly relevant to the issue! Also doesn't that prove that G@mestop is considered competition by BB?
03-22-2009 03:03 AM
Both Gaimstop and Micro Center are eligible for PM. The manager/employee just didn't want to do it and made up an excuse. I have never heard of a store not being considered a competitor. If they sell one of the products we do, they're a competitor.
It doesn't matter if the store is in the PM list. This is why, in that list, there is the value "Other". We would use this value if the store isn't in the list. I don't believe the store we're PMing is even recorded, but I may be wrong on that.
Sams Club is not eligible for PM because they require a membership.
You're not allowed to mention the names of other stores for legal reasons.
03-22-2009 09:05 AM
I know they will not match Sams Club as that is a membership warehouse and you pay an annual fee to get lower prices.
My thoughts on price matching is if another local retailer has an item that is cheaper than another retailer then I will just go to that store and purchase the item at the cheaper price.
Price matching is just way too much of a hassle.
I will shop at whatever store has the cheapest price.
03-22-2009 11:25 AM
03-22-2009 11:53 AM
Thank you for those who answered. I figured there had to be an "other" option in the computer system. I am not sure that in the end there is anything that can be done, as from what I understand even if corporate backs me up they can't overrule the manger. I encourage people though to keep coming with the answers to my questions as it is helpful for myself and I am sure others. I will bring up the other option next time I am in BB.
I did want to address those that Say S@m's Club is not eligible. I am not surprised by this and of the three competitors listed, most likely the most acceptable for not allowing.
How is it a mod and community connector on this forum then says differently: Mod/CC Aaron-GS saying yes to Sams
"our stores price match C*stco and S@m’s Club on a frequent basis and they specifically advertise themselves as wholesale retailers."
Doesn't that just show how dysfunctional for everyone involved the current policy is? Its so unclear that even those with BB experience don't have consistent answers? Also his full answer shows how easily the policy can be manipulated if it is in fact true managers decide who is the "competition".
Thanks again and keep those answers rolling in! Also I would love to see someone official from BB address each of my questions in the OP, plus the question of what can be done if this is in fact a bad/rogue manager who refuses to follow the rules.
03-22-2009 12:52 PM
I believe we would be able to PM them if we add on whatever Sams or Cstco charges non-members. However, at every store I've worked at, I've never heard of either being within the PM policy. I think the reason is because the prices they advertise are not avaliable to everyone, just as we wouldn't PM employee cost at another store. I believe Aaron may have been mistaken, because while they do advertise themselves as being wholesalers, as does B&H, B&H doesn't charge a membership fee. I'm sure one of the mods will clear this up.
Managers have great flexibility in setting their store's policy. I'm not sure if that extends to denying certain stores as eligible for PM, but I wouldn't be surprised.
03-22-2009 03:39 PM
Okay Folks I put on my sleuthing cap and have tried two more direct local retailers to see if my BB would price match them.
1) S@m's club. Tried this at the Cash register so it wouldn’t influence my experience at the customer service desk. (And as will be shown it is a good thing I did.) Asked if they price match S@m’s Club. Cashier asked if I had a membership card. Said I did but not with me. He said they couldn’t do it then. I asked if I came back with my membership card could they then price match it? Guy said no they don't price match S@m's Club because they are a wholesaler and a membership store. Why did he ask if I had a membership card then? Inconsistent answers that only serve to confuse and anger the customer. So S@m's Club Failed. Strike three BB and +3 Competition.
2) Went to service desk to price match against K-Mart's current Sunday ad. There is a Kmart 3 miles away, 2 stores 12 miles away, 2 more stores 15 miles away, and even more stores as you increase distance. So a well known national competitor only 3 miles away. They will price match to K-Mart right? WRONG!!
I go up to Customer Service and the same girl and "manager" are working that were working Friday night. Sweet as pie as always, I approach the "manager" and say I would like to price match. They say okay to who? I say K-mart. They start hemming and hawing and nervously say they don't think its on the "list" but say they will check. As they check I only half jokingly say that if its not on the list perhaps it would be easier just to tell me who exactly is on the "list". No response. I also mention that I have become aware that there is an option on the list to select "other". She admits this but then mumbles something I believe to the effect that they can't (won't?) do that.
After a minute she and says K-mart is not on the list, so she is just going to ring it up under "other". I get the PM and then ask for clarification since she previously denied me on Friday and said there was no such option and that they would get in serious trouble by corporate if they tried to match. I ask that if there is an "other" option does that mean I can price match any direct local competitor including K-mart in the future. She knew she was trapped. Told me that she is only doing this as a "favor" and very sternly said to "not expect this to happen again in the future." So I was scolded for expecting them to match a national direct competitor 3 miles away, and will now have to rely on the manager doing me a "favor", which as it stands now seems to be slim to none. All this despite them price matching to Target who is similar to K-mart but directly next door (and the only competitor I have successfully price matched).
Once again I ask, what the point of a price match policy if, as shown here, it is in fact just at the manager’s discretion. Why is that not written in clear bold letters if this is the case?
Also no where in the policy does it say membership clubs and/or wholesalers are not eligible. As its written now S@m’s Club should apply. There are already exceptions written in to the policy so why is there nothing in the terms that say membership clubs don’t apply – other than either A) Sloppy work or b) Deceitful and intentionally ambiguous description of the policy? (Neither of which are an excuse to presently deny membership stores.)
Needless to say I expect someone acting in official capacity to answer these questions I have posed and to post them here on the forum for future reference. If in the next 72 hours no one official has responded and fully answered my legitimate and simple questions I will begin contacting my local media’s investigative reports teams, post to http://consumerist.com/, a major blog owned by Consumer Reports, as well as file a complaint to the BBB and to my state’s office of consumer affairs and Attorney general.
Thank you everyone for looking at this thread and providing answers. As always I encourage even those not connected to BB to post any experiences or knowledge to shed light on the answers to these questions that might help me and others.
03-22-2009 03:47 PM
If there is another BB in your area, I would avoid the current one altogether. While we often do take a hit on PMs, it is a customer loyalty policy, and since the policy does exist, it seems corp. deems it acceptable to take a small hit to keep a customer.
I still believe that the reason Sam's is not eligible is because their price is not avaliable to everyone. If a customer asked me, I would tell them that if I add on the penalty Sam's charges for non-members, and it's still lower, I'll match them.
However, I agree with you, I would like to see membership retailers explicitly called out in the policy.
03-22-2009 03:50 PM