EL DORADO HILLS (CBS) — Ed Diver has been pricing televisions at Best Buy for months. After a little patience and some research, he wondered if the sales prices he was seeing was really a good deal .
A producer from our Sacramento sister station KOVR went undercover shopping with Diver for a new TV at Best Buy. They found a 55-inch LG model on sale for $2,999.98. Best Buy’s price tag said you’ll save $2,000.
“It appears to be on sale $2,000 off. I thought ‘Wow, this is a good opportunity,'” said Diver.
However, LG’s website shows the suggested retail price for the same TV is also $2,999.99. Instead of saving two grand, Diver realized he was really only saving one cent.
“There’s no reason for them to list televisions at an overly-inflated price to convince me to come in and buy it on sale,” said Diver.
In fact, on Best Buy’s website, four LG models listed for thousands off the regular price were actually marked at LG’s suggested price.
When Diver questioned a sales clerk about the practice, the clerk replied “That’s what corporate tells us to do, so that’s what I do … I’m just the worker.”
Diver’s not the only one questioning Best Buy’s pricing policies. Other consumers filed a class-action case, accusing the store of phantom markdowns.
The lawsuit claims the company advertised, marketed, and sold merchandise while falsely representing former “original” or “regular” prices throughout its retail stores.
“There’s no bargain to be had here,” said consumer attorney Ian Barlow. He says state law is clear, if a store advertises something on sale, it must really be on sale. “It has to have been sold at the regular price at least three months prior to it going on sale,” said Barlow.
In an email, Best Buy said that they do not comment on pending litigations. However, they added: “We appreciate this being brought to our attention as we always encourage customers to bring to us all their questions or concerns. Our customers can take advantage of our price match guarantee, which ensures that we won’t be beat on price.”
Diver thinks they should change their business practices. “It feels deceptive,” he said.
He ended up getting Best Buy to price match on a different TV, but still has a message for the store. “Be open and honest with your customers,” said Diver.
BestBuy would not say when the last time that and LG TV was priced at $4,999 in its stores.
Even though LG dropped the suggested price on its website from $4,999 to $2,999 last October, Best Buy still advertised that TV for $2,000 off more than five months later.