A flatscreen TV for $9.99! Best Buy really is the best buy -- or not
If you popped onto Best Buy's Web site overnight that's the price you would have found instead of the actual price of $1,699.99. Word got around fast and the item became a hot-seller -- showing up as "sold out" by morning. Some customers commented about ordering several at that new low, low price.
But, alas, Best Buy replaced the missing digits -- adding another $1,690 to this seemingly amazing offer. And shortly thereafter, the TV and the comments apparently were pulled from the site altogether.
So what about all those people who ordered at the special price?
No dice. You're not getting the TV, not for that price.
"It was an unfortunate human error," Best Buy spokeswoman Susan Busch told WalletPop. "As you probably noted, the erroneous info was quickly taken down. We are not processing orders for the TV at that price. We apologize to our customers for any confusion or inconvenience caused by this pricing error."
Busch said she didn't know how long the erroneous price was online or how many orders were placed at that price.
Talia Ran, 23, an executive assistant in Washington, D.C., got a call from her brother -- who notified everyone he knows -- at 5:32 a.m. alerting her to the price. She doesn't have much room for such a big TV in her apartment, but for 10 bucks she'd find a spot.
Even though she realized the price was a mistake, she said still hoped her order would slip through.
"I kind of hoped they would forget about me and send them anyway," Ran said.
Then she got an email canceling her order.
"I know there isn't any legal recourse but there has to be something that Best Buy can do to ease our loss," Ran said. "I would think they would want to do something to honor the commitment made between the consumer and Best Buy when we clicked 'continue with purchase.' At the very least shouldn't Best Buy feel compelled to offer the same TV for a discounted price to those who did order?"
It might seem unfair, but Best Buy and most online retailers have error policies buyers agree to (usually without reading the terms) before making a purchase.
Here's an excerpt of Best Buy's policy: "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."
A few years ago, Amazon.com was sued after canceling 6,000 orders for a $1,000 TV mistakenly priced at $99. Amazon won because the error was considered unintentional and shoppers agreed to the terms of its error policy before making their purchase.