Consumer Fraud Alert # 1 

  The old "Bait-n-switch," "The Carrot," etc.  

Monday; August 14th, 2006:  Just about everyone in Pensacola knows of the (huge) electronics and software store, "Best Buy," [Their web site.]  (All of this occurred at the store on 5480 North 9th Avenue (Next to Cordova Mall.) Pensacola, FL 32504.) 

They are running a series of commercials on TV ... you may have seen them. Laptops for $299 or $399. 

The Pensacola Chess Club needed a laptop ... it seems everyone is using the pairing program now to run their chess tournaments, and the Pensacola Chess Club wants to do the same. 

We actually went down to the store and tried to buy one of those GateWay $399 laptops. We got the laptop, software, a service plan, damage protection etc. The check came to nearly 1,200. Then they ran the check through their service, and it was denied. (The account was too new.) 

So then we (Stephen Davis and I) went down to the bank and withdrew cash. 

I blew my stack. I let the salesperson have it with both barrels. Eventually the main electronics supervisor asked me to leave the store. I refused, and then I told him that I wanted to speak to his boss. 

In talking with the main store manager, several interesting facts came out. 

  1. First ... technically ... they are not supposed to hold computers at all. Then they said that they could only hold them for one day. (But earlier, the electronics department manager told me that they would hold them up to a week for a special customer, but I guess I was not special enough.) In fact, it sounded like that they had no real firm policy at all, and were just making it up as they went along. 

  2. The $299 computer was "NO LONGER AVAILABLE!" (period) When I asked about their commercial, they did not seem to think that this was very important ... and just shrugged it off. 

  3. The $399 (GateWay) computer was "subject to availability" and was a DISCONTINUED ITEM. (Thanks for telling me this up front! I would never have tried to purchase it had I known that this was the case!!) 

  4. I was told that if I wanted a computer, I could purchase the $579 GateWay model, and that this WAS CURRENTLY THE LOWEST PRICED, ENTRY-LEVEL COMPUTER THAT THEY HAD!!! (And basically admitting that their TV commercial was nothing more than a smoke-screen ... a false ploy just to get you in the door.)  

  5. If I did not like this, I could wait for the Sunday newspaper, and wait for another {so-called} sale. 


  Needless to say, I was NOT satisfied with any of this!    


Steve took me to Circuit City [their ws] ... and we wound up buying a Compaq Presario. (For around $1,200.00) The best way to get revenge against a big company is to vote with your dollars ... ... ... and spend them in a competitor's store.


As a result of all of this, I have taken the following actions:  

  1. I filed a complaint with the FL Attorney General's office. (Charlie Crist.) 

  2. I filed a complaint of false advertising with the Federal Communications Commission. (The FCC.) 

  3. I filed a complaint with the U.S. Consumer Fraud Agency, (a nonprofit group).  

  4. I filed a complaint with the FL Division of Consumer Services. (1-800-435-7352.) 

  5. I initiated a complaint/grievance with the Better Business Bureau.  


Stay tuned, if anything becomes of this, I will post the results and follow-up here.  

This page was created on 08/14/2006. It was last modified on: 05/10/2014 06:53 AM .  

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