Connecticut Attorney General sues Best Buy

Posted by Mark Raby

Hartford (CT) - Connecticut's Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has filed a lawsuit against Best Buy, adding to an extensive library of legal action against the electronics retailer.

Blumenthal's lawsuit claims that Best Buy has an intentionally deceptive website in its in-store kiosks that are different from what consumers see at BestBuy.com.  Computers are spread throughout the store, and if a customer has a question about a certain product's availability, an employee can bring up a site that looks nearly identical to BestBuy.com.  However, according to the lawsuit, this is a special intranet that is maintained independently of the store's actual online portal.

Best Buy offers customers a price match guarantee to in-store customers who want BestBuy.com prices.  Sometimes the online store has exclusive sales, but when customers ask for a price match in the store, employees connect to the intrastore site and claim the sale price does not exist.

Connecticut began an investigation into the situation earlier this year and last week officially filed a lawsuit against the Minneapolis-based retailer. "Best Buy used in-store kiosks to conceal lower online prices and renege on its price match guarantee. Consumers seeking bargains were led to believe that lower online prices had expired or never existed. Best Buy treated its customers like suckers," said Blumenthal.

Best Buy has faced investigations from other Attorneys General, including those from Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Ohio.  Most of these dealt with issues like the store's alleged failure to honor its return policy and rebates, and misrepresentation of extended warranty services.  The store has also seen numerous lawsuits from individual consumers as well as a couple class action suits for similar reasons.  These cases have slowly pushed Best Buy to change their internal policies.