HARTFORD, Conn. - Its own computers have landed electronics chain Best Buy in trouble with Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal.
Blumenthal has teamed up with Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Jerry Farrell to sue the company, claiming they are deceiving and overcharging customers.
"Best Buy gave consumers the worst deal -- a bait-and-switch-plus scheme luring consumers into stores with promised online discounts, only to charge higher in-store prices," Blumenthal said.
The suit alleges Best Buy promised to match any lower online price in all of its 10 Connecticut locations, even prices from Best Buy's own website. The store also erected in-store kiosks that held computers, from which Best Buy employees told customers the store's website could be reached.
However, Blumenthal said the prices on the computers were the same as the prices in the stores, not the prices from BestBuy.com.
"The company commonly kept two sets of prices -- one on its Internet site and an often higher set on its in-store look-alike, available on kiosks," Blumenthal said. "The in-store site was an Internet look-alike, commonly with higher prices, which were charged to consumers. Best Buy broke its promise to give the best price - an Internet version of bait-and-switch -- a technological bait-and-switch-plus."
As a result of the investigation, Best Buy added banners that stated the in-store kiosks reflect store prices, but Blumenthal and Farrell still claim because the computers still say "BestBuy.com".
"The store's minor changes to its kiosks - made in response to my investigation - are inadequate and incomplete," Blumenthal said. "The in-store kiosks are still mislabeled 'BestBuy.com,' falsely leading consumers to believe they are connecting to the Best Buy Internet web site."
Best Buy stores are located in Orange, Danbury, West Hartford, Manchester, Newington, Waterford, Meriden, Norwalk, Enfield and Stratford.