In the wake of a state investigation, Best Buy has confirmed that a secret version of its website exists that can only be accessed by store employees. Apparently, the websites purpose is to mislead in-store customers about Best Buy’s online prices by showing a higher price for items than the actual BestBuy.com.
George Gombossy of the Hartford Courant was first alerted to the secret website by a tipster and he later obtained confirmation of its existence by Best Buy employees who actually showed him how it worked.
From Gombossy’s article:
“Company spokesman Justin Barber, who in early February denied the existence of the internal website that could be accessed only by employees, says his company is “cooperating fully” with the state attorney general’s investigation.
Barber insists that the company never intended to mislead customers.
State Attorney General Richard Blumenthal ordered the investigation into Best Buy’s practices on Feb. 9 after my column disclosed the website and showed how employees at two Connecticut stores used it to deny customers a $150 discount on a computer advertised on BestBuy.com.
Blumenthal said Wednesday that Best Buy has also confirmed to his office the existence of the intranet site, but has so far failed to give clear answers about its purpose and use.”
Whether or not Best Buy is intentionally using this alternate website to rip-off its customers remains to be seen. However, after reading Gombossy’s original article and the example of how the website was used to deny a customer of a $150 sale, it seems pretty clear that the site offers the option of misleading customers at the very least.