[funsec] Besy Buy has a parallel Web site also

Richard M. Smith rms at computerbytesman.com
Sat Mar 3 06:58:19 CST 2007


Best Buy Confirms It Has Secret Website

March 2, 2007 

Under pressure from state investigators, Best Buy is now confirming my
reporting that its stores have a secret intranet site that has been used to
block some consumers from getting cheaper prices advertised on BestBuy.com.

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

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.

"Their responses seem to raise as many questions as they answer," Blumenthal
said in an interview. "Their answers are less than crystal clear."

Based on what his office has learned, Blumenthal said, it appears the
consumer has the burden of informing Best Buy sales people of the cheaper
price listed on its Internet site, which he said "is troubling."

What is more troubling to me, and to some Best Buy customers, is that even
when one informs a salesperson of the Internet price, customers have been
shown the intranet site, which looks identical to the Internet site, but
does not always show the lowest price.

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