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Call Kurtis Investigates: The Price Matching Honesty Test

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Kurtis Ming Kurtis Ming
Eight-time Emmy Award winner Kurtis Ming is CBS13's consumer...
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As you head into the holiday shopping season, some stores claim to match prices or have low price guarantees.  Is it really as simple as finding a lower price somewhere else?    We put four different stores to the honesty test.

Our first stop is Fry’s in Sacramento. The sign outside reads,”We match internet prices.”

Scanning the aisles, our producer finds a 70-inch Sharp 3D TV for $2,999.

Same exact TV is online for $2,385 more than $600 less.

Producer: “Do you guys price match?

Sales rep: Yes, as long as it’s authorized.”

Producer: “As long as it’s authorized, what does that mean?”

Remember that big sign outside?  We found it has an asterisk. It says “see store for details.”

The salesman says they’ll only price match for “authorized competitors” and the store we found is not one of them. Then the store clerk admitted to our undercover producers, Fry’s price matching ad is misleading.

Producer: “You said it was misleading?”

Sales Rep: “It is kind of misleading because it says price match. Boom, you know and then you guys get down here.”

“That kind of advertising is very frustrating,” said Louis DeNicola, Cheapism.com writer.

DeNicola says just because stores say they price match, doesn’t mean they will on everything, especially up against online retailers who don’t pay for storefronts.

“Some stores really can’t afford to match online prices,” said DeNicola.

Our next stop is Best Buy where they advertise a low price guarantee.

So we scan the aisles, finding an HP Envy 17-inch laptop for $1,029.99.

But we find one at Costco for $999.99.  Will Best Buy match the price?

Sales Rep: “Costco, I don’t believe so just because they actually have to have a membership with them.”

But then a different worker told us they would.

Producer: “Initially I was told you guys don’t price match with Costco?

2nd sales rep: “No, we price match with Costco.”

Producer: “Okay.”

Then they realize the Costco model actually has a bit more memory and because it’s not the exact same model,  Best Buy refuses to price match.

“Large stores do have arrangements with manufacturers to create items specifically for that store and all those would be excluded from price matching policies,” said DeNicola.

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