Best TV Prices – Not at hhgregg

A couple months ago, I posted about how to find the best TV prices.  Well, I’ve been eyeing up a new LED TV myself and I finally pulled the trigger. 

I used the TV buying process described in that post and ended up finding the best price using Google Shopping.  I managed to buy it for almost half of the manufacturer’s suggested list price.  Not too shabby!  However, I had an unpleasant experience with a retailer along the way and felt the need to share it.

As I was TV shopping, I walked into an hhgregg store for the first time.   I was initially impressed by their willingness to haggle on electronics.  I had hoped to find the best possible TV price online and then ask them to beat it with their 110% price match guarantee.  Well, I found that guarantee to be virtually worthless.

I spoke with a salesman about a Samsung LED TV and asked if there was any wiggle room in the price.  He checked with his manager and came back to tell me there was an error on the price tag and that it actually should have been marked up $300 higher.  He said he would honor the lower price if I bought it that day.  Starting to sound like a scam?  Wait, it gets better. 

I very politely mentioned to him that I thought I had seen a better price online.  Apparently this angered him and he immediately changed his tone.  In disbelief, he turned and told me to follow him back to his manager’s office to prove it to him.  As friendly as I could be, I told him I usually used Google Shopping.  To his (and his manager’s) surprise, Google returned about six sites that offered the same TV for $500 cheaper than their lowest (mislabeled) price.

I stood there silently waiting for his reaction and out of nowhere, his manager barked at me “I don’t have to beat any online prices.  There’s no way I’m gonna do that!”.  Keep in mind, I hadn’t said a word to this woman, in fact she didn’t even introduce herself.  Then the salesman informed me that I’d be crazy to buy online and that he would never consider doing it.  I thanked him for his time and walked out.  Still angry at how I was treated, I got home and looked up hhgregg’s guarantee:

hhgregg's In-Store 110% Price Guarantee

hhgregg absolutely guarantees that you won't find a lower price on the products we sell. If for some reason you find a lower price from a competitor's local store on the same in-stock model, we'll honor their price plus give you 10% of the difference – on the spot…

If you read the fine print, you’ll see they are only required to match LOCAL store prices.  Well, they’re entitled to their policies and to try to make money.  But they are not entitled to be rude!  And they won’t be making any money off of me.

Unlike the salesman, I have no problem using technology and buying online.  I’ve bought TV's over the Internet in the past and I did it again to end up saving over $1600 off the list price and $800 off the current price of that TV at hhgregg!

If that’s not enough, here are a few other bad experiences I've had at hhgregg:

On my first visit, I was chatting up the salesman about the Samsung UN55C8000 LED 3D-TV (a beautiful set).  I asked him if he could reduce the price a little.  He told me that he couldn’t reduce the price, but he would be willing to throw in a Blu-ray player and a 3D starter kit (2 sets of  3D glasses and 3 Shrek DVDs) if I bought that day.  Now I could care less about the 3D kit or the Blu-ray player, but it sounded like a good deal.  Until I later found out that both items were included for free with the TV as a special promotion from Samsung!  Man was I was pissed!  This guy had played it off like he was doing me a favor, when in reality those items would have been included regardless.

Fast forward to a later visit.  I was inquiring about IR extenders.  I have Verizon FIOS TV and was told by several friends (and a helpful employee at Radioshack) that you could buy a small device that would allow you to put all your TV components in another room.  At hhgregg, they told me the only way that would be possible is to buy both a Logitech remote and Logitech IR extender for about $350.  And by doing this I wouldn’t be able to use the Verizon remote.  Well, these guys work on commission which is probably why he tried to mislead me into purchasing a high priced product.  I ended up buying an IR extender for $40 at Radioshack that allows me to still use my Verizon remote. 

An IR extender is a very cool way to hide your AV components out of sight.  Not only that, but you can save $200-300 by not purchasing an AV cabinet or shelving.  I keep my components out of the way on an old rack in my storage room.  It’s a pretty sweet setup!

I try not to make negative posts here, but I feel obligated to share this as a cautionary tale.  If you are in senior management at hhgregg and wish to get more details on my experiences, please leave a comment below.

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