A Big-Screen TV for $9.99?

By Mike Musgrove
Washington Post Staff Writer
Wednesday, August 12, 2009; 5:22 PM

Some online bargain hunters were upset on Wednesday to find that Best Buy won't be selling them a large plasma screen TV for the price of a movie ticket.

Through an apparent mistake, the retailer's Web site had listed a 52-inch set at a price of $9.99 for several hours. That's a great offer for a Samsung set that typically costs $1,699.99, but it's not a price that the retailer decided to honor.

At Best Buy's Web site and other consumer electronics sites, some readers posted that they had ordered as many as 10 sets in the hopes of getting what would be a very rare deal for a high definition TV. According to one account, shoppers were lined up outside a Best Buy store in Alexandria in order to buy the television Wednesday morning. A call to that store went unanswered Wednesday afternoon.

In a posting to its site late in the morning, however, the retailer announced it would be canceling all $10 orders for the set. The note pointed shoppers to a passage in its policies saying that the company doesn't have to stick to prices published by mistake.

"We sincerely apologize for this error and make every effort to ensure issues like this do not happen," read a statement posted by the company at 10:26 a.m. "While we are truly embarrassed that this occurred, Best Buy will not be able to honor the $9.99 price."

That wasn't good enough for many Web-surfing customers, many of whom characterized the matter as a stunt to get people to register at Best Buy's Web site. As of Wednesday afternoon, the site's customer forums was flooded with some very bitter complaints about the matter.

"If they are gonna advertise something at that price they should have to stick with it," read one typical comment.

Lawyers have already been called. One disgruntled Best Buy shopper has even started a site, TenDollarHDTV.com, in an effort to rally his fellow shoppers to action.

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