Bait and Switch: Futureshop won't let me buy an item which is in stock! - Canadian TV, Computing and Home Theatre Forums
 
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post #1 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 03:55 PM Thread Starter
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Bait and Switch: Futureshop won't let me buy an item which is in stock!

Intro:
For the record, I buy most of my Home Theatre equipment at Trutone Electronics and Audio Empire and I buy my computer equipment at NCIX and occasionally at TigerDirect. I normally avoid buying anything at Futureshop and Best Buy because I don't like their business practices but sometimes their just aren't any good alternatives in our country.

My Story:

This morning I went to Futureshop on Queensway in Etobicoke to buy my son an HP laptop that was on sale. The salesrep told me Futureshop was all sold out but I could buy a more expensive laptop with a lower performance rating for 50% more!

After I told the rep I wouldn't buy the more expensive laptop, he told me they might have some "on reserve". Instantly, the words "bait and switch" leapt to mind. Sure enough, they had the laptops in stock but they were all "reserved".

Now this term may be well known to many here but since I don't shop a lot at Futureshop, I asked for an explanation. For those of who don't know, "Reserved" means that if anyone goes on the Futureshop site and says they want one of these items, the store will set the item aside for two days. The person has not put down a down payment or paid for the item, they have simply said they "might" show up at the store and "might" buy the item.

So in summary Futureshop will not sell "in stock" items to customers who show up with cash in hand on the chance that a websurfer somewhere might show up sometime in the next few days!

Clearly turning customers away at the store with cash in hand for customers who "might" show up and "might" buy the product sometime in the future makes no sense until you realize that it is fundamental to their bait and switch strategy!


Futureshop doesn't want to sell you the inexpensive item, they want you to show up at the store and buy more expensive items. They don't care if they never sell the cheap item because its essentially being sold at cost.

The most annoying part of it all...the manager at Futureshop.

The manager denied my assertion that Futureshop was engaging in a bait and switch strategy. He made it perfectly clear that I could have got on the Futureshop website at 12:01am Friday Morning and reserved the item to which I could only reply "REALLY?". The manager was very condescending, even suggesting that I was pretty stupid for showing up on Saturday morning expecting to be able to buy the advertised item.

I remember now why I haven't shopped at Futureshop in several years!



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post #2 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 04:01 PM Thread Starter
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FYI, for those who say this isn't Bait and Switch by Best Buy and Futureshop then the problem is very easy to solve.

The obvious solution to this problem is to limit reservations to no more than one or two hours (i.e./ long enough for potential customers to get to the store so they don't arrive and find it out of stock).

If people want longer reservations then they should have to either: buy the product before showing up or pay a small holding fee that would only be refunded if they buy the product or something similar.



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post #3 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 04:13 PM
 
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On the other hand, it is convenient being able to reserve something now and then casually amble into the store later today, or perhaps tomorrow, to pick it up.

Many places will try to upsell. "Would you like gravy with your fries?" seems to have replaced supersizing, but it's all the same thing.
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post #4 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 04:21 PM
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Bait and Switch: Futureshop won't let me buy an item which is in stock!

So you are saying, someone who reserved something can't pick it up because they can't make it to the store in 2 hours and what if the store is not open in the said 2 hours?

And how do you know that, as soon as you left, the person who reserved it came to pick it up?

How would you feel, if you reserved something and can't pick it up for 2 hours and 1 minute and someone who is there just as you come gets the one that was reserved for you?

2 days is fine for reserving.
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post #5 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 04:27 PM
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By the way, according to the rules on the FutureShop website, the reservation is for 24 hours only. So in theory, if you show up near closing time, there should be plenty of reservations which will expire as there would not be an opportunity to pick up the item until opening then next day.

Ask to see the list of "reservations" and expiry times.
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post #6 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 04:43 PM
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From their site

Quote:
How soon can I pick up my order?

Once your order is placed and the items are reserved, you will receive the Reserve and Pick Up Notification email, in about 20 minutes after making your order during store hours. (Please wait to receive the Reserve and Pick Up Notification Email as this confirms your store has reserved your item(s) and they are now ready to be picked up.) Within two days after the notification email has been received, visit the store you selected and pick up your product during store hours.

Note: You’ll be paying at the time of pick up, so you can choose from our full range of payment options, including cash, credit card, debit card and financing.
http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/reserve-pickup.aspx
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post #7 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 04:59 PM
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I don't think it's bait and switch, I think it's just bad business practices on their part. The whole point of a steeply discounted sale item is to bring customers into the store, and hope they buy something else while they're there. If you let them reserve it online, and then buy it at the front of the store without walking through, you diminish your chances of tacking on to that sale.

Futureshop shouldn't take reservations on sale items. Make customers walk into the store and get it. It's in their own best interests as well!

FWIW, I'm a fan of the online reservation system. A couple of weeks ago I went to the Futureshop at Yonge/Dundas to buy a cheap pair of earbuds. The website said they were in stock, but when I got there they didn't have any. It was probably just an issue with the stock system, which happens to every company.

There was another Futureshop on my way home, but I didn't want to stop there on the basis of the online stock system, which had already failed me once. I used the online system to reserve a pair in store, ensuring that they were actually there, and picked them up on my way home. If I'd had to pay a fee (even a nominal one) to reserve a $20 pair of earbuds, I doubt I would have done it, just in case something came up and I couldn't stop on my way home, but this system worked well for me.

Still, I can definitely see how, in a case like this, the only person who clearly wins is the guy who reserved the laptop. Futureshop, and every other customer, probably loses.

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post #8 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 06:43 PM
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When I look at the rules I get:


Quote:
Please note: Items will be held for 24 hours from the time the confirmation email is sent. After 24 hours, your reservation will be cancelled and the items will return to store stock.
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post #9 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 07:24 PM
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I found your info.
http://www.futureshop.ca/en-CA/help/...ategory%20List

So 24 hours is fine.

I checked the forums and the only thread says 2 days.
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post #10 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 07:35 PM Thread Starter
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Quote:
By the way, according to the rules on the FutureShop website, the reservation is for 24 hours only.
Well then the manager lied to me because he was very clear that the reservation was two days. The manager also noted that he was happy that it was two days because previously it was three. I didn't make up what he told me. It's really sad that the Futureshop manager didn't even know his own companies rules!


Quote:
When I look at the rules I get:
And when I looked I found

Quote:
Exceptions
At certain times, and for certain products, Reserve and Pick Up may be unavailable to allow all customers in-store and online equal access to:

Specific sale items (e.g. Boxing day/Week sale items)
Limited quantity/hot items
The flyer is clear that this is a "limited quantity item" so why were reservations even allowed since it violates their own rules?

It seems that Futureshop abides by the rules that suit them that day. It seems that Some days there are no reservations for "limited quantity" items and other days there is reservations for limited quantity items. My guess is that the decision to allow reservations or not depends on the amount of product that can be used for upselling.

ie./ Sometimes there are no reservations, Sometimes the reservations are for 24 hours and other times (if the manager decides) its two days. FWIW, I expect companies to apply their rules consistently so as a consumer I know what to expect.

While some may call it "upsizing" or marketing, to me, its bait and switch when the rules change all the time to benefit the store and not the customers.

Quote:
FWIW, I'm a fan of the online reservation system
I dont' have a problem with the system if its fair. I just think that sales should be on a first come first serve basis. As I noted, if you paid a non-refundable deposit then go ahead.

The Futureshop way is like the people who run down to the pool in the morning, put a towel on the best chaise lounge and then come back five hours later and demand that they should have that chaise. For me, you should pay for the priviledge or have it first come first serve.

FWIW, If people are happy shopping at Best Buy (aka Futureshop) and are willing to log on to their website at 12:01 am on Friday morning to get the latest special then more power to you. I just prefer to deal with a company that has integrity and can commit to its own rules.

Signing off and Cheers!



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post #11 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-08-31, 09:49 PM
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Maybe it's bad business but I live over an hour away from a Future Shop. I don't spend $30 on gas unless I know I can get my items. Just another side to the story. Future Shop has been terrific for me to deal with although their practices and pricing might be questionable. I don't have many other good choices. Even dealing with their owner BB I get to drive 4 hours for a return if an online order doesn' t perform.
Now I picked up from Visions yesterday and it took 17 minutes for them to find the item reserved and nobody knew what the pvr expander was until it got to the manager!!!

Reserving is really no different than buying because if I gave them my card(I would be happy to do) I am still able to not pick up and get a refund or pickup and then return if not happy.
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post #12 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-09-01, 01:24 AM
 
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The in-store reservation has been in place for quite some time, and its definitely not bait and switch if all the sale products are spoken for.

The idea of the reservation is to hold the item in store until the person can pick it up. Products are sold first come first serve. You just need to either order the item online (for reservation or delivery) or pick one up in store before they are all spoken for. Its a brilliant concept, and I use it frequently. Holding an item for in-store pickup for 24 hours is reasonable time frame. People can't always drop what their doing and go to the store within 2 hours, that's not an "obvious solution."

IMO the sales rep shouldn't even have mentioned the items on hold for in-store pickup and should have just considered those items gone.

You missed out on the deal fair and square, just let it go.

FYI I believe the holding time change from 48 hours to 24 hours was very recent.
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post #13 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-09-01, 09:33 AM
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I disagree that what happened was "bait-and-switch", but I do agree that anyone reserving an item should be required to pay a non-refundable deposit. This will ensure that people don't frivolously reserve items and reduce the # available to the in-store buying public.
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post #14 of 14 (permalink) Old 2013-09-27, 05:14 AM
 
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Angry

@Hugh

RE: "I just prefer to deal with a company that has integrity and can commit to its own rules."

I guess then we are down to only 1 or 2 companies nowadays...

I see governments are following business' lack of ethics or vice versa...

Regards,
Doug
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