I’m flirting with buying a blu-ray player (although frankly I have been for a long time) and I’ve had my eye on the Sony BDPS350. It’s been as low as £158 on Amazon recently although it’s up to £169 now. I like Amazon, but when buying expensive electronics sometimes it’s nice to be able to walk back into the store with the bits in your arms and say ‘it’s broke, make it work’, and obviously it’s difficult to do that with Amazon.
So I checked in PC World, and the same player was £230. Being generous that’s about £60 more expensive. Yes I understand PC World has to staff stores and pay rent, but still that’s a bit crazy. However, PC World has a price promise, I quote,
Price Match Plus: We promise we won’t be beaten on price!
So I thought, maybe I should point PC World to the Amazon price and we could get the benefit of a good price and be able to pick it up in store. So I read a bit further, and even this bit sounded ok,
We check our prices against major retailers and websites every day so you can buy with confidence.
Oh cool, they check websites, not just high street stores.
But then you check the rest of the page,
This applies to prices offered by retailers within 30 miles of your local PC World store.
The product must be identical, in stock and available for immediate home delivery in one of the retailers detailed below – single unit purchases only.
This price promise applies to:
Argos, Comet, Jessops, Tesco, John Lewis, Asda, B&Q, Game Gamestation, Halfords, HMV, Maplin, Staples, Toys R Us, Zavvi.
In other words, they can’t or won’t compete with the price that Amazon offers. So the price promise is basically a statement which says, we’ll match the price of stores in your local area, who in turn are probably just matching our prices or those nearby, so in your area it doesn’t really matter who’s selling this item you’re going to pay out of the nose for it.
High street retailers complain that online shopping is destroying their business, I can’t believe PC World has to charge £60 more for a Blu-ray player to cover their store costs compared to Amazon’s costs, so I suggest it’s their overpricing which is destroying their business.
Of course, if you want truly crazy, Kays Catalog charge £269 for the very same player. Now that is insane (especially since the higher spec BDPS550 is £238 on Amazon).