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Best Buy Challenges GameStop with New Games for the Price of Old

The Internet gaming community is abuzz over a deal spotted in a West Jordan, Utah Best Buy store that promises to match GameStop and Game Crazy prices on used video games with like charges for new products.

Attributed to a forum member on the website, word on the match promise comes with a photo of a promotional sign that reads: Best Buy now matches NEW video games at USED prices from Gamestop or Game Crazy.

All capitalization is Best Buy's.

Of course, Best Buy has lately been paying close attention to the prices its competitors offer on popular consumer electronics. When Wal-Mart came out with a $298 laptop computer, Best Buy countered with a $299 model.

Best Buy's price matching has been controversial in the past. This is particularly true of its everyday policy of matching competitors' prices, although targeted price promotions have caused some comment as well. With the everyday program, it has suffered accusations that at least some store employees and managers disregard company policy and refuse to meet competitor prices. Best Buy contends that all legitimate prices that meet its criteria are matched, although store employees will question offers that don't seem credible.

When Best Buy began to promote a $299 laptop to counter Wal-Mart's $298 model, Wal-Mart objected that it was selling a superior three-gigabyte Compaq versus what it characterized as the inferior two-gig Toshiba on offer from its specialty store rival.

Matching prices always is a tricky business and generally brings up retailers' competitive hackles. Ultimately, though, by taking on retailers such as Wal-Mart and GameStop, which have done well in the recession based on their low-price reputations, Best Busy is doing itself a favor. It is generating buzz about how far it will go to have -- or at least equal -- the best prices.

And while rumors are rumors, the site claims it got a call back from a Best Buy representative confirming that the West Jordan promotion is a legitimate, if local test. Bnet still is waiting for a reply to a weekend phone call to Best Buy seeking our own independent confirmation.

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