That Low Price Guarantee

Comparing Speeds & Specs

With back to school right around the corner, no doubt you’ve started looking at options for that new computer for you or your family. Like most retailers these days, we see advertisements stating, ‘Low Price Guarantee.’ If you’re like me, seeing those three magic words makes me feel at ease. It reassures me that I am going to get the best price on that brand new computer. It also signals that the retailer is going to match a lower price, if I find one someplace else.

This month, I’m shedding some light and bringing some truth to that low price guarantee. Don’t get me wrong; Places like Staples, The Source and Best Buy (to name a few) all offer a low price guarantee, but the key to getting those big box retailers to match a lower price someplace else depends on the model numbers. 

Warning! Big box retailers might not match the lowest price

Why does the model number matter so much? Because most manufacturers (Dell, Toshiba, Asus, Acer, etc..) will do what’s called a ‘custom SKU’ for the big box retailers. This means that the model at Best Buy will be a different model number than the one at Staples, and the one at Walmart will be different from the one at The Source. This is a practice that has been in the electronics industry for years. Mainly on TVs, but for the last number of years, on computers, as well. 

 The key to getting those big box retailers to match a lower price someplace else depends on the model numbers

So back to the opening question: Why does the model number matter? The answer: So retailers can say that it’s a different model, therefore, they don’t have to honour the low price guarantee.

The idea that two computers, with the same speed and specs (from the same manufacturer) will have different model numbers, is crazy to me. Speeds and specs make much more sense for the way we shop. We all compare the hard drive size, the processor, and the memory, anyway. Big box retailers should shift their low price guarantee and compete for your business based on similar computer specs, not on model numbers. 

Sadly, things are not going to change this year or next, but with you, the consumer, empowered, maybe we can start to make a change for the better. This back-to-school season, when you’re shopping, look at the specs, and ask your big box retailer to match speeds and specs, rather than a model number and, perhaps, they will make the low price guarantee into something meaningful again.

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