Best Buy Bait and Switch (almost)
Please see the update at the end of this post.
I'm in the market for a new PC. One of the machines I'm considering is the Dell XPS 420. Dollar for dollar the XPS 630 looks like the better deal but the 420 is still in the running (as is building my own). While looking at what Best Buy has to offer online I noticed for the first time that they sell Dell machines including a couple of XPSs. I had no idea that best sold Dells.
The best buy site is offering a XPS 420 for $899.99 (image here in case it gets changed), only 99 cents more than the base model at dell.com. But wait... that's not the base model. The one at bestbuy.com is 2.66 GHz quad core, a $200 upgrade to the base model's 2.40 quad core. It has a 500 GB hard drive, a $50 upgrade to the base model's 320 GB. It has the ATI RADEON HD 2600 XT upgrade, another $100 addition to the base model. It also is listed as having a media card reader ($20) and a 56K modem ($20). All told I priced the equivalent machine on Dell.com for $1,309 (image here).
Sounds like a great deal and with a best buy only a block away I decided to take my son for a walk and see this monster in person. It looked like a nice machine. I was impressed with it's size (big like I like my PCs). First thing odd I noticed was that there was no media reader. Ok, then I opened the system properties dialog and noticed the machine was listed at 2.40 GHz... what? I didn't look at the other items because I frankly had forgotten.
I then asked a blue shirt for the specs on this machine. He returned a minute later with a print out from the website. I told him that the machine is listed as at 2.66 GHz but the display model was only 2.4. GHz. He brushed it off as a misprint. I then pointed out the missing media reader. He then proceeded to look everywhere for the media reader (including inside). In then end we agreed the website was wrong and that buying it in-store or online will result in the same base setup.
Returning home I see now that two people reviewed this machine online mentioned that they got a 2.4 GHz model. No mention of the other features. Surprisingly they all still give good ratings. I would have been pissed off if I had purchased this machine online and received the base model.
Update (5/18/2008): I managed to take a look at the box for this computer today. The label on the box lists all the same specs as the website minus the 2.66 GHz processor. Apparently the only thing missing if this machine if purchased in store or online is the CPU upgrade from 2.40 to 2.66 ($200 value). The display model in the store, however, is the base model missing all the extras.