The price match is as much part of the American shopping experience as the return policy and late shopping hours.

While electronics retailing has a long history of failed national and regional chains (think Circuit City, Tweeter, Goodguys, Wiz and Federated to name a few) the “new” reality called Amazon seems to be one that Sears and Best Buy executives can’t bring themselves to recognize.

Store policy is to not price match Amazon in any way, potentially losing the sale altogether.

The Problem

Sears and Best Buy are the only full line HDTV national retailers left in the US. Best Buy and Sears price match policies prohibit price matching of Amazon direct (or any on-line presence without a local brick and mortar store). These retail giants are ignoring the obvious. Amazon TV pricing is almost always lower than either retailer and Amazon sales continue to grow while Sears and Best Buy TV revenue keeps shrinking. According to Best Buy’s latest quarterly filing, US comparable store sales (three months ending May 28) dropped 2.4%. The combined HDTV/digital camera category dropped by 6.8% in revenue as compared to the same period last year. Sears comp sales are also down.

Why Amazon Direct Instead?

In addition to lower prices, Amazon Direct has free shipping and no sales tax with the exceptions of six states (CO, KS, KY, NY, ND & WA). You always must pay sales tax when buying at any brick and mortar store.

Like Sears and Best Buy, Amazon Direct offers a 30 day return policy. The big difference, with the retailers you need to either pay the return freight back with BB and Sears or bring it to the store (BB’s policy states it will pick up “reasonable and customary shipping” for defective sets). Amazon direct always provides free return shipping.

Sears and Best Buy Are Becoming Amazon’s Showroom

Trends indicate more and more consumers are going to the brick and mortars to chose the HDTV they want, only and return home empty handed to order from Amazon to save money. Best Buy and Sears are well aware HDTVs have low margins to begin with. This is why after you pick your HDTV they’ll push other goods and services on to you. Funny thing is many of these are necessities when purchasing an HDTV. These profit-rich  items include an HDMI cable, a wall mount or table to hold the HDTV, installation and wiring services. Stores also offer highly profitable extended warranties and financing in the form of a store credit card.

By not price matching, Best Buy and Sears make 100% of nothing!

Unlike the national chains, some regional dealers and chains try to meet or beat an Amazon price. They know Amazon does not sell products below cost, and it gives them the opportunity to add on the above-mentioned higher margin goods and services. Here is a link to our article on how to negotiate with these dealers.

Let’s compare some Amazon on-line HDTV prices to Best Buy and Sears in that order. (Prices effective on June 14)

Sony BRAVIA KDL46EX720 46-Inch 1080p 3D LED HDTV, BlackRetail $1600/Amazon $1198.18/BB $1348.99/Sears $1349.99

Panasonic VIERA TC-P50GT30 50-Inch 1080p 3D Plasma HDTV Retail $1900/Amazon $1358.27/BB $1709.99/Sears $1709.99 (Amazon currently includes free Avatar 3D starter kit)

Panasonic VIERA TC-P50S30 50-Inch 1080p Plasma HDTV Retail $1100/Amazon $889.99/BB $919.99/Sears not available

Samsung PN51D450 51-Inch 720p 600Hz Plasma HDTV (Black) Retail $799.99/Amazon $699.99/BB $799.99/Sears $699.99

LG 42LK520 42-Inch 1080p LCD TV – BlackRetail $800/Amazon $568.00/BB $579.99/Sears $717.00


Happy Returns?

We all make mistakes, and picking the wrong TV could happen. What if you are not happy with your purchase?  All stores want the original box, packing materials and included accessories (we can’t blame them).

Best Buy’s accepts 30 day returns on TVs, but its policy states “Best Buy reserves the right to deny any return” Ouch!

Sears accepts TVs up to thirty days,  however they add ” Home Electronics returned in opened boxes may, but need not be, determined to have been used.” allowing them to charge you a 15% restocking charge. Ouch!

Amazon direct gives 30 days return privileges and free return shipping. Their website states “The TV must be in new condition with the original packaging and accessories. TVs purchased from, or from a seller but fulfilled by Amazon, will have FREE Return Shipping (via our Online Returns Center) up to 30 days from the date you receive the TV.

The TV must be in new condition with the original packaging and accessories. Products missing the serial number or UPC cannot be accepted; refunds will not issue refunds for such items.” (typo on website)


Final Thoughts

To date we’ve ordered electronics and other items from  Amazon  with 100% satisfaction. When we’ve received defective goods, a phone call to Amazon customer service always solved our problem with a no shipping cost replacement.

Some people have a fear of placing orders on-line in terms of security. We have not heard of any Amazon problem to date, and federal regulations protect consumers against unauthorized charges on credit cards (consumers do need to follow proper procedures if fraudulent charges ever appear).

The only other issue is getting a new large screen TV from the inside front door to where it is going to sit. According to Amazon customer service large TVs include inside delivery and damage inspection but the buyer needs to make his or her own arrangements to have the TV set in place and attached to the table stand if necessary. Sears and Best Buy offer “set in place” delivery  service.

HD Guru hopes the big box retailers eventually wake up and smell the coffee, but in the meantime buying an HDTV from Amazon makes a lot of sense. Below we list copies of the relevant portions of the Sears, Best Buy and Amazon return policies obtained from their respective websites.


Return Policies:

Amazon TV Returns

TVs purchased from, or from a seller but fulfilled by Amazon, will have FREE Return Shipping (via our Online Returns Center) up to 30 days from the date you receive the TV.

The TV must be in new condition with the original packaging and accessories. Products missing the serial number or UPC cannot be accepted; refunds will not issue refunds for such items. (Amazon typo reprinted as-is) is happy to accept returns for large TVs that are shipped via our specialty shippers. These items do require a special type of return and cannot be returned with a pre-paid return mailing label like standard shipments. If you need to return a TV purchased from or a seller but fulfilled by Amazon, which was shipped via a specialty shipper, visit our Online Returns Center and request the return. We’ll follow up with instructions for returning the TV.

For returns of all other TV’s purchased from a seller, please contact the seller directly by going to “Your Orders” in Your Account. Then click the “Contact Seller” button on the order you’re interested in returning. To view the seller’s return policy, click the “Return items” button on the order below “Contact Seller”.

Best Buy Store Return Policies

Best Buy Discretion

Best Buy reserves the right to deny any return.

Some tests may use a different set of policies. When a different policy is in effect, you will be informed of those differences prior to purchase.

If you are returning an item because it is damaged or defective, or the wrong item was shipped:

  • We recommend that you return the item to a Best Buy store.
  • If you prefer to mail it, you must call for special instructions:  1-888-BEST BUY (1-888-237-8289)
  • We will cover all reasonable and customary ground shipping fees.


Exchange and Return Period

Exchange or return your item anytime from the original purchase date within the timeframe below:

  • 14 days for computers, monitors, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, iPads, tablets and radar detectors
  • 30 days for all other products
  • 45 days for all products for Reward Zone Program Premier Silver members*

*If you are returning a mobile phone or device with a plan, Best Buy is not responsible for carrier charges incurred after the carrier’s cancellation period. Please refer to the terms and conditions of your plan to verify the carrier conditions.

Non-Returnable Items

Some items cannot be returned, including:

  • Labor, delivery and/or installation services
  • Pre-paid cards such as music, photo, video or phone cards
  • Digital content (e.g. music downloads from Napster)
  • Pitch Inâ„¢ Card contributions
  • Consumable items such as food, drink and batteries
  • Items that are damaged or abused
  • Items that are missing accessories, such as remote controls, cords and cables
  • Etched or otherwise personalized items
  • Opened computer software, movies, music and video games can be exchanged for the identical item but cannot be returned for a refund


Sears Return Policies

Our goal is that you are completely satisfied with your purchase. If for any reason you are not satisfied, simply return your purchase in its original packaging, with your original receipt/email confirmation within 90 days of your purchase, 30 days from the purchase date for Home Electronics, Mattresses, air conditioners, gas powered equipment, jewelry and watches for a refund or exchange. Video Games, CD’s, DVD’s, computer software and sports/toy collectibles must be unopened for a refund or exchange. For other items, including folding guest beds, air/inflatable beds, continuous air bouncers, water slides, pools, gas powered lawn equipment, power tools, scooters over $149.99, specialty occasion clothing, video camera/camcorders, handbags, jewelry and watches, if the original packaging has been opened or tags and/or labels have been removed the items will only be exchanged with an identical item or a substantially similar item of equal value. Replacement products obtained in an exchange transaction will only be exchanged and are not eligible for a refund. Returns and exchanges are not allowed on customized jewelry.

Where applicable, all refunds will be issued in the same form as the original method of payment. If you are not satisfied with your purchase after this, please let us know. Your satisfaction is important to Sears.

  • Restocking/Cancellation Fee Policy (Not applicable in HI)

A 15% restocking fee is charged on Home Electronics returned without the original box, used, and without all of the original product packaging and accessories; Mattresses, built in Home Appliances, and special orders on Hardware, Sporting Goods, Lawn & Garden, and Automotive merchandise. Home Electronics returned in opened boxes may, but need not be, determined to have been used. Special orders cancelled after 24 hours of purchase are subject to a 15% order cancellation fee.



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