Reporting Jennifer McLogan
GARDEN CITY, N.Y. (CBS 2) – He was shopping for a great deal, but a Long Island man said he got the runaround from a popular department store when he tried to take advantage of their price-matching promise.
Warren Danks bought a 46-inch Sony Bravia television that Sears listed for $3,600. Dank shopped around and found an identical television, with the exact same features, for a lot less, reports CBS 2′s Jennifer McLogan.
“I go online and I see two other retailers selling the same TV for $1,200 cheaper and $800 cheaper,” Dank said. “Their response was that [they] don’t price-match to these particular retailers in the city; they only price-match to stores like Best Buy and Circuit City.”
Dank claims Sears failed to honor its nationally advertised policy – matching any lower price, plus giving 10 percent of the difference – so Dank decided to sue.
After struggling in the courts for more than three years, a jury was seated and the trial finally began.
“Bait-and-switch schemes to lure customers into the store – it is for that reason why this is being brought to trial,” Dank said. “It is not about the money; it’s about exposing the fraud.”
Dank said Sears eventually matched the $2,800 price for the TV, but he was denied the lowest price, $2,400. He claims the local retailers in Garden City and Hicksville told him individual Sears stores have discretion on how to honor Sears’ price guarantee.
Sears denies any wrongdoing, and said it will do its talking in court.
Business experts say the trial is about trust.
“I don’t want to be harassed, I don’t want to be made to look like an idiot,” Hofstra University professor Dr. Barry Berman said. “I want to walk to be able to walk in the store and say, ‘match it.’”
It is always best to be clear on a store’s exact policy. Now, a jury will decide if a big retailer ripped off a little consumer, or if Sears played fair and square.
The plaintiff, Warren Dank, is an attorney, and he said he’ll be representing himself at trial. So far, he said he’s spent 800 hours of his own time preparing the case.