Minneapolis - Best Buy has standardized its return and price-match policies across all product categories.
Beginning this Sunday, March 4, the company will match prices at local brick-and-mortar stores, and will accept returns without stocking fees, for 30 days on both in-store and online purchases.
The chain will also provide free phone support during that period.
The program, dubbed "The Perfect Match Promise," was first launched in August for TVs more than $899 and appliances more than $429. The previous plans provided two months of price protection and, for TVs, a three-year zero-percent financing offer, but no phone support.
Best Buy's current return window is two weeks for desktop and notebook computers, tablets, monitors, projectors, camcorders, digital cameras, radar detectors, DJ equipment and lighting, pro audio, and home recording equipment, and 30 days for all other products. The company dropped all restocking fees last fall.
"We've created the Perfect Match Promise to ensure customer peace of mind," said Drew Panayiotou, Best Buy's U.S. marketing senior VP. "Our research clearly shows that consumers are looking for help when it comes to technology set up, and that there is a need to find a great deal."
The program, he added, "is a simple and straightforward guarantee."
The company cited an in-house consumer survey showing that 44 percent of consumers have taken advantage of a price match policy at one or more retailers, and that more than one-third of consumers have kept an item that wasn't suitable rather than return it, mostly because the return process is "too much of a hassle."
Also, when asked which expert they would like to have on call 24/7, more than one third of respondents chose a tech expert, ahead of dentists (17 percent), chefs (15 percent) or fitness instructors (11 percent). Only doctors (65 percent) and police officers (56 percent) were in greater demand.
The new price match policy covers any brick-and-mortar retailer within a 25-mile radius, but does not extend to stores' websites.
Other exclusions include: offers that include financing; bundles; free items; pricing errors; mail-in offers; competitors' service prices; items that are advertised as limited-quantity, out of stock, open-box, clearance, or refurbished/used; BestBuy.com Midnight Sale and special-hour sale events; BestBuy.com Outlet Center and Marketplace items; and Black Friday weekend and Cyber Monday sales.