I have to admit that I didn’t know what to think when news appeared today that Best Buy was running a promotion for the Palm Pre for just $99.99. The Pre has been a rock-solid $199.99 since its release just a few weeks ago, and this […]

I have to admit that I didn’t know what to think when news appeared today that Best Buy was running a promotion for the Palm Pre for just $99.99. The Pre has been a rock-solid $199.99 since its release just a few weeks ago, and this 50 percent drop in price (with a 2-year contract) seemed too good to be true. Perhaps it is, if you look at a photo taken within a store that appeared on the web.

The ticket on display prominently proclaims the $99.99 price, but it gets interesting when you look at the fine print:


The small print in the box marked “INSTANT SAVINGS” clearly indicates the price is the standard $199.99 with a new or upgraded 2-year contract. I have a feeling that it’s a bit too early in the game for the price to drop by half, even with the iPhone 3G price at that point. I couldn’t find on the web anyone who actually got the cheap Pre price online nor in the stores. This could be a big OOPS for Best Buy.

UPDATE: Can we call them or what? Engadget is reporting that Best Buy has indicated the low price is in error and the correct price is reinstated ($199). Some lucky folks were able to grab a Pre or two at the reduced rate while the incorrect price was in use. Lucky folks. :)

Best Buy marketing manager John Bernier has chimed in via his Twitter account to say that the Pre is $199 and that the “error is being corrected.”

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  1. I have just confirmed with my local Best Buy that the Palm Pre IS on sale for $99 with qualified upgrade or new activation. When asked if this was permanent, his answer was “This week, as far as I know…”

    I already own a Palm Pre. Absolutely love it. And at this price, I just might make my whole family run out and get it.

  2. James Kendrick Sunday, July 26, 2009

    That’s an absolutely great price and if good, I would heartily recommend the Pre.

  3. Just got back from Best Buy. My wife and I got Pres today with a new family plan contract. Both were $99.

  4. I just got a palm pre at best buy with the 2 yr. contract today. $99

  5. James Kendrick Sunday, July 26, 2009

    Awesome! What a great price! I wonder how Sprint and Palm customers feel about Best Buy undercutting them $100? :)

  6. ferrari1929 Sunday, July 26, 2009

    Just picked one up as an add-on line for $99. The Mobile Manager said that it might be a pricing error as he was taken by surprise this morning with the lower price. Loving the switch from WinMo so far!

  7. James Kendrick Sunday, July 26, 2009

    Anybody who picked up a Pre for the reduced price was very lucky as Engadget is reporting that Best Buy is admitting that low price was in error. They are returning the Pre to the standard price of $199. Can we call them or what? From engadget:

    Update: Best Buy marketing manager John Bernier has chimed in via his Twitter account to say that the Pre is $199 and that the “error is being corrected.” It’ll be interesting to see if any lucky customers managed to nab the device for less than a Benjamin.

    1. Hi James,

      Well, I guess that cinches it for my — Sprint just lost a premier customer and 2 Palm sales due to this screw-up. I am actually glad it happened, though since I had a chance to discover just how bad Sprint customer support is. I will call Best Buy tomorrow and confirm.


  8. My sad tale (but true):
    I had just switched from Verizon to Sprint one week ago and purchased an “Everything” family package with 2 Pre’s (for myself and one for my wife).
    When I found out about this offer, I called my local Best Buy and was told that the offer was valid. I then called Spring and asked them (given the circumstances) if there was any adjustment the could provide and (after many transfers, dropped calls, recalls, etc.) I talked to someone in their “Customer Retention Department”. I explained my situation and asked if they could do anything (credits). He checked with his supervisor, then came back and said no, absolutely nothing. He advised that I cancel my existing Sprint contract (only 1 week old), return the phones to the Sprint store, and buy from Best Buy. I called the local Sprint store and the manager said they could not help me either.
    I then went to Best Buy; the sales rep called half a dozen Sprint support and sales numbers and finally reached someone who told him that, under the circumstances, Sprint would NOT port the existing numbers to the new account (the numbers had been ported from Verizon just one week earlier). I told the Best Buy rep that I would immediately cancel my existing Sprint contract, re-port the numbers to Verizon, and come back the next day to start a new account (he is holding 2 phones for me). I called Verizon, who very quickly and efficiently ported the numbers back to my old phones and restored my account exactly as it was (no fees whatsoever and no added commitments).
    Now the dilemma: my experience with Sprint support has been very poor (I would rate them a “C-“), while support from Verizon has always been a solid “A”. I am now seriously thinking of just staying with Verizon. I love the Pre, but I question whether it is worth dealing with Sprint, given the horrible experience with them (the made mistakes on the original order and activation process as well). Any comments?

    1. Not really sure what your complaint is. The BB deal was a mistake, Sprint would not honor it and now they are the bad guys?? Just stay with VZW.

    2. I found their support has changed for the better as my 10 month daughter began nawing on my wifes Blackberry and shorted it. I called up Sprint and I did not have the plan that covers water damage they sent me a new Blackberry anyways. But dealing with Sprint in the past has been a pain but the 3G service in my area has been great. I virtually never call them so dealing with customer support isn’t really that big of a deal for me.

      Sounds like Verizons phone service is pretty bad if you have to call them so often.

      WiFi and Bluetooth running? It doesn’t matter what phone you use that will drain the battery life fast. There is no reason to run WiFi running unless you are going to load something local. 3G is strong everywhere. WiFi just kills batteries. I run my Broadband card as opposed to hunting for WiFi as I get better battery life when using Broadband and my data rates are usually faster than the hotspots.

      Voice has been great for mine

      App availability – well it’s only been out for 2 months

      I haven’t had a problem with mine but If you are having issues with the slider mechanism well of course take it back.

    3. On Battery life:
      I am comparing against other phones I have used, including my HTC WinMo phone. The Pre has by far the worst battery life of any phone I have ever used.

      On Support/Service:
      No, I have not had much reason to deal with Verizon over the years as a customer, but this episode allowed me to directly compare the service organizations. It is not even close; Sprint came across as amateurs and Verizon as professionals. Both the response by employees and the clear difference in procedure and process as in stark contrast. I could elaborate with details, but I am convinced that there is a real and substantial difference built in to the organizations.

  9. The BestBuy people told me that it was not a mistake and were quite happy to honor the $99 price.
    The complaint is that Sprint was holding my phone numbers hostage (they would not port them to a new account). Easy to get around this:
    Sprint Account #1 -> Verizon -> Sprint Account#2
    I have this finished except for the last step, which Sprint must honor by law.
    The point is that in the process, I discovered that Sprint support people pale in comparison to Verizon’s.
    My conclusion is that Verizon is a far better company to deal with.

    1. One more factor in all of this: the hardware.
      In general, I think the design of the Pre, both hardware and OS, is absolutely fantastic. But …
      Here here some major issues that make it hard to live with (and not worth $199 in my opinion):
      1) Not great voice quality
      2) Poor build quality. Mine was fine, but my wife’s had a loose/sloppy slider mechanism and bad pixels.
      3) Very poor battery life. With WiFi and Bluetooth off and light phone usage, I could not make it even one day on battery power.
      4) Very poor app availability. No new offerings in a long time.
      5) A cell company (Sprint) with poor customer service.

      $99 is marginally OK given all of this; $199 is not.

  10. I figured it was some mistake so I made my way to the Best Buy as soon as I heard. Figures that I live in and area (maybe the only area in the US) where Best Buy doesn’t offer Sprint. Funny thing is that they still have plenty of accessories for the Pre. How strange is that..

    So no $99 per for me… :-(

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