Nook Pricing Conundrum

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Nook Pricing Conundrum
As of Monday, Barnes & Noble's Nook e-reader costs $199. Sunday, on Father's Day, it was still $259, but with a special offer. My old pal Brad Grimes continues, in a comment from our post today on Amazon's Kindle price cut:

I bought a $259 Nook yesterday (Sunday) as a gift for my father, enticed by an offer for a "free" $50 gift card. When I saw the price today, I called to see if I could get the difference back. I was told I could get only $10 back. It turns out, after looking at my receipt, they didn't charge me for a $259 Nook and then give me a "free" $50 gift card, as advertised. They gave me a $209 Nook and charged me $50 for the gift card. Was I just shafted by Barnes & Noble? Harry, help an old friend!!!

I'm on B&N's e-mail list, and got an ad for the offer Brad mentions. Here it is, plus the fine print: (click on either image below to enlarge)

B&N's explanation of the offer seems pretty clear: It's a free gift card when you buy a Nook, not a $50 discount on a Nook when you buy a $50 gift card. The fine print does talk about B&N deducting $50 from refunds unless the unused card is returned, but Brad didn't want to return the card; he wanted B&N to do an after-the-purchase price match.

I can't find any information on the B&N site about the company's price-guarantee policies, so I'm not sure if the company was honor-bound to offer Brad a retroactive refund at all, or whether it would simply be a smart move to keep a customer happy. But here's what I'm wondering: B&N obviously knew that it was about to knock the price of the Nook down by $60. Did it institute the odd $50-discount-on-Nook/$50-charge-for-card accounting so it wouldn't have to give Nook buyers a $60 refund and let them keep the $50 gift cards?

Fine print on the original offer could have clarified things: I don't think it would have been unreasonable for B&N to stipulate that it would deduct the $50 value of the card from any price-match refunds. But it didn't do that. Any thoughts on what it should do for Brad and other recent Nook purchasers?

This story, "Nook Pricing Conundrum" was originally published by Technologizer.

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