Best Buy has restricted sales of several NVIDIA RTX 3000-series GPUs, including the RTX 3080 and 3090 models, to members of its $199 per year subscription program, PC Mag reported. He made the graphics cards available for an “Exclusive Access Event,” but anyone who tried to buy one was greeted with a pop-up saying that access was limited to Totaltech members.
The retailer launched Totaltech in beta last April with the promise of perks like free shipping, unlimited Geek Squad technical support, two-year warranty protection, and free installation on most products. Another perk listed was “Members Exclusive Sale Price” on products, but yesterday’s restock was the first time it was I need to buy GPUs, stock checker @CameranRitz said PC Mag.
As usual, Best Buy had a limited number of cards, so even membership was no guarantee of getting one. However, the sale reportedly lasted several hours before disappearing, which is longer than usual when NVIDIA cards are refilled.
Best Buy isn’t the first retailer to put high-demand items behind a paywall, with Walmart and others also requiring memberships to buy certain items. However, Best Buy forces you to pay the $200 annual subscription all at once, where Walmart Plus costs $15 a month and can be canceled at any time.
Best Buy is also the exclusive reseller of NVIDIA Founder’s Edition cards in the US, which are generally sold at MSRP. So even with Totaltech membership, buying one can still be cheaper compared to the outrageous markups from scalpers or other retailers. At the same time, the association also blocks any bot. Still, the situation bothered some potential buyers. “Disappointed but not surprised,” said Twitter user @Michael_gg_Inc.
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