Many stores offer price-match guarantees, and when they don’t, there are other sneaky ways to save
Don’t get priced out this holiday season.
Many big-box stores offer a price-match guarantee, where they will match, and in some cases best, a competitor’s prices. “We’ve seen more stores promote price-matching policies in recent years as a way to comfort shoppers who might avoid buying in-store because they have discovered that Amazon or another online retailer has the item for cheaper,” Lindsay Sakraida, director of content marketing with DealNews, a shopping comparison website, tells Moneyish.
Some of the most lucrative price-match guarantees are from Home Depot and Staples, which offer a 110% price-match in-store. That means that if you find the same item you bought sold for less at another store, the retailer will make up the difference in price and then slap on an additional 10% discount for you.
Many other stores will simply match competitor’s prices, but won’t automatically also give an additional discount too. Online retailer eBay announced earlier this year that it will match Amazon.com, Jet.com and Walmart.com prices, among others; and retailers like Target, Toys R Us (which this holiday season is also throwing in a $1 donation to Toys for Tots), Lowe’s, Best Buy, Kohl’s and Walmart have been offering price matches for years. (Expert tip: Just because a retailer won’t automatically slap on an additional discount to its price match doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ask. Brent Shelton from BFAds.net tells Moneyish he recently got Lowe’s to give an additional 10% off and a price match by mentioning that Menard’s was running their 11% rebate offer.)
Of course, there are rules around these. The list of stores from which a retailer will price match typically only includes their competitors, they usually won’t match third-party sellers on Amazon (though many will match offers from Amazon directly), they typically won’t price match during huge sales like Black Friday, and there is often a time limit on price matches. Consumers have to read the fine print to determine the exact policies.
“The biggest catch is the time and effort it takes to request and receive a price match, says Kendal Perez, a savings expert with CouponSherpa.com. “This alone can be a barrier for those customers who don’t feel comfortable asking for a lower price, whether out of embarrassment, concern for people in line behind them, or the reaction they receive from the clerk.” And Sakraida points out that “price guarantees are unlikely to save you much money unless you’re purchasing a large item, like an appliance or TV,” and savings expert Andrea Woroch notes that getting the better price may require a separate trip to the store to request the adjustment.
Still, price matches can save you money — and yet many consumers, despite knowing they exist, don’t use them even on big ticket items, experts say. Stores know this. Price match guarantees are “meant to encourage shoppers to still take that trip to the store, at which point many might forget entirely to price check or bother with the hassle of price adjustment,” says Sakraida.
If you’re among the people who don’t feel like dealing with the hassle to find lower prices at competitor’s, there are workarounds, which though imperfect can save you money without a ton of work. Shelton likes the Walmart Savings Catcher, in which you scan your store receipt, and then the app looks at competitor’s prices and then will refund you the difference. Perez recommends Paribus, an app that gives you automatic refunds when prices dip.
Your credit card may also help you price match. With the Citi Price Rewind card, you buy an item on your card and Citi does a 60-day search for a lower price and then may refund you the difference. Discover and some Mastercards also offer price protection with varying terms and time limits.
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