Many of you have already matched prices successfully at stores to save a little more time or money. But if you haven’t tried it before, it can be a daunting task. WDIV Channel 4 asked me recently to share some tips on price matching – you’ll find them below. You can also watch to see what happened when price matching policies were tested with a hidden camera!
Prepare to Price Match
- Know the policy well BEFORE you shop. Consider printing it and taking it with you to the store, along with the phone number for corporate (in case you have any major issues).
- There are ALWAYS exclusions. Don’t expect rules to apply on Black Friday – or any special sale dates. Doorbusters, early morning and late night promotions are generally excluded, along with Cyber Monday and Thanksgiving week. Read all of the fine print in the policy of the store you plan to shop – there’s PLENTY of it.
- Find an IDENTICAL item. Usually the brand, variety, size, etc. of the item you’re requesting a price match for needs to be an exact match to what is shown as the advertised price.
- An ACTUAL PRICE is necessary. Most stores will not honor a Buy-one-get-one-free or percentage discount. The actual advertised price needs to be clearly shown.
Price matching works well when…
- You’re trying to reduce the number of stops on your shopping trip.
- You live in an area where driving distance is an issue (rural areas or if you’re far from an store with a great advertised price)
- A store shows a great price online, but not in their brick & mortar location (and you’d like to avoid shipping charges).
- You can price match, then apply an additional store discount (coupon, credit card discount, 10% lower price guarantee, etc).
- A good sale item goes out of stock at your location (although many stores require the item to be in stock at the competitor).
Price matching or price adjustment – what’s the difference?
Though these terms are used interchangeably in some policies, a price match usually happens at the point of sale. You request a better price when purchasing the item by showing a competitor ad as proof. A price adjustment, allowed by some stores, requires a receipt and proof of a lower price within a certain time frame after the purchase (i.e. your new mixer went on sale the next week; the price difference is credited back to you).
Store Price Matching Policies
For reference, you’ll find links below to price matching policies for major area stores. Read them carefully. I’ve highlighted a few key points to each policy, though there are quite a few variables. Remember that your experience in the store can also vary greatly depending on your cashier or store management.
- Best Buy will match prices not match online prices – except during their testing period (10/7-11/17 and 11/27-12/24) with 20 approved websites.
- Price match must be for a local competitor (located within a 25 mile radius).
- Home Depot will match an identical, in stock item at a local retailer and beat their price by 10%.
- Lowe’s will match an identical, in stock item at a local retailer and beat their price by 10%.
- UPDATE: As of November 1, 2013, Meijer “does not match ads from competitors.”
Meijer will price match GENERAL MERCHANDISE items only (grocery, healthy & beauty items excluded).
- Price match at time of purchase or within 14 days (receipt required).
- Staples retail stores will price match prices at brick & mortar retail stores and at Staples.com.
- Coupons can be used on the price-matched item (manufacturer coupon is applied after price match, but Target store coupon is deducted before the price match).
- Target will match online prices, but only with Target.com, Amazon.com, BabiesRUs.com, BestBuy.com, ToysRUs.com and Walmart.com.
Toys R Us
- Price match at time of purchase or within 7 days (receipt required).
- Toys R Us will match online prices at ToysRUs.com and BabiesRUs.com (online only specials excluded).
- Walmart WILL match prices on Black Friday, according to their press release.
- An actual ad is not required as proof when requesting a price match.
- Walmart will not match internet prices.