How Low Price Guarantees Work
Basically a Low Price Guarantee policy states that a store promises to match the price or services of its competitors. This can cover a wide range of products, from big ticket items like washer and dryers, to low price items including grocery and drug store purchases.
Every Price Guarantee is Different
Each store has its own version of a Low Price Guarantee. It pays to carefully read a store's policy before depending on it as a way to guarantee you will be getting the lowest price.
Check the following:
- Time Limitations
Most store policies state that the lowest price is guaranteed for a specific time. This can range from one week (generally for lower priced items) to up to 60 or even 90 days for large ticket items.
That means that if you see the product you've purchased advertised for less than what you paid and it falls within the allotted time posted on the Low Price Guarantee policy, you could qualify for a refund.
Many shoppers forget to keep checking prices during the time they have to get a price match. This works to the advantage of retailers and is one of the reasons 90-day time limits are not all that uncommon.
- Proof of Price
Most stores require proof that a competitor is selling the item at a cheaper price. Shoppers are generally required to submit a copy of a competitor's ad showing the identical item for less.
After a purchase shoppers generally have to produce a copy of their receipt showing what they paid and a copy of the competitor's ad showing the lower price.
- Local or Not?
Many stores consider the competition as being those stores which carry similar or same products within the same market.
When checking a store's price guarantee, it always helps to get in writing from the store manager, what qualifies as the "local" market. This is a gray area that many times is used to try to discourage customers from pursuing a price match.
- Are Internet Stores Considered Competition?
Many local stores will not compete with the Internet - even when it is their own store! Seems crazy doesn't it?
If you are comparing the price of a store's local and online prices, and the online price is advertised as a "Web exclusive" you will most likely not get the local store to match the price, even with a store which advertises that it will match its online prices.
There are a variety of reasons retailers use for not price-matching or offering refunds on price guarantees with the Internet stores.
One reason given is that the cost of running the local brick & mortar store is higher than the cost of running an Internet store. Also, although the online stores are named the same, they are often run by entirely separate divisions. This means little to the consumer, but apparently is a big deal for retailers.
- Complicated Policies
Some retailers have very easy terms for shoppers to follow. If your local grocery store offers to match the prices of other local grocers, chances are the policy is pretty straight forward and easy to utilize.
Other retailers complicate the process. The more complicated the policy gets; the least likely you will be to actually get to take advantage of a Low Price Guarantee.
- Low Stock Exemptions
Some very well known retailers offer a low price guarantee policy, but if they feel the local competitor advertising a lower price has low stock on the item you want to buy, they can refuse to give the lower price.
How they determine this is questionable. Sometimes they may call the competitor and ask how many items that store has in stock. Regardless, it is their call and you could end up disappointed.
- Special Sales
Policies may exclude items for price matching which are included in a competitor's special sale, like holiday weekend sales.
For example, Store A may have a dishwasher priced at $300.00. Store B may be running an ad for the same dishwasher, regularly priced at $300.00, but on sale for three days for $275.00. This is considered a short sale period or special sale, and may be listed as an exclusion to the Store A's low-price guarantee policy.
Most stores will not include product prices after mail-in rebates. This is understandable since many times people fail to actually mail in their rebates. Also, manufacturers often redeem the rebates, not the retailer.
- Low Stock Exemptions
- Don't Forget Your Credit Card Services
Many credit card companies offer low price guarantees on your purchases. Check your credit card policies. If it does not include such a service, it may be time to find one that will.
- Items Matched at Lower Prices Add Up
Diligent shoppers who believe every dollar saved counts pay attention to prices advertised at their local grocery and drug stores.
Saving $2 on a pound of coffee may not seem like it is worth the hassle to ask for a price match, but driving from one store to another is a major hassle. Plus, that $2 here and there adds up over time. Imagine if you could shave $20 a month by simply showing your grocer your collection of their competitor's ads? Is it worth it? Only you can decide.
Sometimes you may have to fight for the service, but if you bring the required ads and receipts and you do it in the time allowed, stand your ground. Most the time you will come out a winner.