Decoding Price-Match Policies

Many stores promise to match competitor's prices. Home Depot, Best Buy, Walmart, and Sears are just a few. But price-matching policies can vary significantly store to store and online, too.

Consumer Reports ShopSmart says you can save money, but it takes some work.

Nina Bernhardt is always on the lookout for a bargain, even after she's bought something.

She struck gold when she found the same printer at Office Depot for less than she'd paid at Staples. She asked Staples to match the price.

Berhardt says, "They gave me the money back. I think, if I remember, it was about $100."

Consumer Reports ShopSmart says you can make price-matching work for you, but you've got to know the rules and play by them.

Lisa Lee Freeman of Consumer Reports says, "Be sure to bring in the actual ad showing the lower price. Don't bring a copy. Also don't cut it out. Bring in the whole circular."

Be aware, finding a better deal online often doesn't count. You've got to find the better deal in a store. And there a plenty of other limitations.

At Target, for example, you must find the cheaper price at another retailer within seven days of your purchase. And as with many other price-matching policies, the competing store must be in the same local area.

At Best Buy, like many other stores, clearance items are not covered.

And at Home Depot, it's up to the store manager to give you the difference. But if you're successful, you might get an additional ten percent off for your trouble.

Freeman says, "All in all, though, price-match guarantees can save you money. And if you do your research ahead of time, the store might even be willing to drop the price before you make the purchase."

Nina got a great deal on her gas grill that way. Home Depot dropped the price immediately when she brought in a ten-percent-off coupon from a competitor.

Consumer Reports ShopSmart says another way to save money is to watch to see if an item you've purchased goes on sale shortly after buying it.

Ask to get a refund on the price difference-and depending on the store policy, you just might get it.

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