For some people, shopping is fun. Finding deals is even better. Even if you’re not a big believer in retail therapy, you feel a certain satisfaction when you finally locate and purchase a pair of pants that actually fits, right?
Until the same pants go on sale the next week. Then those trousers that seemed like a good deal at $40 feel like a rip-off. If only you’d waited! You could have had them for $25! Now your new pants are tainted, and you’ll stew over that $15 every time you wear them.
Don’t fret. You can get that money back. Here’s how.
The direct approach
If you see that the price on a recent purchase has been lowered, go directly to the retailer. Many large retailers – such as Target, Kohl’s, Macy’s, Wal-Mart and Best Buy – will honor price adjustments if you have a printed receipt or online order number. Most stores will match a competitor’s prices before you buy, but only their own afterward. Target is an exception: They’ll match other stores’ prices for two weeks after purchase.
If you booked a hotel room and saw the price go down, call the hotel and ask to have your bill adjusted to the lower rate. Or, if you won’t face fees, you can cancel your reservation and book again.
The plastic approach
Some credit cards – not all – offer another option called price protection. If your card has price protection, you’ll have to do a little legwork to use it. You’ll probably have to register items after you buy them with your card, then fill out a form after any price drop to get the difference back. Discover customers can receive up to $500 back on items, while Citi’s Price Rewind searches online sites for you in search of lowered prices.
Price protection involves a lot of fine print. You usually have to initiate the process within 60 days, but sometimes you get 90. Get ready for exclusions galore, too. To help you navigate the waters, NerdWallet has a handy breakdown of cards and their price protection features.
The app approach
It sure would be nice if you could scour stores for lower prices without wasting a bunch of time and developing carpal tunnel. Luckily, this is 2017 and there’s an app for that.
It’s called Paribus. Here’s how it works.
After you sign up using your email and your established online shopping accounts, Paribus’ clever little e-detectives scan and monitor your incoming receipts looking for any money that was left on the table. Paribus doesn’t just look for lowered prices and sales. It even knows whether you’ve missed a coupon.
For every discrepancy found, Paribus can submit a claim on your behalf. Then, the money you’re owed, minus a 25 percent commission – goes back into your shopping account.
Paribus involves the least amount of hassle, but it only works on online buys. Everything else requires you to pay close attention to sales and fill out some tiresome forms. But when it comes to bigger purchases, you could be looking at real money. So keep your eyes peeled, and never feel ashamed for demanding the best price.