Price matching can give consumers an edge when shopping over the holidays. But not every retailer offers a price match guarantee, and even those who do offer it will adhere to different policies. Below we've gathered a few tips you should keep in mind when shopping this holiday season.
First, you'll want to know which stores offer price matching and which don't. (Many stores post their policies online.) Once you know the policies, find out if they're honored during Black Friday. Stores like Best Buy, for instance, offer price matching year round, but don't honor it Thanksgiving day through Cyber Monday. Once you're at the store, be sure to bring the competing sales circular with you (a real one, not a leaked ad), as most stores that offer price matching require a flier as proof. (We recommend having a flier at all times, even for stores who don't require one.)
As for the policies themselves, you'll find the best offers at Home Depot and Lowe's, where they will take an additional 10% off the competitor's lower price. And while you may think Walmart's new post-purchase price matching policy for 2011 is notably aggressive, Black Friday ads are ineligible for the program. (They will however honor standard price matching on Black Friday before your purchase is made*.)
For more details on this year's price matching policies, check out the chart below:
for Black Friday?
|Amazon||No||Amazon only price-matches TV purchases, but prices are not matched on Black Friday or with "early bird" or "door buster" offers.|
|Best Buy||No||Normally a consumer must show a printed ad from a local competitor, but the policy isn't valid on items for sale Thanksgiving day through Cyber Monday.|
|Home Depot||Yes||If the customer finds a current lower price on an identical, in-stock item from any retailer, Home Depot will match the price and beat it by 10%. Excludes special orders, bid pricing, volume discounts, open-box merchandise, labor and installation, sales tax, rebate and free offers, typographical errors, and online purchases.|
|J&R||Yes||The customer must show the printed ad from the competitor. Competitor must be an authorized reseller.|
|Lowe's||Yes||Lowe’s will beat the price by 10% for an identical product at any local retail competitor that has the item in stock. Must bring the competitor's current ad or Lowe's will call to verify the item's price. Price guarantee honored at all Lowe's retail locations. Some restrictions apply. Call local store for more details.|
|Meijer||Yes||Must bring in ad from a local competitor. Price matching only applies to general merchandise. Meijer's does not offer additional percentages.|
|Office Depot||Yes||Must show ad for lower price at another store on a new, identical item. Office Depot will match the price at the time of purchase, or if the customer presents the ad within 14 days of the purchase, Office Depot will pay the difference. Office Depot price is the final price after any discounts, coupons, instant savings and mail-in savings are applied. Office Depot will match the other store's point-of-sale price after deducting their instant rebates and coupons but will not match the other store's mail-in rebates nor will they deduct the value of any gift with purchase.|
|OfficeMax||Yes||Must complete the OfficeMax online Price Match Request. Some exclusions apply.|
|Sears||No||Sears does not offer price matching during special events including Thanksgiving day through Cyber Monday. At other times, Sears will price match within 14 days of purchase, and beat the price by 10%.|
|Staples||Yes||Staples' price match guarantee applies to participating individual stores on the day after Thanksgiving. Must show the lower price on a new identical item, or within 14 days of the purchase and Staples will pay the difference.|
|Target||No||Target does not offer its Low Price Promise on Black Friday. At other times, Target will match prices within one week of purchase.|
|Walmart||Yes*||Walmart's post-purchase price matching policy for the holiday season does not include prices available on Black Friday. However, the store will still offer price matching on an identical item before you make a purchase if you find an accurate lower price in an ad from a "local competitor." Internet pricing is excluded.|
*A prior version of this feature incorrectly noted that Walmart would not be offering price matching on Black Friday. We meant to indicate that the post-purchase price matching holiday program — in which the store credits the difference between a Walmart purchase (made between November 1 and December 25) and a lower advertised price (from the same time frame) at another store — excludes Black Friday pricing. We're sorry for the confusion!