With Black Friday upon us in a couple days consumers should pay attention to what price matching and lowest price claims actually mean.
Here are some examples:
Wal-Mart has a new TV commercial out that implies that consumers do not need to pay attention to who has the lowest price, because Wal-Mart does. In fact, their “ad match policy” states some important things, for instance that they don’t honor internet pricing, prices from outside of the store's territory or buy one/get one free ads.
Consumers must bring the advertisement with them, the whole advertisement (meaning, don’t just cut out the toy you want to get the price of). And, if you go shopping on one of the busiest days of the year you might want to consider being very organized so those behind you in line don’t want to lynch you as you dig through all your advertisements trying to find the one that gave you pumpkin for 49 cents a can.
Sears says in their TV ads that they have a lowest price guarantee. But, when you look online it says “Price Match Plus Policy/Price Protection Policy” which is not the same as a lowest price guarantee. Sears’s policy is even more restrictive than Wal-Mart’s. They will not honor prices over the Thanksgiving weekend, sales that are less than 6 hours, internet prices if there is not a retail store in the area that is also honoring that price and many other things.
The BBB does have guidelines for price matching and lowest price guarantees. It would appear that both stores aren’t meeting those policies. Wal-Mart and Sears both want consumers to think they have the lowest prices, but neither one is willing to do the work (shopping others on a consistent basis and lowering their prices when they find a lower price) to make that a reality.
So, do your homework before you go out and shop to get the best deals!