Black Friday Price Matching Policies & Guidelines
Smart and seasoned Black Friday shoppers don't fall for the loss-leader honeytraps that drive the Biggest Deal Day of the Year. Instead, they find the cheapest retailers, use the best Black Friday shopping apps, and grab the deals before they run out. That way they get what they want, but avoid getting sucked into spending more than they wanted.
A few take it one step further. They use the Black Friday circulars and newspaper supplements (and their online equivalents) to price match items at other retailers. Price matching lets those people get a great deal without waking up early or struggling through huge lines. It also reduces the number of stops on one of the most stressful shopping days of the year.
By simply displaying proof of the price at the competitor's stores, a price matching store will honor that deal regardless of what price that item is selling at in its store. It's a pretty great option more people should take advantage of. Before we get into some of the best price matching stores, let's look at the terrain price matching offers. There are some dos and don'ts that can determine how successful your attempts will be.
Guidelines to Help Make Your Price-Matching a Success
1. Be prepared to show proof of the deals, in the original circular or ad (or a printout from the web). To have the deal honored, you will need to have it with you. Also note that many stores require the manager to take the circular from you as part of the deal.
2. Know that you'll have to wait for the manager—possibly for a long while. The store will be busy with other Black Friday shoppers. Not every store, and not every manager, will be willing to price match Black Friday deals. So be ready to argue your point. Do so politely, but persistently, and stand your ground.
3. Watch for dirty tricks. Some stores offering price matches alter item SKU numbers or stock less popular models—specifically to avoid having to make good on price matching offers. Other shops buy items with unique model numbers so there's literally no store anywhere that could qualify for the price match. Avoid those stores when possible. If not, use ads that do not specify model numbers and SKUs. That will make it harder for them to renege.
4. Read the fine print. Many price matching stores have specific holiday and Black Friday exemption clauses in their offers. Similarly, see if they need an original copy of the lower price deal, or if a photocopy or printout will do. Many stores also only match prices within a certain number of miles. Know the details before you leave your home.
5. Timing and location are important. If one store is having a sale at a specific time (for example 5am to 10am), another store may refuse to price match before 5am or after 10am.
6. You may be able to purchase items before Black Friday and get a refund for the difference if the price is lowered during Black Friday. Target and other major retailers allow price adjustments within a certain number of days. However, you must keep your receipt, stay within the time window, and match the exact item including the same SKU. Also, make sure to verify that price adjustments will be permitted for Black Friday.
7. In the market for a TV? Amazon will actually price match on TVs—it's the only category they do it for. You have up to 14 days after purchase to tell them you've found a lower price—so get those sale ads early!
Some of the Best Price Matching and Price Adjustment Stores
Now that you know the best ways to shop for price matches, here are some of our favorite price matching stores. Each store has its own policies, so make sure you're up-to-date with their rules before you go, but these are the ones that will work at getting you the best savings for your effort.
Target offers some of the most comprehensive price-matching deals in retail across the board, year-round. On Black Friday, they will match all competitor prices except for time-sensitive sales. That means if the local electronics store offers a super-sale from 6am-10am, Target will not match those prices even if you buy your product at 9 in the morning.
Target also allows price adjustments on previously purchased items up to 7 days after you buy them. So if you see a sale the day after you bought your kid's new bike, you can get a refund for the difference.
Walmart is not our favorite price-matching store. It's one of the ones that uses unique SKUs to reduce how often they have to make good on their promise. However, they have recently made a policy shift to price match Black Friday deals from physical retail shops (not online purchases).
They also have a price adjustment offer, though it has a lot of exceptions.
Sears has a pretty comprehensive price matching policy, as long as you can prove the competing price and it's from a comparable physical retail outlet—not online. They do not price match Black Friday and other holiday or clearance sales.
Their price adjustment policy is also excellent. They'll refund the difference up to two weeks after you made the purchase.
4. Best Buy
Best Buy is another retailer that uses unique and specialized product ordering to get out of their price match offers, however they do have one policy which makes them a good price match option in some cases.
They honor both physical price-matching and online price-matching. It has to be like-for-like (they won't honor an online match for an in-store purchase), but it's rare to see this at all. This applies both to matching, and to price adjustment.
Best Buy does not match Black Friday or other limited-time price cus.
Both stores have identical price match policies, and both policies are a good news/bad news situation.
The good news is if you find a lower price and prove it, they will sell you that item at 10% less than the advertised price.
The bad news is the item in question must be in stock at the store you want to buy it in, and it must be in stock at the store which is advertising the price you want. Most of the time, this works out well. For hot and popular (or seasonal items), you may be out of luck.
Price matching can help you get the gift you want at a great price minus the big crowds. It really is a great tool to utilize, especially at a time of year such as November, when there are quite a few holiday items you should never pay full price for. If you're unsure of a specific store's policy, or want to check before making a long trek, call ahead to the specific store you'll be visiting, and get the name of the person who told you the policy. As an insurance policy, you can also ask to talk to someone who will be working that day and get their name so that you can ask for them again when you get there on Black Friday. Good luck and happy shopping!