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PRICES ARE CONSTANTLY shifting in the competitive retail space, especially during the holiday shopping season. So what happens if you buy something only to see it on sale a week later? Or what if it's more convenient for you to shop at Walmart, but Best Buy has a better price?
Thanks to retailers' price-matching and price-adjustment policies, you may be able to get the best price, regardless of when and where you shop. Major retailers, including Walmart, Target, Bed Bath & Beyond, Best Buy and Kohl's, have their own policies of matching competitors' prices or refunding you if their own price drops. Some do both.
These policies come with plenty of fine print. It's vital that you look up each retailer's policies and read them thoroughly – but here are some general concepts to know.
"Price matching" is different than "price adjustment." Some retailers use these terms interchangeably – or cover both under the heading "Low-Price Guarantee." In general, though, these terms are defined as follows:
Price matching: The retailer will match a competitor's price if it's lower. Some retailers require this to happen at the point of sale. Others will match a competitor's price after the purchase and refund you the difference. For example, JCPenney allows you to present a competitor's ad (with a lower price) up to 14 days after the purchase for a refund of the difference – and the store will beat that competitor's price by 5 percent. Toys R Us will also retroactively match a competitor's price within 14 days of purchase.
Price adjustment: If the retailer's own price on an item drops within a specified window of time after your purchase, the retailer will refund you the difference.
Not all retailers allow both competitor price matching and price adjustments. Macy's, for example, provides price adjustments on its own merchandise but won't match a competitor's price.