Big box store price match policies could help shoppers save big - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

WTOL 11 Special Report: Price match policies could help shoppers save big

(Toledo News Now) -

Who doesn't love a good deal?  Many big box stores have new policies offering to price match competitor's ads.

Getting the best possible deal is important to consumers like Maria Smith. The busy mother of four loves to save with price matching.

"Just this week I bought a toy, saved three bucks, bought my coffee that day," said Smith.

We went shopping undercover to show what happens on the price matching front lines. We found a $99 electric screwdriver at one major chain and scanned its bar code with a price matching app. Turns out an online retailer was offering it for $94.99.

At checkout neither the clerk nor the supervisor knew what to do. Smith knows this frustration.

"There are times when the store employee does not know their own policy," said Smith.

We nicely asked at the customer service desk, and though the store's policy says it doesn't price match online retailers, we got the five dollars off.

"Some employees will stick exactly to the script as corporate policy writes when it comes to price matching, others will go out of their way to help shoppers," said Louis Denicola of Cheapism.com.

That's what happened at the next store. A clerk helped us save big on this blue ray player.

We found a lower price at the very same chain store only two miles away, but were told they match prices with online competitors, and not their own stores.   So, the clerk checked online and found a retailer offering an even better deal: $50 off.

"Having an employee that knows the rules can make all the difference," said Denicola.

But Denicola warns sometimes stores play sales hardball.

"Although you might see a television that's 42 inches, it has the exact same specifications between two different stores, you'll find out that store A has a very specific model number because they've moved the power button to the left side you won't be able to price match it in store B," said Denicola.

But price matching won't always work as planned. At the next store, we tried to get a lower price on a computer monitor, but the clerk pulled up an internal list of shops they'll price match. The store we found wasn't one of them. 

Experts say businesses try to strategize their pricing policies, but the marketplace is constantly changing.

"Retailers must be able to react in the moment to a particular customer situation, and on the fly figure out how to become competitive with either somebody next door or somebody around the world.  And that requires their front line; people who are working in the store, working with customers need to be empowered like never before," said consultant Allen Adamson.

Smith says if she can't get the deal, she looks for the exit.

"If the store doesn't match the other retailers price there times when I have walked out and not bought the item," said Smith.

 Copyright 2013 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.

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