Money

You’ll be able to save big this holiday season if you employ one simple tactic. Before you buy anything as a Christmas or Holiday gift, determine what the store’s policy is with regard to price protection or price reductions.

From the viewpoint of brick and mortar and online merchants, this holiday shopping season is going to be horrific. I don’t want to depress you, but think about it: consumer confidence is at an all time low, 520,000 non-farm jobs have been lost in the last two months alone, the nation – and most of the industrialized nations – are in a recession….  ok, I’ll stop. Sorry; you already know.  In short: this holiday season will be a bear if you’re a retailer, and a great deal for shoppers – if you are in a position to buy a few gifts.

There’s already ample evidence that online retailers are panicking at the prospect of a dismal holiday season. I’m an email subscriber to a number of online/b&m retailers and they are rolling out deals already. Jos. A. Bank normally runs a half price sale just before or just after Christmas, but about a week or so ago they had one.  There are plenty of other examples – it’s very clear that retailers are nervous.

In any event, I am anticipating that the sales right before and right after Christmas are going to be incredible. If you’re in the market for any sort of substantial purchase – digital camera, TV, gaming systems, high ticket toys – either:

  • Wait until after Christmas
  • If that’s not feasible, make certain that you’ll be able to take advantage of price guarantees offered by the merchant

For example, if you Google “(merchant name) price guarantee” or “price policy” along with the merchant’s name, you should be able to determine their policy in a matter of moments. Here’s the key clause in Circuit City’s policy:

NOTE that Circuit City says that if they advertise the same item at a lower price. This implies that if they lower the price on an item but don’t advertise that lower price, you’re SOL. Check with your local store.

11/11/08 Edit: Circuit City filed Chapter 11 yesterday…

Here’s the policy from Best Buy:

NOTE that Best Buy does not stipulate that the new, lower price be advertised.  A quality store will refund your money – usually within 30 days (but check to make sure!) – without hassling you. If in doubt, ask.

Many merchants offer a return policy which enables you to purchase items purchased from November 1st through December 24th for the entire month of January. BUT… that does NOT mean that their price protection policy follows suit. Just Google as described above and you should be set…  and you definitely should be able to enjoy some substantial savings this holiday season!

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2 Comments on One simple tactic to save BIG this holiday season

  1. Matt M says:

    One thing I noticed a while back is with certain electronics each store will offer the same item but bypass price protection by having a unique model number. This is true for some monitors which will have a model 100a (which goes to Best Buy) and 100b (which goes to Circuit City). So a store can say it’s price protected but the reality is no one else sells that model.

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  2. Kevin says:

    Matt:

    True enough… you need look no further than mattress manufacturers for the best example of that practice.

    My basic point though is that if you buy pre-Christmas, there are likely to be big price drops post-Christmas… make sure the retailer will refund the difference before you buy.

    Thanks for the comment!!

    Kevin

    [Reply]

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