A blog about keeping yourself and your expenses lean in Oakland County, Michigan.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Guest Post: PRICE MATCHING A Look at Target’s Low Price Promise Courtesy of Totally Target

Target’s “Low Price Promise” is what they call their Price Matching Policy. You can view the complete policy HERE. In a nutshell- they state that they will match the price of an item in a competitor’s printed ad that is priced lower than at your Target store. It sounds really simple right? While there are advantages to price matching there are quite a few stipulations. While I feel it is pretty clear that the policy’s exclusions are directed at their competitors - some Target stores do give customers a hassle or refuse to price match based on misinterpretations.

If you have smooth sailing and your store has a good understanding and acceptance of the Low Price Promise it can be very beneficial. It saves a trip to multiple stores, therefore saving on gas. You can also price match a competitor who does not accept manufacturer’s coupons. And the other benefit is when there is an incentive involved like a Gift Card Offer.

For those new to Price Matching and having troubles doing so- I wanted to give a closer look at the Low Price Promise. While I cannot say this information will solve any of your troubles- it might help some of you understand why some refusals may have been valid on Target’s part and why others are not and just a result of their misinterpretation of certain points in the policy.


The competitor’s ad must be local and current and an original printed ad (no photocopies or showing them an on-line ad on your phone), and the product must be the identical item. Current competitor store catalogs can also be price matched. They will also honor a price match on a Target purchase made within 7 days of the competitor’s ad. So if you bought say a Monopoly Game at Target and paid $14.99 for it on Saturday, and the very next day Toys R Us had it in their new ad for $9.99, you would just bring in the Toys R Us ad with your receipt and they will refund you the difference.


Target stipulates that the item must be the “identical brand name, size, weight, quantity and model number”. Many stores require that a size, brand and name be indicated in the ad. Usually this is not a problem as most stores do indicate a size on their ad, however many ads also list “selected varieties” like this ad for Glad from Publix. Now, while Publix will beat the sale price of the Glad products on sale this week at Target ($6) and you should have no trouble price matching the 50 ct. Tall Kitchen Bags in the picture- the rest would be a ymmv.


Their policy stipulates that Target Coupons are to be used BEFORE a price match is made. So let’s say for example KMart is selling Oreos for $2.00 and Target’s price is $2.50. And you want to price match and have a Target Store Coupon and a Manufacturer’s coupon you want to use. Instead of just price matching and accepting both your coupons- they will take that Target coupon first and if it makes Target’s price cheaper than KMarts price (which it will- now the Oreo’s become $1.50) they will not match the price. Honestly all the explaining they do will probably always only mean one thing- you can no longer use a Target Coupon when Price Matching. But manufacturer coupons are accepted on a price match.


IMO most of the exclusions are easy enough to understand and it is clear that they are referencing their competitors.The following is a list of the ones that are pretty self-explanatory.

No expired Ads
No On-line prices, including Target.com
Timed events (e.g., early bird, door busters)
Items advertised as limited time/limited supply/limited quantity
Prices advertised only as a percent off or $ off
Mobile coupons
Sales tax promotions
Damaged product or opened packaging
Clearance or closeout items
Mail in offers or instant rebates
Product services (warranties, assembly, etc.)
Going-out-of-business liquidations
Special financing
Used or previously owned items
Display merchandise
Pricing or typographical errors
Owned brands (i.e., Home, Merona, Circo, Market Pantry and Archer Farms)
Meaning you can’t match a competitor’s brand to a Target Store Brand- ie if Publix has Publix Oatmeal on sale for $1. you can’t price match and buy Archer Farms Oatmeal for $1. -Thanks Stephanie!

Non-branded items (e.g. produce not marketed under a specific brand name)
Basically they mean you can’t bring in an ad offering something like a ”Head of Lettuce $1″

Target Portrait Studio, Optical, and Clinic offers
You can’t bring in JC Penny’s ad for a free portrait or any competitor pharmacy offer

But there are a few that seem to be vulnerable to misinterpretation by some stores:
One of the exclusions in the policy says the following “Promotions or products advertised on another company’s web or mobile sites, even those advertising in-store prices.” This is why it is always good to have the low price promise printed and with you and know it. I have had several e-mails from people telling me that they did not get a gift card when trying to price match because they were told that Target does not price match on Promotions. I believe this line is where that is coming from. The word “promotion” is only mentioned on this page three times- once referencing tax promotions and both other times referencing on-line promotions. If you are unfamiliar with the policy or are new to Target shopping and told they “don’t Price Match Promotions”- you may just give up and walk out- but if you have the policy & know the policy- you can hand it to them and ask them to show you where it says that. If they point to this line- ask them to really read it again- clearly this exclusion is intended to mean on-line promotions and other companies promotions.


Membership club or loyalty programs (e.g. prices that require a club or loyalty card). Unfortunately this leaves out a large portion of grocery and other stores. Sams, BJs, Costco etc are definitely out but many non-membership fee required stores like CVS, Winn Dixie etc, also have some kind of card that is required to get the price in their ad. If you have to hand over a card to get what is listed in an ad – then price matching is out.

Coupon-required or giftcard offers. Okay so this line in the policy seems to be the biggest thorn in everyone’s side. The first part of this line is easy and many of you have seen ads like this one above for Walgreen’s. The price is being advertised as 2/$4 but in small lettering underneath it says “after instant coupon in store”. Target will not honor a price listed like this in a competitor’s ad that requires a coupon found in a competitor’s store.
The second part of that exclusion line refers to Gift Card Offers from their competitors. In other words- you cannot bring a Best Buy ad like the one shown above into Target and expect them to sell you the product shown here and give you a $10 Target Gift Card instead. They will likely honor the price in the ad- but they will not honor the Gift Card Offer. Many stores refuse their own Target gift card offers on a price match citing this line. This makes a mess for you to straighten out- if you get a refusal from the store you will have to take it up with corporate. Even doing so may be tricky. You will have to get someone knowledgeable at corporate who understands this to contact your store and explain that the “Low Price Promise” references competitors’ Gift Card Deals, not their own.


Competitor’s free product, buy one, get one, bundled offers, or special purchases. “Bundled Offers” is another one of the exlusions referenced often for refusing to price match. A few weeks back when K-Mart was offering 12-ct PopTarts for 2/$4, many of you said you were turned down and told it was a “bundled offer”. To me, that is just silly. The above ad from Best Buy is an example of a “bundled offer”. Target will not price match products bundled together and offered at a discounted price in a competitor’s ad. When price matching a competitor’s ad that has something advertised like Glade Candles 2/$4 or a similar sale- then the only thing you may be required to do is purchase it in multiples of 2 or whatever the specified amount is. Even though most stores don’t make you buy 2 of something to get the price.


While this post cannot solve the problems some of you have when Price Matching- I do hope that in some small way it has helped you to understand where some of the refusals to price match are stemming from. I get e-mails all the time from frustrated shoppers, and while I can definitely sympathize- my hands are tied. It is up to you to try and solve the issues you have with your store or corporate and there are no guarantees it will be resolved. Only you can decide if it is worth the time and trouble.

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