Major retailers, from Best Buy to Target to Toys R Us, are promising to match their competitors' prices. Payment processor PayPal and Citi are also jumping in on the trend.
The policies for price matching can be confusing. Generally customers just need to bring in an advertisement or printout to prove that the same item is available elsewhere at a lower price. In some cases, shoppers can come back with a receipt and get a refund for the difference if the price of an item they purchased has since been reduced.
Here's a rundown of the rules. Check a store's website to get the complete terms.
THE BASICS: The electronics retailer will match the price of any local competitor all year long. The match can be sought at the register and must be within the normal return and exchange period. The electronics retailer is expanding its rules during the holidays to apply to several online sellers for the first time.
ONLINE RETAILERS: Best Buy will match lower prices on appliances and electronic hardware products only, such as TVs, tablets and MP3 players. The retailer will only match the prices of 20 websites. They are: Amazon.com, Apple.com, BHphotovideo.com, Buy.com, CircuitCity.com, CompUSA.com, Crutchfield.com, Dell.com, Hhgregg.com, HP.com, HomeDepot.com, Lowes.com, Newegg.com, OfficeDepot.com, OfficeMax.com, Sears.com, Staples.com, Target.com, TigerDirect.com, and Walmart.com.
DEADLINE: Customers can price match against local competitors within the return and exchange period (check your receipt for when that is). Customers can match against online prices until Jan. 24, on products bought before Dec. 24.
FULL POLICY: http://www.bestbuy.com/pricematch
THE BASICS: The discount retailer matches the prices of local competitors year round, but it's expanding its policy for the holidays to apply to online retailers and target.com for the first time.
ONLINE RETAILERS: Target will match against five online sellers. They are Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, ToysRUs.com and BabiesRUs.com.
DEADLINE: Customers can seek price matches for local brick-and-mortar competitors for items bought between Nov. 1 and Dec. 24. Target's offer to match online prices ends Dec. 16.
FULL POLICY: https://corporate.target.com/about/shopping-experience/our-low-price-promise
TOYS R US
THE BASICS: The toy seller is matching prices for the first time this holiday season.
ONLINE PRICE MATCHES: Toys R Us will not match online prices, with the exception of its own sites, ToysRUs.com and BabiesRUs.com -- as long as the purchase doesn't state that it is an "online-only price."
DEADLINE: Ends Dec. 24. Customers have seven days after a purchase to seek a refund.
FULL POLICY: http://www.toysrus.com/pricematch
THE BASICS: The discount retailer is keeping its year-round price matching policy unchanged. The company doesn't require customers to bring in the advertisement, but experts recommend bringing it anyway, just in case.
ONLINE RETAILERS: Not available.
DEADLINE: Available year-round, but will only do so at the register.
FULL POLICY: http://corporate.walmart.com/ad-match-guarantee
THE BASICS: The department store is keeping its year-round price matching policy unchanged over the holidays.
ONLINE RETAILERS: Sears will only matches local competitor's prices found online. Does not match online-only retailers.
DEADLINE: The program runs all year long. Customers can price match up to 14 days after the purchase.
FULL POLICY: http://www.sears.com/pricematch
THE BASICS: The online payment processer will match a lower price if you've made a purchase using PayPal, this includes airline tickets. Not all online and brick-and-mortar retailers accept PayPal, so you'll need to find out which do if you want to take advantage of its price match offer. You are able to match against retailers that don't accept PayPal.
Customers have to fill out a form and upload a receipt when they find a lower price within 30 days. PayPal will refund up to $1,000 until the end of the year, and up to $250 on a single item.
ONLINE RETAILERS: PayPal will match against online retailer prices.
DEADLINE: Dec. 31.
FULL POLICY: https://www.paypal-promo.com/holiday/pricematch.html
CITI PRICE REWIND
THE BASICS: Citi credit card holders can register their purchases made with their Citi credit card on its website. Citi says it will then search for lower prices online, but won't say which sites it is comparing against. The card issuer will give back up to $250 per item and up to $1,000 a year. The offer doesn't apply to business credit cards or debit cards.
ONLINE RETAILERS: The program compares prices customers paid against online prices, but Citi doesn't disclose which sites those are.
DEADLINE: Citi will match lower prices found within 30 days. The program runs all year.
FULL POLICY: https://www.citipricerewind.com