Target and Walmart Price-Match Policies Save Me $2 — $20 Almost Every Time I Shop

Photo (cc) by JeepersMedia

When I shop at my local Target store, I simultaneously shop online at Amazon.com. I even shop at Target.com.

No, I’m not addicted to shopping, or to my smartphone. I just enjoy keeping as much money in my wallet as possible, and my two-timing shopping tactic saves me $2 to $20 almost every time — and it takes maybe two minutes.

Price-match policies like Target’s enable you, too, to keep more money in your wallet — if you know how to use them.

Understanding the basics of any retailer’s policy is the key to taking advantage of these opportunities to save. So we’ve reviewed the current price-match policies of major national retailers and broken down two of the best.

Target and Walmart came out on top, because their policies offer high chances of savings for relatively little effort.

Target

Both Target stores and Target.com will match the prices of about 30 competitors. That’s how I get Amazon prices, for example, in Target stores.

Target’s policy is also handy considering the prevalence of its stores. There are about 1,800 in the U.S.

Target stores and Target.com will price-match:

  • Local competitors (ad prices)
  • Select online competitors (online prices):
    • Amazon.com
    • Babiesrus.com
    • Barnesandnoble.com
    • Bedbathandbeyond.com
    • Bestbuy.com
    • Buybuybaby.com
    • Costco.com
    • Cvs.com
    • Diapers.com
    • Dickssportinggoods.com
    • Drugstore.com
    • Gamestop.com
    • Jcpenney.com
    • Kmart.com
    • Kohls.com
    • Macys.com
    • Newegg.com
    • Officedepot.com
    • Petco.com
    • Petsmart.com
    • Samsslub.com
    • Sears.com
    • Sportsauthority.com
    • Staples.com
    • Target.com
    • Toysrus.com
    • Ulta.com
    • Walgreens.com
    • Walmart.com
    • Wayfair.com

There are a few things to note about this list:

First, Target explicitly defines what qualifies as a “local competitor,” and the definition depends on where you are shopping.

When you shop in a Target store, local competitors include “retail stores located in the same market area (within a 25-mile radius) of your local Target store.”

When you shop Target.com, they include “retail stores located in the same market area (within a 25-mile radius) as either the billing address or the shipping address on record for the Target.com purchase.”

Another thing to note is that Target.com is on this list (and Walmart.com is on Walmart’s list).

It’s not uncommon for retailers to charge you different prices for the same item depending on whether you’re shopping in a store or online, and store prices tend to be the higher of the two.

How to prove that a competitor has a lower price:

To get a price matched in stores, visit the guest services desk (not a regular register) and either:

  • Present the local competitor’s entire original printed ad or show the digital version of the ad on your phone.
  • Show the online competitor’s online price on your mobile device.

To get a price matched when shopping online, call Target.com guest services at 800-591-3869.

Walmart

Walmart’s price-match policy stands out primarily because the company also matches prices of around 30 competitors.

Plus, the retail giant is seemingly ubiquitous, with more than 4,500 stores in the U.S.

Walmart also takes the burden of proof of price away from you. To request a price match in stores, for example, you need only tell an associate the lower price that you want Walmart to match and the retailer offering that price: “It is the store’s responsibility to obtain the local competitor ads,” the policy states.

Walmart stores and Walmart.com will price-match:

  • Local competitors (ad prices)
  • Select online competitors (online prices):
    • Academy.com
    • Amazon.com
    • Autozone.com
    • Babiesrus.com
    • Basspro.com
    • Bedbathandbeyond.com
    • Bestbuy.com
    • Cabelas.com
    • Dickssportinggoods.com
    • Dollargeneral.com
    • Familydollar.com
    • Homedepot.com
    • Jcpenney.com
    • Kmart.com
    • Kohls.com
    • Lowes.com
    • Michaels.com
    • Newegg.com
    • Officedepot.com
    • Oreillyauto.com
    • Pepboys.com
    • Petco.com
    • Petsmart.com
    • Sears.com
    • Sportsauthority.com
    • Staples.com
    • Target.com
    • Tigerdirect.com
    • Toysrus.com
    • Walgreens.com
    • Walmart.com

Two things to note about Walmart’s list:

The company-wide price-match policy does not detail what it considers its local competitors. Confirm whether a specific retailer is considered a local competitor by asking the store associate or online associate from whom you are requesting a price match.

One downside to Walmart’s policy is that it leaves “the final decision” about price-match requests to the discretion of store managers and online customer service agents. So you might find, for example, that one store implements or interprets the price-match policy differently than another store.

Of course, you have nothing to lose by asking for a price match. But if that downside still deters you — or if you were already among Walmart’s detractors — instead check out “These 19 Retailers Will Match Wal-Mart’s Prices.”

The second thing to note is that Walmart’s and Target’s competitor lists differ somewhat.

For example, you might be better off buying car accessories from Walmart than Target because only Walmart matches the prices of Autozone.com, Oreillyauto.com or Pepboys.com. Similarly, only Target matches the prices of Cvs.com or Ulta.com.

How to prove that a competitor has a lower price:

To get a price matched in stores, you can request it at the register by telling the cashier the lower price and the competitor offering that price.

To get a price matched when shopping online, fill out the “Request Price Match” form or call Walmart.com customer care at 800-966-6546 prior to placing an order.

Runners-up

If you shop at Best Buy or Fry’s Electronics, or at Home Depot or Lowes, it might be worthwhile for you to understand their price-match policies too. It depends on your shopping habits.

Best Buy’s policy is noteworthy because even its brick-and-mortar stores match the prices of Amazon and about a half-dozen online electronics retailers (think Dell.com and Newegg.com), as well as local competitors.

A few months ago, this saved a friend of mine when a “technological emergency” left him needing to buy a new computer part immediately. He got Amazon’s price without having to wait days for shipping.

One downside: Unlike competitor Fry’s, Best Buy does not match prices for contract cellphones.

Fry’s 30 Day Price Match Promise is noteworthy — the company will essentially pay you if you find a lower price offered by a competitor within 30 days of purchasing something from a Fry’s store: “Fry’s will cheerfully refund 110 percent of the difference,” the promise reads.

Unfortunately, Fry’s only has stores in nine states.

Both Home Depot and Lowe’s similarly offer 110 percent back in certain situations. But those situations are limited by a laundry list of exceptions that include clearance prices.

Have you taken advantage of any price-match policies lately? Share your story in our Forums. It’s a place where you can swap questions and answers on money-related matters, life hacks and ingenious ways to save.

Disclosure: The information you read here is always objective. However, we sometimes receive compensation when you click links within our stories.

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