It pays to get the lowest price, even after you’d bought something.
Shopping around is key to getting a decent price. You can do this by using comparison sites such as PriceSpy or Idealo. Now, you’d think the next step would be to buy the items at the cheapest shop.
But actually it can be advantageous to actually buy it elsewhere if that shop has a price matching policy.
Here’s more about how price matching works, and where you can take advantage.
What is price matching
Price matching is exactly as it sounds. A retailer will sell you an item at a lower price if it’s sold for less elsewhere.
This isn’t just about the listed selling price. You can also often price match voucher codes and sale prices.
John Lewis is probably the most famous shop to offer a price promise, with its “Never Knowingly Undersold” slogan a key part of branding. But you can also take advantage at shops including AO, eBay and Curry’s.
I’ve done this a number of times, from smaller items such as Diptyque candles through to a new TV and sound system. When we did our kitchen this year I got our oven, fridge, freezer, dishwasher and flooring for hundreds of pounds less.
And it’s not just “things” you buy that can be price matched. It’s possible to save money on hotels, holidays and other services if you look around.
Some retailers will beat the lower prices
You might find a retailer will give you extra money off the lower price you find at a competitor.
It’s also worth checking if a high street shop will match its own website if there’s a difference in price (this does happen!).
It’s not just about getting a lower price
Since the price you pay will end up the same you might be thinking surely it’s easier to just buy it at the cheaper shop in the first place and avoid all the hassle.
Well, price matching to a different store might give you additional benefits. These include extended warranties, free delivery or longer return rights.
You might even be able to stack on extra savings on top, such as using a cut-price gift card or cashback.
All of these can be worth a little extra, whether financially or just in terms of peace of mind.
Price matching after purchase
Best of all, some shops which price match also allow you to price match if prices drop elsewhere after you have bought the item. This is a great trick to use during big sale periods such as Black Friday.
I’ve actually done this a few times – even after I’d already price matched to get a lower price. When the price dropped again I was able to put in another claim and get the additional discount refunded.
So it can sometimes pay to choose a shop that offers this over another even if they are the same price – just in case there’s a significant drop later on.
How to price match
Every retailer has a different policy, but in general you’ll need to provide proof that you’ve seen the item on sale elsewhere for less.
You’ll also need to check that the shop does price match the place you’ve found the cheaper option.
Some retailers will have a phone number you can call to put in your price match claim. Others, including John Lewis, have a form you fill in.
You generally have to wait for confirmation that your item is price matched before you can but it, though some let you do it retrospectively. In this instance, you’ll also need to provide proof of purchase.
Once you’ve bought something it’s worth keeping an eye on prices for as long as the price promise lasts. To help you can set price alerts on both Price Spy and Idealo which will email you if the price does drop.
What can stop price matching
However, not all shops have a price matching policy, and they won’t always match every price you find.
The key one to watch out for is retailers that only match certain other shops. Many also exclude online-only retailers (i.e. they don’t want to price match Amazon!). Even some sellers which have a showroom or two can be excluded – often the case for the low prices found online for appliances.
The items will usually have to be the exact same model, colour, size and so on. This can prove frustrating if there’s a slight difference, and many retailers will only sell a version that’s exclusive to them that can be hardly noticeable.
The price must also be available to everyone – which means you wouldn’t be able to match a member or staff discount. Others might not match clearance sale prices, or some voucher code uses.
Items also usually have to be in stock at the cheaper retailer and available for delivery. Or if they’re in smaller local retailers you might find you have to live within a certain number of miles.
You might also find it’s rejected if there’s a difference in extras such as the type of delivery or the length of warranty on offer. For instance, if the cheaper model has one year but the price matching retailer offers two years then the latter can claim it’s not the same package.
Where you can price match
This isn’t an exhaustive list, but I’ve highlighted some of the big retailers across a range of products and services that are worth looking into.
Just because somewhere isn’t on the list doesn’t mean it won’t price match. It’s always well worth asking if a shop has a price promise – even an unofficial one.
If you know of any more retailers that offer this service, then please do let me know via the comments.
All Beauty price matching
You can get the difference back at All Beauty if you find the product for less at selected retailers including Boots, House of Fraser and The Perfume Shop. You’ve seven days to match the product.
AO price matching
To price match at AO you need to call their team with the product code of the item you want to buy and the link for where you’ve seen it for less. You can price match up to seven days of buying an item – great if the price drops again.
Blacks price matching
You’ll not only get the difference back at Blacks but an extra 10% too. The price promise is valid for seven days after purchase. However, you can’t claim against shops also owned by the parent company JD Sports, which includes similar shops Millets and Go Outdoors.
Matching hotel bookings can be a bit of a faff as it’s often hard to find the exact same listing as the booking sites often have a slight variation, such as check-out times or free breakfast. But it’s certainly worth a look, and Booking.com is one that offers a refund if you find the exact same room and dates for less elsewhere.
Curry’s price matching
Call up Currys price matching team before you buy and share where you’ve found it for less. Currys will match both high street and online prices, including the use of voucher codes and offers. You can make a claim up to seven days after purchase.
eBay price matching
You can even price match at eBay! It’s only for new items sold on the Amazon, Currys, Argos, Asda, John Lewis and Tesco websites. You apply online and if successful will be sent a voucher to use on your purchase within 24 hours.
Go Outdoors price matching
Similar to the Black’s price promise, you’ll get 10% back on top of the difference. However you do need to have a Go Outdoors Discount Card which costs £5 a year.
Halfords price matching
With Halfords it’s just the price that is price matched – so you can’t use any additional vouchers or offers on top, such as buy one get one free or clearance. You’ve seven days after purchase to make the claim.
Jessops price matching
Jessops only price matches against prices at Argos, Currys, John Lewis, PC World, Park Cameras and WEX. It won’t match clearance prices.
John Lewis price matching
The biggest of all the price matching stores is John Lewis. I’ve written more in this article about how to price match at JL & Partners.
Marks Electrical price matching
This online appliances shop is where I managed to get such a good deal on my fridge, freezer and dishwasher. However you can only price match before you buy, and it won’t price match products they sell as an agent of Euronics.
Richer Sounds price matching
If you buy with Richer Sounds and find it cheaper you’ll get an extra discount on top of the difference up to seven days after purchase. It ranges from £5 extra on products between £50 and £300, through to £100 on anything over £4001.
Wickes price matching
Wickes’ price match promise is valid before and up to seven days after a purchase. You’ll only be able to match with shops within 10 miles of the Wickes you shopped at.