Price matching is a common practice among retailers (especially large-scale and online ones) where they pledge to match a competitor’s lower price on identical items. This assures customers that they are getting the best deal available at the time of purchase.

The policy instills confidence, removing the need for customers to spend considerable time searching for the best price. That’s why price adjustment policies create customer loyalty and are used by various stores, including major US brands such as Target, Best Buy, Home Depot, Walmart, Lowe’s, and more.

Key Takeaways

  • Some retailers match their competitor’s lower prices. This is called price matching, price protection, price adjustment, price guarantee, or price protection.
  • This policy boosts customer confidence, saves time spent on comparison shopping, and promotes customer loyalty.
  • Customers need to present valid proof of the lower competitor’s price.
  • The items being compared should be identical; including brand, model, and color. They should also be in stock and available for immediate purchase. 
  • Not all items are eligible. Policies may exclude third-party sellers, membership deals, limited-time offers, non-branded items, services, used or damaged items, bundle offers, and items with pricing errors.
  • Some retailers may limit their price matching to local competitors or specific online vendors.
  • Matching lower prices generally happens at the time of purchase. Some businesses also have a defined post-purchase period (usually 7 to 30 days) for offering this deal.

Price Matching Definiton

A price guarantee lets customers request a lower price from eligible businesses, which usually include both local and online retailers. However, price protection typically excludes third-party sellers, membership deals, or limited-time offers.

You’ll need to present evidence of the lower competitor price to the retailer – a current advertisement, a digital listing from an approved retailer’s website, or a photograph of in-store pricing.


Note: the actual ads are often required as price match proof, and photocopies or photos might not be accepted.

Price adjustment deals aren’t generally offered post-purchase and are subject to differing return policies. However, they help customers maximize price benefits while avoiding common pitfalls.

How Does Price Matching Work?

A low price guarantee is a strategy employed by businesses promising customers that they will not find a better rate for a specific product in any other store. The practice implies that if you find the same product at a lower price in another shop, the business offering the price match will either match or beat that lower price.

The fundamental idea is to foster a sense of security and trust in customers who might otherwise spend time scouring different shops or websites searching for a better deal. However, while the concept is seemingly straightforward, details and conditions are often attached to a price guarantee policy.

The Scope of Price Matching

For example, items being compared must usually be identical in every way, including brand, model, and even color. Also, the competitor’s product must be in stock and immediately available for purchase.

Some companies also restrict their matching policies to local retail competitors or specific online vendors. Others may exclude items on sale or part of a special promotion. You should carefully review a retailer’s low-price policy to understand the terms and conditions fully.

Usual Price Match Policies

Policies vary by retailer but generally outline requirements for eligibility and time frames for matching competitor prices. To get such deals, customers must provide proof of the lower price. This might mean showing a retail flyer with a lower advertised price or providing a web page URL showing the product priced lower. 

The proof is then verified by the retailer offering the price guarantee. The lower price is honored if everything is in order according to the business’s terms and conditions.

Retailer Requirements

Retailers typically have specific requirements for price matching, such as:

  • Have proof of the lower price from a qualifying competitor retailer. This can be a digital ad, a live website, or something similar.
  • Customers must provide proof of the lower price through a current advertisement, a printout, or a website listing. Historical data is not eligible.
  • Contact your chosen retailer through the provided channels, such as online chat or phone, to initiate getting the same price.

Note: many retailers only match prices from select competitor stores or websites.


  • Target customers can initiate a match by calling 1-800-591-3869 or using the chat on their contact page.
  • Best Buy offers matching through online chat or by phone at 1-888-237-8289.

Attention: photos or photocopies are generally not accepted as valid proof for price matching.

Eligible Items

For an item to be eligible for a price match, specific product conditions must be fulfilled:

  • The item must be identical, including brand, model number, size, and color. This is to ensure an apples-to-apples comparison.
  • The item must be in stock at both the competing retailer and the store where the price deal is requested.
  • Not all items are eligible. There are often exclusions for clearance items, open-box or damaged items, limited-quantity items, refurbished items, and third-party marketplace offers.
  • Items from a competitor’s special events or doorbuster sales might be excluded from price guarantee deals.
  • Retailers may have different matching policies for their physical stores and online platforms. Some might not honor online prices in-store or vice versa.

Time Frame

There may also be a time limit for claiming your lower price. If you’re requesting a post-purchase price protection deal, it must be done within a specific period. This commonly varies from 7 to 30 days.


Note: some retailers have price guarantee offers only at the time of sale. Even if you find a better price the next day from a competitor offer that’s been available for, let’s say 2 weeks, you won’t be able to benefit from the deal anymore.

Price Match Exclusions and Limitations

Not all items and competitors qualify for price adjustments. Store policies contain specific exclusions and limitations that you should understand.

Excluded Products and Services

Certain products and services are routinely excluded from price matching policies. These generally include:

  • Non-branded items: generic or store-brand products may not qualify.
  • Services: ancillary services like warranties or installation may not be eligible.
  • Used or damaged items: retailers generally don’t match prices for used, refurbished, pre-owned, or open-box items.
  • Bundle offers and freebies: if the lower-priced product comes as part of a bundle or it comes with free items, it may not be eligible for a low-price guarantee.
  • Mismatched conditions: the item must be identical, in stock, and available for immediate purchase at a lower price. It must also be available under the same terms of service (e.g., warranty).
  • Price errors: most retailers will not honor a lower price because of a competitor’s pricing error.
  • Membership clubs: prices from wholesalers or buying clubs that require a membership fee are often excluded.
  • Items on sale: temporarily discounted items are usually not included in price adjustment offers.
  • Gift cards: offers relating to gift cards are typically excluded.

Competitor Exclusions

Retailers could exclude specific competitors from their lower price policies. Common exclusions cover:

  • Third-party sellers: prices from third-party sellers on marketplace platforms are often excluded.
  • Auctions: items sold through auctions or bid-based purchases may not be price matched.
  • Online-only businesses: some retailers might not match the prices of online-only competitors or only match the prices of specific online retailers.
  • Geographical limitations: some retailers will only match prices from local competitors.

Quantity Limits

There may be restrictions on the number of items that can benefit from a price guarantee. Typical limitations include:

  • One item per customer: the deal is often limited to one of each specific item per customer. Example: only 1 smartphone at the lower price, not 3.
  • Limited promotional quantities: items in a limited-time promotion may have quantity limits for the lower price.

How to Request a Price Match

The process will vary based on whether you’re doing it in-store or online.

In-Store Price Adjustment Process

To request the offer in-store, bring evidence of the competitor’s lower price to a brick-and-mortar location. The proof may be in the form of:

  • Current printed advertisements: the entire ad needs to be shown to store associates.
  • Digital ads: present the digital ad on a smartphone or tablet.
  • Retailer’s website: a functioning link to the competitor’s website displaying the current price.

The store associate will validate the price and the item’s eligibility, which includes ensuring the item is identical. If all is in order, you’ll get a better deal.

Online Price Adjustment Process

To initiate an online price match request, customers can often use:

  • Live chat: many retailers provide a live chat function on their website to handle lower price requests.
  • Phone support: customers can call the retailer’s customer service to initiate the price adjustment procedure.

Regardless of the contact method, you should be ready to provide the link to the competitor’s ad or website. This has to be a direct link to the product page or the ad showing the identical item at a lower price. After confirming the item’s eligibility for price matching, the transaction will be adjusted to the lower price point.

Price Guarantee FAQs

What Is Price Matching?

Some businesses pledge to match the lower price that some, or any, competitors offer for specific items. Retailers offer price deals to provide the best shopping experience and build customer trust.

What Stores Do Price Match?

Not all companies offer price adjustments. It largely depends on the company’s business model and competitive strategy. Before purchasing, it’s a good idea to inquire about the store’s policy or check their website for information.

Some big US brands who offer this deal include:

  • Best Buy: for items from local retail competitors and select online competitors.
  • Home Depot: for both online and local competitors, and will beat the price by 10% for in-store purchases.
  • Lowe’s: for local and online competitors’ prices for identical items. They also offer a 10% discount under specific conditions.
  • Target: for select online competitors and their online prices. The match can be requested at purchase or within 14 days.
  • Walmart: price guarantee policy for select online retailers. Their physical stores do not offer price protection (as of 2016).
  • Staples: for items sold and shipped by and select online retailers.
  • JCPenney: for local competitors and their sale prices. They also allow the application of a price deal to a purchase made within 14 days.
  • Nordstrom: for identical items sold in certain online or local retail competitors.
  • Kohl’s: while not applicable to their website, Kohl’s brick-and-mortar stores offer low price guarantees with local competitors.
  • Bed Bath & Beyond: for local retail competitors and major online retailers for identical items.

What’s the Best Way to Use Price Matching?

Here are the steps you should follow using this store policy:

  • Understand the policy: read the store’s terms and conditions, including any exclusions or limitations.
  • Research before shopping: look online and in physical locations to see if other retailers offer a lower price for your desired item (especially high-value ones). Sometimes, you’ll find lower prices for products online.
  • Gather proof: have evidence ready for the lower price. This could be a printed advertisement, a saved webpage, or a photograph of the price from the store.
  • Leverage discount coupons: some retailers let you use a coupon in addition to offering a lower price guarantee.
  • Monitor major sales: even if a store suspends its matching policy during major sales events like Black Friday, they might match prices for a period before or after the event.
  • Keep receipts: some stores allow matching lower prices post-purchase. Hold onto your receipts for a couple of weeks.

What Exclusions Apply to Price Matching?

Exclusions often include clearance, liquidation sales, prices from third-party sellers, and special events such as Black Friday or Cyber Monday.

What Items Are Eligible for Price Matching?

The item must be identical – usually meaning the same brand, model number, size, color, and so on. It must be in stock both at the retailer and the competitor, and the competitor’s lower price needs to be verifiable.