By Paula Ebben, WBZ-TVBy Paula Ebben

BOSTON (CBS) – Getting the best deal on a major purchase can be as easy as just asking a store to match a competitor’s lower price.

With four children, Maria Smith isn’t shy about asking for a store to match a better price. “Every little bit helps.  Just this week, I bought a toy and saved $3.  It’s not a lot, but it bought my coffee that day.”

So how hard is it to get a lower price?  Here are the results of a recent informal survey.

One major chain was offering an electric screwdriver for $99.  A price matching app found an online retailer offering it for $95.

The store’s policy states that it doesn’t match online retailers, but when asked directly if they would, they quickly took $5 off to make the sale.

Louis DeNicola of says it is important to ask what the store can do for you.  “Some employees will stick exactly to the script as corporate policy writes when it comes to price matching.  Others will go out of their way to help shoppers.”

Take a look at this example.  The clerk at one electronics store figured out a way to save $50 on a Blu-ray player.

It was offered at a lower price at the very same chain store two miles away.

Strangely, the store’s policy is to only match prices with online competitors, now their own stores.

The clerk actually went online looking for a lower price and found that better deal for $50 less.

“Having an employee who knows the rules can make all the difference,” added DeNicola.

He said that some stores will be play hardball, however.  “Although you might see a television that’s 42 inches, has all the same specifications between two different stores, you’ll find that store A has a very specific model number because they’ve moved the power button to the left side so you won’t be able to price match it in store B.”

There were no additional savings to be had when shopping for a computer monitor.  The store had a defined list of competitor’s they match, and a lower priced option wasn’t available with any of them.

Because retail is so competitive, it is in a consumer’s best interest to be bold and ask.

Allen Adamson, a retail consultant, said “Retailers must be able to react in the moment to a particular customer situation, and on the fly, figure out how to become competitive with either somebody next door or somebody around the world.”

Many clerks are not fully versed in their store’s policies.  If you get any hesitation, don’t be afraid to politely ask for a manger.


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