Price adjustment, please

By Mir
May 19, 2008

Pretty Regan writes:

Would it be possible for you to post a list of stores that offer price adjustments? I only know of one that does this: Gap. Keep your receipt and, if the prices drops in the next 14 days, they’ll refund the difference. But they can’t be the only ones that do this, right?

You’re absolutely right—Gap is not the only store that does this.

Unfortunately, no, I can’t post a list. And I can’t post a list because as soon as I did, it would be outdated five minutes later. The thing about retail establishments is that they can pretty much do whatever they want, provided that their policy is spelled out, somewhere. That also means they can change it as often as they like.

I know for a fact that you have 30 days at Amazon to ask for a price adjustment, and that their process is so simple that it’s the next best thing to total automation. That’s been the case for as long as Amazon has been around, and I’ve not seen it change, ever.

They’re the only store whose policy I feel comfortable touting, though. That’s not to say you can’t shop other places and get price adjustments, that’s simply to say that I don’t feel like I could possibly be up on the current details of every store, and each store is a bit different.

Target used to do adjustments on everything, but now they have a fairly convoluted policy which applies to some things and not others, and in general, if you got it on clearance, they won’t adjust it for you (but if you didn’t, they might). Clear as mud, right?

Some stores adjust, but only if the item wasn’t on sale to begin with. Others adjust no matter what. Still others only adjust under very specific circumstances. Here’s the rule when it comes to price adjustments:

Ask before, and then ask afterwards.

When you’re making a purchase in a store, ask the cashier to tell you what their price adjustment policy is. If you’re making the purchase online, check around—the policy is likely posted somewhere in tiny print (which is annoying, but put on your reading glasses and deal). That’s the proactive side, where you have an idea of what you’re facing.

Now, whether you’ve done that or not, you can always ask for a price adjustment afterwards, as well. Just so you know? This works a lot better in-person than it does with online ordering. By that I mean that you’re more likely to get what you want with a store that doesn’t have a firm policy if you’re standing there in front of them. Most online retailers have clearly posted policies, and bending them can be difficult.

I always ask. I am rarely turned down, in person. Even if they say no, you then have the option to return your original purchase and re-buy at the lower price, which is a hassle for all involved, and so they’re likely to relent. If they don’t, either return your item(s) or just make a mental note that you probably don’t want to shop there in the future.

I’ve called for price adjustments on online orders before, with mixed results. This has the added snag of the “well I’ll just return it then” threat actually costing you money in shipping (both ways), so it’s unlikely they’ll be swayed by that. Also, I do most of my online shopping on clearanced stuff, already, and most stores will not give you another price drop on those things. But they might, so you should always ask.

My favorite shopping mantra is a pretty good one for life in general, you know. If you don’t ask, you don’t get.

Chances are you’ll learn which stores work for you and they’ll be the ones you go back to. Or you’ll learn to buy stuff cheaply enough that you don’t care.


  1. I did this at and was able to do it right through the online live chat help thingy. Very very simple and quick and willing to make the change. I believe the item was a backpack that I found through here (so on sale) that dropped even further. I gave them my order number, they confirmed the change and credited my card. All in under 5 minutes (well, it may have taken a day for the credit to appear but the work was done very quickly).

    I understand what you are saying regarding stores being allowed to change their policy but I did want to speak up about what a good experience I had price adjusting through lands end.

  2. Eddie Bauer Outlet will adjust prices within 14 days (I think that’s the limit). Much like Em, I saw a post here on WantNot awhile back that everything in the EB outlet was 30% off. DH had just made a ~$50 purchase a few days before. I emailed them with the order # and they credited his account with the 30% in about one day. Yay!

  3. Costco also does price adjustments.

    We bouth a 42in flat screen t.v. with our stimulus check (ahem) and the day after that it was reduced by $200!

    Sure enough they adjusted it!

    So since you are likely to buy big dollar purchases there, that is good info.


  4. Circuit City is also very good about price adjusting within 30 days. My brother bought a computer last year (on sale) and then requested and received a refund for about $250 when it went on sale for a lower price three weeks later. Because he had such a good experience with the price match and the computer, he recommended them to my sister when she needed a new computer a few months later. She also bought a computer and received a refund of about $100 when the price dropped again the next week.

  5. If GAP does it, so will the GAP affiliates: Banana Republic and Old Navy. Same company.

    JCrew and Ann Taylor/Ann Taylor Loft will also do this.

  6. We recently bought a playset/swing set at Toys r Us for $499 on sale. A week later, my friend told me it was in the newspaper ad for $379. I called them, and they told me to bring it the receipt….cash back. And, the swing was already put together in our backyard. No hassle.

  7. Thanks for the advice. Something as simple as “just ask” has never occurred to me, you know, because I’m simple like that.

  8. Sears will adjust within 30 days, with a receipt, in-store (not sure what the online policy entails), if a regular or sale price goes down (doesn’t apply to clearance items).

    If you find the same item cheaper at another local retailer within 30 days, they will also give you an adjustment AND give you an extra 10% of the difference. All you need is the competitor’s ad or a page printed from their website.

  9. Keep in mind some states have laws that cover you too. When I lived in Virginia, I found out that there is a law that they must honor price adjustments for 14 days post purchase. There may be something about seasonal items because I’m pretty sure I didn’t get money back on some Christmas item I needed after Christmas, but still.

    It pays to know the law too.

  10. I’ve always had good luck with Target doing adjustments; as a matter of fact I am headed there to tomorrow to get a couple $ back on a swing.

  11. I’ve gotten a price adjustment within 30 days at Best Buy, and keep in mind that if you keep your reciept, you can always just return the item and buy it again. Target will let you return things up to 90 days, and if you bought it with a credit card, they can even look up the reciepts for you. Old Navy also does that – the looking up of lost reciepts with your credit card thing. The other day I was returning shoes from Old Navy, and I didn’t have the reciept. They were on sale for $2, and I was sure they’d give me $2 store credit, but because they could look up the recipet with my credit card, I got a REFUND of $16!!!

  12. When I used to work at Pier One (two years ago, but still) they had a price-adjusting policy that was pretty simple–I’m pretty sure it was either two weeks or a month. The idea was, they didn’t want to mess with you bringing something back in person and then having to re-sell it to you at the lower price. Much easier to just give you the adjustment. I don’t know if they still do this, but they often do.

    Also–at our store–we used to give folks a heads-up about upcoming sales. So we’d say, “Buy this wicker furniture now because it’s going to go on sale next week and will fly out of here and you’ll be left with the dinged-up ones at the bottom of the stack…but then come back with the receipt and get a price adjustment!” I’m sure the willingness to do that varies from store to store, but for us, it made sense to just sell you the big-ticket items rather than risk that you might not come back! Check with your local Pier One and ask! 🙂

  13. I live in Virginia and think Patricia is right about our local law. That said, I’ve never had a problem at Target, though I’ve been a bit heavy handed in asking for a price adjustment of $50 on an armoire 29 days after purchase. I made the point that they have a 90 day return policy and that I could waste their time by going through the line to purchase a new one at the low price and then truck it right over to customer service and return it with my old receipt. The guy saw the light but did remind me of the policy.

  14. Mir, I love how your readers help take care of each other. Your prettiness must be contagious. 🙂

  15. Talbots has done that for years. Not just 14 days, either. My bridesmaids bought dresses from them in May, then with the tags still on them in September only ended up paying $49 for them. Sometimes you have to officially return it then buy it back, but it always works.

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