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Target Price-Match Policy

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Target has announced that it will match prices from 29 online retailers, including Amazon, in addition to local competitors. Although you'll need to wait in the customer service line to request a price match, the policy is clear, easy to follow, and a winner in our book. The store's practice of applying manufacturer coupons after matching, rather than before, makes for greater savings.

Target's price-match policy is one of only a couple that include Amazon and select online retailers, not just local competitors. The store's expanded low-price promise, which took effect Oct. 1, 2015, applies to 29 online retailers, including Amazon and Target.com.

Armed with a smartphone and the Amazon mobile app, we tested the new Target price-match policy with two products. The first, a Philips Sonicare DiamondClean rechargeable electric toothbrush, was for sale at Target for $199. When we scanned the box, the app showed that Amazon had it for $166.58. At the counter a helpful Target representative confirmed we'd be able to get the lower price, a savings of more than $30. The other item we picked up was a 4-ounce bottle of Bausch & Lomb Biotrue contact lens solution. The $1.49 Amazon price looked appealing next to the $5.39 Target price. This time we weren't so lucky: The solution was being sold by a third party on the Amazon Marketplace and not directly by Amazon.com. Target's guarantee excludes marketplace prices.

How have other shoppers fared with price matching at Target? The day after Target originally updated its policy to include a handful of online retailers, in 2013, one shopper tried to request price matches for a couple of items that were cheaper on Walmart.com and was told that a weekly ad was required, according to a comment on TechCrunch. Most likely employees hadn't been adequately briefed on the corporate policy yet, and the commenter wasn't familiar enough with the fine print to insist that the store match the online price.

Target will match prices after purchase, as well, if shoppers find a better deal and has lengthened the period for price adjustment to 14 days. Regardless when customers request a price match, they must head to customer service instead of going through a normal checkout line -- a potential downside of the program, given that the customer service line is apt to move more slowly. Another thing to watch out for: Like most stores' guarantees, the Target price-match policy applies only to identical items, meaning the exact same model, color, size, weight, and brand name. This automatically rules out a lot of private-label clothing, personal care, and food items. We even saw a Target-exclusive red-and-white Sonicare toothbrush, which would have been ineligible. Other exclusions include products from membership clubs and items advertised as limited time, limited supply, or limited quantity. Read the full Target price-match policy here.

A final money-saving tip: Although Target coupons are applied before the price match, manufacturer coupons are applied after.

Louis DeNicola

Louis DeNicola is a freelance personal finance writer who specializes in credit, debt, and practical money-saving tips. He loves stacking savings opportunities to get amazing deals, traveling for free using credit card rewards, and teaching others how to do the same. Connect with Louis by visiting louisdenicola.com.

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