Many credit card companies offer price protection. This is an important feature because it can save money. If you notice that an item's price is less within a specific amount of time, you can do something about it and recoup some or all of the difference.
We have all been at that place where we are excited about buying that brand new TV. Perhaps it streams movies, connects to the Internet, or it may even display your favorite movies in 3D. The excitement is incredible. However, that excitement can quickly turn into disappointment when that same television goes on sale for several hundred dollars less than you paid for it and just weeks or even days after you bought it.
Cards Offering Price Protection
There are a number of Canadian credit cards that provide their cardholders with the price protection benefit. For instance, all of the Capital One MasterCard products have the price protection feature. The APRs with all of these cards vary and APR can be a good indicator of whether or not price protection is going to pay off. If the rate is low, then the price protection is going to give a little something back in regards to the price of the card. The same applies to any rewards cards that give back points or miles for spending. However, the rate is one area to focus on. Nonetheless, price protection can be a very valuable service depending on how much you use it. Make sure you look at the limitations when deciding upon a card that offers price protection.
You also want to look at the amount of time you are protected. A card that offers 60-day price protection is one that will allow you to make your claim within two months of buying the product. However, the refund per item may be limited to something like $100 per item with a $500 maximum in a single calendar year. There may also be a minimum reimbursement. For instance, MasterCard has a $10 minimum reimbursement rule. This is in place to eliminate refunds for merchandise that is low-priced.
Referring back to the television example, let's say that the television was $700 and went on sale for $400 a week later. Although there is a $300 difference, the card that was used to make the purchase may only reimburse $100. Some cards will reimburse an amount based on what has already been used toward the maximum in a calendar year.
It is important to know that price protection refunds are only provided for items that match new products purchased with the card. The sale prices also have to be advertised in writing. Any shopping costs and taxes are not eligible for the refund.
Typical Price Protection Exclusions
Every price protection program is different, but there are some common items in which refunds cannot be given. These items include electronic devices, such as:
- Electronic devices, such as cell phones
- Computer software and hardware
- Auto parts, motorized vehicles, and fuel
- Perishable items
- Precious metals
- Money and stamps
- Entertainment and transportation tickets
There are many retailers throughout Canada that run their own price protection specials. When that's the case, the items bought under these specials are excluded from price protection. This prevents any kind of double dipping on refunds.
Additional ineligible purchases include gift card incentives, items that are one-of-a-kind, liquidated merchandise, used items, purchases from foreign retailers, online purchases, business purchases, and store demos.
Although the restrictions may seem daunting, credit card price protection reimburses many products, such as furniture, school supplies, clothing, non-electronic equipment, and non-motorized vehicles. You will need to review the terms and conditions of the program so you know what products are eligible. There is also the fact that the terms of the program can change periodically.
Because monitoring prices can be time-consuming, there are price-tracking alerts that are available at a number of websites that can be used to automatically find a price change. Price alerts are easy to set up, as all you need is the URL of the item and its price and your email address. If the price of the item you purchased goes down, then the software automatically sends you an email.
In order to cash in on an eligible price drop, you have to notify the credit card company within a specific period of time. You will have to refer to your credit card agreement in order to determine how much time you have to claim the price drop and how much time eligibility is good for. Some credit card companies will give you sixty days, while others will give you ninety days.
After you contact your credit card company, you will be provided with a claim refund form, which must be sent with the required documents within a specific amount of time after the item was charged to the credit card.
It is important to keep track of your original credit card statements and receipts that prove that the transaction is one that is eligible for price protection. You may also need to supply the dated advertisements that show that an item identical to the one you purchased was offered at a lower price in Canada. This price must be offered within the program’s allotted protection period.
After the refund is received through price protection, you can enjoy the new TV a little more, knowing that you got something back on it. While it may not be the entire difference between the purchase price and the lower price, you still come out in the end not having to pay full price.
Price protection is one of the benefits of having a credit card that offers it. If you shop with a retailer that doesn't have their own price protection program, then your credit card can take care of it for you. That way you don’t necessarily have to miss out on saving on eligible purchases.