Amazon No Longer Offers Post-Purchase Price Matching

This is actually old news, as it seems Amazon has held this policy for about a year now. Nonetheless, I wanted to let everyone know that Amazon no longer offers post-purchase price adjustments, even to match themselves, on anything besides televisions. That means that if you buy something on Friday, and on Saturday it decreases in price, they will not give you the difference. The only outcome is to purchase the item at a lower price and return the previous item (which will cost $6 in shipping).

How I Learned This Policy The Hard Way

Recently, I became very frustrated with my phone. I use it for a very limited set of functions, but it was so old it could no longer do even those tasks well. I had to remove many of my already very minimal apps just to have the phone update. I decided it was time for an upgrade, and, after a lot of research, settled on the Moto G5 Plus.

I went on Amazon to buy the phone. I did so a few days before Prime Day, “knowing” that even if there was a Prime Day deal, I could just contact customer service and have them match the Prime Day price. I’d done it in the past, so I didn’t bother to check the customer service policy. At the end of Prime Day, there had still been no price reduction on the model I bought, so I felt pretty smug.

Until, the morning after Prime Day, my phone (ha!) notified me that Amazon dropped the price by $50. I hopped on the customer service chat before work, thinking I’d be able to knock out the refund pretty quickly. That was my first mistake–the representatives working on the text chat are obviously working totally from scripts, and gave me no line other than quote their non-price matching policy. I got the same exact response despite two different attempts, although both were at a time very early in the morning.

I did as they instructed, and went ahead and ordered the phone again at the cheaper price. Nonetheless, this whole situation had become a matter of principle in my mind. (Don’t they know they’re losing money on this? They’re going to get a used phone back in exchange for a new one!) So, I decided to try the customer service phone line immediately after work. The representative I got that time sounded a lot more receptive to working with me. My Internet research says that if you call the phone line and demand to talk to the manager with a compelling case (i.e. you can show how the company will lose money), you can sometimes get a policy exception, although I cannot verify that as true. In my case, since the phone I ordered earlier that day was shipping literally as I spoke to the rep, they said the best plan was to stick with returning the previous phone.

The return, at least, was very simple. I printed the label from Amazon, and the refund was credited back to my card the minute I dropped the package off at the UPS center. I did not have to wait for Amazon to actually process the return. I did have to pay $6 shipping, but I still made $44 on returning the (now used!) phone to Amazon and ordering the same phone over again.

How Not to Repeat My Mistakes

Make sure you’re getting the lowest price not just currently on the market, but historically, before you order from Amazon. Price checker sites with historical data like CamelCamelCamel can help with this. If you expect a big sale or price drop soon, go ahead and hold out. Otherwise, you’re going to be out $6 for the return and potentially some hassle if the price drops significantly within the return window.

If you have to deal with Amazon customer service, it may be better to avoid the text chat feature, particularly if you are inquiring during non-standard business hours. You will probably get better traction by calling the customer service phone line.

Finally, any time you’re making a major purchase from any vendor, be sure to check their return policy first. Don’t assume it is as you expect, or, alas, you might be in the for the same surprise headache that I received.

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