Price adjustment (retail)

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Price adjustments, also called price protection, is a retail practice in the USA in which customers can obtain a partial refund of the purchase price of an item if they can show it on sale at a lower price within a fixed time frame. In such circumstances, retailers will do a “price adjustment,” refunding the difference between the price the customer paid and the price now available. For example, if a customer buys a TV from for $300, and it drops in price by $100, they can go back to the retailer to ask for a price adjustment and get the difference returned to them, often in cash. Retailers with price adjustment policies include Macy's, Gap, and Staples.

Price adjustments are not the same as return policies. With price adjustments, retailers will refund a customer the difference in cost even if the item has already been used. Returns, on the other hand, usually need to be in an unused condition. Some retailers have different policies for in-store purchase and online purchases. Many retailers also exclude certain items from price adjustments, price guarantees or price matching (like items that were on sale to begin with).

Price adjustments are also slightly different from price matching policies. Price matching is when a retailer will give you a refund of the difference between their higher price of a good and a competing retailer's lower price for the same good. Price adjustments only compare different prices within the same retailer over time.

There is a different kind of tools that can help online shoppers to get price adjustment automatically. They tend to ask users sign up with an email account and read the invoice in user mailbox to get the purchased price and track current price from the online stores like Macy's, Nordstrom. The price adjustment time length for online stores are normally between 14-30 days.


  • Grant, Kelli (20 October 2008). "The Price (Adjustment) Is Right". SmartMoney.
  • "Price Adjustment Policies". ABC7 News. 24 July 2006.
  • Survey by Pricetector, Inc taken on Jan 20, 2011 on customer loyalty