Home > Personal Finance > How to Deal With Black Friday Buyer’s Remorse

Comments 0 Comments

Let’s say you shopped the Black Friday and Cyber Week sales thinking prices were as low as they were going to go, and then they dropped. And now, instead of feeling brilliant for snagging a bargain, you wish you’d waited.

Unfortunately, I know exactly how you feel.

Some credit cards offer price protection (like Citi’s Price Rewind), but you have to register before you discover the lower price. And, of course, you would have had to use the registered credit card to make your purchase. If you did, you’re in luck.

But if you didn’t, you still may not be stuck. Many merchants will make a price adjustment if they reduce the price within 14 days of your purchase. (Though you may have as few as seven days or more than 30, depending on store policy.) Some stores offer a longer window during the holidays; it’s worth checking. For example, Target and Walmart will match prices from early November through Dec. 21 and Dec. 24, respectively. There are exclusions, to be sure, but the price-match policies are generous.

It Never Hurts to Ask

In my case, I had ordered a bicycle online, and I discovered the price had dropped by $33. (Suddenly I didn’t feel so smart for having found and used a $20 coupon.) I went online and asked if price adjustments were offered. Indeed, they were. Once my order number was confirmed, the price difference was refunded to the credit card I used.

If you bought in a brick-and-mortar store, you may not be able to use an online price to get a price adjustment (but you also might be – some retailers now match online prices in an effort to combat “showrooming” – going to a store to see and test an item and then buying it for less online). Retailers’ policies can change, so if you should find a lower price, your next task is to check the price-adjustment policy.

Also, some managers have leeway to make price adjustments even after the window has passed, and some consumers report being able to negotiate a price adjustment anyhow. It doesn’t hurt to ask.

Price-Change Strategies

How do you check for a lower price? One way is to use PriceBlink, a free Web browser add-on. You can set a certain price for an item, so that if or when the item reaches it, you are notified.

In any case, you’ll want to keep receipts in case you or the recipient wants to return the item. If you’re outside the price adjustment window and you really, really want that lower price, you could consider returning the item and re-buying it. But be careful of using this tactic this too often: Some stores track “serial returners” and may limit your return privileges.

And if you’re still shopping? Check out return and price-adjustment policies beforehand. The holiday spirit and fear that the store will run out of the item you want can drive some less-than-prudent purchase decisions. And bring your smartphone. You can check prices elsewhere while you’re still in the store.

And should you later discover that – horror of horrors – some other shopper paid less than you did, is a price adjustment worth your time and trouble? Most of us don’t think so (or aren’t aware the price dropped). Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst at the NPD Group said just 5% of consumers take advantage of price-match policies.

Did it bother me that the price had dropped on the bicycle I bought? Yes, I try to be thrifty. But I would not have dreamed of returning the bike we crammed into the trunk and drove home with in the rain. Not for a few dollars’ difference.

Image: Annie-Claude bédard

Comments on articles and responses to those comments are not provided or commissioned by a bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by a bank advertiser. It is not a bank advertiser's responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.

Please note that our comments are moderated, so it may take a little time before you see them on the page. Thanks for your patience.

Credit.com receives compensation for the financial products and services advertised on this site if our users apply for and sign up for any of them.

Hello, Reader!

Thanks for checking out Credit.com. We hope you find the site and the journalism we produce useful. We wanted to take some time to tell you a bit about ourselves.

Our People

The Credit.com editorial team is staffed by a team of editors and reporters, each with many years of financial reporting experience. We’ve worked for places like the New York Times, American Banker, Frontline, TheStreet.com, Business Insider, ABC News, NBC News, CNBC and many others. We also employ a few freelancers and more than 50 contributors (these are typically subject matter experts from the worlds of finance, academia, politics, business and elsewhere).

Our Reporting

We take great pains to ensure that the articles, video and graphics you see on Credit.com are thoroughly reported and fact-checked. Each story is read by two separate editors, and we adhere to the highest editorial standards. We’re not perfect, however, and if you see something that you think is wrong, please email us at editorial team [at] credit [dot] com,

The Credit.com editorial team is committed to providing our readers and viewers with sound, well-reported and understandable information designed to inform and empower. We won’t tell you what to do. We will, however, do our best to explain the consequences of various actions, thereby arming you with the information you need to make decisions that are in your best interests. We also write about things relating to money and finance we think are interesting and want to share.

In addition to appearing on Credit.com, our articles are syndicated to dozens of other news sites. We have more than 100 partners, including MSN, ABC News, CBS News, Yahoo, Marketwatch, Scripps, Money Magazine and many others. This network operates similarly to the Associated Press or Reuters, except we focus almost exclusively on issues relating to personal finance. These are not advertorial or paid placements, rather we provide these articles to our partners in most cases for free. These relationships create more awareness of Credit.com in general and they result in more traffic to us as well.

Our Business Model

Credit.com’s journalism is largely supported by an e-commerce business model. Rather than rely on revenue from display ad impressions, Credit.com maintains a financial marketplace separate from its editorial pages. When someone navigates to those pages, and applies for a credit card, for example, Credit.com will get paid what is essentially a finder’s fee if that person ends up getting the card. That doesn’t mean, however, that our editorial decisions are informed by the products available in our marketplace. The editorial team chooses what to write about and how to write about it independently of the decisions and priorities of the business side of the company. In fact, we maintain a strict and important firewall between the editorial and business departments. Our mission as journalists is to serve the reader, not the advertiser. In that sense, we are no different from any other news organization that is supported by ad revenue.

Visitors to Credit.com are also able to register for a free Credit.com account, which gives them access to a tool called The Credit Report Card. This tool provides users with two free credit scores and a breakdown of the information in their Experian credit report, updated twice monthly. Again, this tool is entirely free, and we mention that frequently in our articles, because we think that it’s a good thing for users to have access to data like this. Separate from its educational value, there is also a business angle to the Credit Report Card. Registered users can be matched with products and services for which they are most likely to qualify. In other words, if you register and you find that your credit is less than stellar, Credit.com won’t recommend a high-end platinum credit card that requires an excellent credit score You’d likely get rejected, and that’s no good for you or Credit.com. You’d be no closer to getting a product you need, there’d be a wasted inquiry on your credit report, and Credit.com wouldn’t get paid. These are essentially what are commonly referred to as "targeted ads" in the world of the Internet. Despite all of this, however, even if you never apply for any product, the Credit Report Card will remain free, and none of this will impact how the editorial team reports on credit and credit scores.

Your Stories

Lastly, much of what we do is informed by our own experiences as well as the experiences of our readers. We want to tell your stories if you’re interested in sharing them. Please email us at story ideas [at] credit [dot] com with ideas or visit us on Facebook or Twitter.

Thanks for stopping by.

- The Credit.com Editorial Team