Saturday, May 31, 2008

Amazon's Price Guarantee

Amazon LogoI decided to pull the trigger on the Panasonic 50PZ800u and have discovered one of the better under-publicized features of Amazon, their 30 day price guarantee. One of the anxieties of buying any big ticket electronic is that prices are always dropping and you just know it is going to drop the minute after you make your purchase. There wasn't a more perfect example of this than this. More on that in a minute.

On Friday, Amazon showed that it had my TV in stock. Funny enough, they delayed the "In Stock" date yet again the day after my original post about Amazon teasing me. So I had to wait another day before I felt comfortable ordering it. I got in on Friday morning to see that they were showing the item in stock, so I decided to go through with the purchase and just order it. I wanted to get the TV as soon as possible since the NBA finals will be starting on Thursday, and the Lakers are in it. It is going to be a classic match up between Los Angeles and Boston so I wanted to catch as much of it as I could on the new TV.

I ordered the TV at about 10:00 a.m. PST. The price of the TV when I ordered it was $2368.86. I felt fairly comfortable with the price and truth be told I would have been happy to pay that amount. But wouldn't you know it. I obsessively checked the status of my order at noon and noticed that the price had dropped more than $50 to $2313.96. I could only laugh as I found the whole thing pretty amusing. You expect the price to drop sometime after you buy it, and that's just life. There is no point in always holding out for a lower price because you will never get what you want. But dropping by $50 just two hours after you have bought it? Now that's just irony.

Now I have read that Amazon has some pretty sophisticated albeit strange pricing algorithms. It could very well be that my purchasing of the TV actually caused the price of the item to go down. As the margins on these TVs are pretty good, and I'm sure they don't sell them in as much quantity as say a DVD, it is very likely that my actions had an affect on the price, and therefore the price dropped. Of course this would fly in the face of traditional supply-and-demand principles, but who am I to tell them not to give consumers a better deal?

However, Amazon has a 30 day price guarantee that is good until 30 days after the item is shipped (my item hasn't even shipped yet so I think I'm getting an even longer window). All you have to do is go to the customer service screen which should list all your recent orders. You should be able to click on a button to e-mail customer service. If you e-mail them with the price that you saw listed on Amazon, they will refund you the difference with a credit to your credit card.

But it gets better. You can do this as often as you like in your 30 day window. Quite literally, another 3 hours later, the price dropped yet again to $2286.86, a total of $82 less than my original purchase price. I e-mailed them again to get the new price difference and yet again they credited me the money.

Wait, it still gets better. There is absolutely no hassle about it. It really couldn't be any easier or faster. Each time I got a pretty standard response saying they looked at it, and they agreed they had it at a lower price, and they would credit my credit card the amount. And they did this all within a few hours after my inquiry (even though today is a Saturday).

So far, so good. Now all I need is for the TV to show up ...


  1. I'm pretty happy with Amazon's customer service. They're prompt to deliver. Also, I haven't yet had to return any items due to shipping damages. Of course, I haven't bought much besides books and a trackball mouse.

  2. Wow, now that's good customer service. I've always been leery about using an on-line goods company because you never know how they're going to treat you. Also pictures on-line often time do not look the same in real life (This is not to say that the on-line company is purposefully tricking me). Pictures are never going to be the same as seeing the item first hand. I feel more at ease about Amazon. Maybe I'll give it a try.

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