We’ve all felt the pain of buyer’s regret, especially when the item we just bought at full price goes on sale a week later. If this happens to you, check your credit card as it can offer price protection.
If you’ve charged the full cost of an eligible item to your credit card, this feature will refund the difference between the price you paid and the lower advertised price within 60 days of purchase.
In late September, my wife bought a chandelier that is currently selling for $ 60 less than what she paid. While many stores have their own price protection policies, if you’re doing business with a store that doesn’t, such as the one that sold us the chandelier, it’s often worth making a claim through your credit card.
The process is relatively simple. I called my credit card company where they confirmed that the item was eligible for the program, was purchased during the 60 day period, and that the advertised lower price was from a legitimate retailer.
After they were satisfied with the information, I was given a phone number for the insurance company I submitted my claim to – all I had to do was fill out a form and provide some documents. The whole process took no more than 30 minutes, which worked out to $ 120 an hour.
A few years ago, I went through the same process and saved $ 200 on the purchase of a TV – not bad for 30 minutes on the phone and filling out forms.
Price protection normally has a limit of $ 1,000 per calendar year. It’s cumulative, so multiple claims can be made throughout the year as long as the total doesn’t exceed $ 1,000.
Also pay attention to what a “qualifying” item is. Items whose prices fluctuate widely, such as computer equipment and software, are not eligible, as are airplane, sports or theater tickets. Most other items sold in stores, including electronics, appliances, and furniture, should be covered.
While some credit cards don’t have this benefit, many do, including several without an annual fee. I use two credit cards, both of which charge an annual fee, but there is only one that offers price protection.
That’s why I only use the card with the price protect feature when making full price purchases, in case they go on sale in the near future.
Some people take it a step further by using price control tools or an app like PriceFinder.nl. If the app finds the same item at a lower price, it will send an alert.
The buyer must then decide whether the price difference is enough to spend the time filing a claim.
I make purchases with my credit cards 98 percent of the time, not only for points, but also for all the other benefits that the credit cards offer. In addition to price protection, I have also taken advantage of lost baggage protection, auto and travel insurance, and purchase protection.
With Purchase Protection, if you buy something that is damaged, stolen or sometimes even lost, you can have the item replaced for free within a specified period of time.
I recommend spending 20 minutes researching and familiarizing yourself with the protection your credit cards offer, and don’t be afraid to take advantage of it.
That said, no perk or feature is worth paying the 19 to 30 percent interest that credit card companies charge on outstanding balances, so I recommend only using your credit card for purchases if you pay the balances in full each month.
This column is part of the CBC Opinion section. Read our to learn more about this section FAQ.