Amazon quietly ended its price protection policy Friday, on all products except televisions. The change in the retail giant’s policy comes after a handful of startups launched to help consumers automate requesting refunds. For example, Earny recently debuted an app that helps consumers get their money back on purchases after price drops. Co-founded Oded Vakrat reported that around 50% of the refund request handled on the app were for Amazon purchases. The newcomer currently competes with tech company Paribus, that offers a similar device but online as well as mobile. Older sites such as camelcamelcamel allows users to track Amazon price drops and even receive email alerts.
Amazon’s price protection policy used to be on of the least friendly to customers, as it use to only provide seven days of price matching on price drops. What this means is that if a user purchases an item from Amazon, it has seven days to request a refund. However Amazon only matches with its own prices for items. not competitor’s pricing — with the exception of TVs and cell phones. For comparison, other stores such as Best Buy and Walmart provide 15 to 90 days of price protection. Vakrat says that his company noticed Amazon’s policy change a couple of days ago, around May 7th or 8th.
Initially, Amazon agents fulfilled price-matching requests saying that if an item was shipped and sold by amazon, the company has a seven-day period from the time of the delivery. However when the new policy went into effect, the company released a statement saying that “with the exception of TVs, amazon.com does not offer post-purchase adjustments.” Users on Reddit also noticed the policy change; some users were even told by Amazon that they never offered a price protection policy, but that the refunds it issued in the past were an “exception”.
The company currently insists that the price policy has not changed- that prices are dynamic and that the customer service agents have made rare exceptions in the past. Amazon offered the following statement on the matter.
“Our customers expect to come to Amazon and find the lowest prices and we are obsessed with maintaining that customer trust. We work hard to find the best prices out there and match them for all customers every day. Further, we take customer security very seriously and want to remind them not to share their Amazon account credentials with anyone.”