Does Amazon Offer a Price Match Guarantee?

Ignore the fact that I live in Alaska, and they still honor free shipping to those of us in this state, and ignore the fact that they have everything and their prices are fairly fantastic.  I want to talk about their customer service for a moment.

Last week, they had an unadvertised sale where select board games were buy two, get one free.  I found out about the sale by monitoring the Board Game Geek Hot Deal’s forum (which is a great tip if you’re into board games).  Anywho, for this particular sale, you had to add three eligible board games to your cart and then at checkout you would see the deal.   To determine what was an eligible game, you had to either add it to your cart to see, or you could scroll down and there was some subtle text within each listing that indicated whether it qualified.  All in all, it was a very secretive deal, and you would likely never have caught it if you didn’t know exactly what to look for.  Exact details of this particular sale (which is now over) can be found here.

amazon-logo_whiteI should stray on a tangent for a moment and mention that when I’m not making hobby progress, I tend to dream about buying things.  I don’t know how normal that is, but as hobby progress has been slow over the past couple of months, I’ve been looking into various outlets to dump my money into.  One of the games we’d been playing as of late is Zombicide.  Simon brought it over and it was fantastic.  Brandon brought it over as well, and it was pretty good (mostly because he didn’t have that many expansions), so I contemplated buying the game/expansions so we could play with it all again (as Simon doesn’t show up nearly often enough).  Long story short: I’ve been looking into it.

So, when Amazon’s B2G1 sale included Zombicide (both the base game, and the first two expansions), I wound up pulling the trigger.  In my efforts to get the most value for my money, I wound up buying two separate orders for a total of six games in order to maximize the discount (as the base game and first expansion are $60 each, and the second expansion is $33).  I figured I could use the additional savings to buy some Christmas presents for my closest friends.

Part of me wondered if I should pull the trigger then, or wait until Black Friday for the inevitable drop in prices.  Since it was an unadvertised sale and I wasn’t sure how long it would last, I wound up biting the bullet and buying it then.

zomb_boxOf course, Amazon wound up dropping their prices slightly on Black Friday, but only by a few pennies, so it wasn’t a big deal.  Having the B2G1 sale was far more adventageous for me, but Cyber Monday was another sale altogether.  The price of multiple games dropped by as much as $10.  When I saw that, I did a little researching about Amazon’s price matching policy, and came upon this post.

http://www.groovypost.com/howto/request-amazon-price-change-refund/

To save you some time, Amazon doesn’t price match (well, they do for TVs, but not for board games).  They also don’t have a documented online policy for matching their own prices when things fall; despite this, they do have an unofficial policy where they allow partial refunds if their price falls below the original purchase price within 7 days after receiving the item.  They’ll only match it once per item though, and you have to ask for it.  Granted, I already got a good deal, but it would be remiss of me not to ask them for the partial refund.  For simplicity’s sake, follow these directions to request a refund:

  1. Click on this link to start the process (and log in as necessary).
  2. Under Section 2, under “Select an Issue” choose “Returns and Refunds” from the drop down box
  3. Under the option for “Select Issue Details” choose “Other return or refund issue.”
  4. Under the heading of “Enter short summary of issue” enter “Partial Refund – Price Change” (this verbiage isn’t strictly necessary, but it’s short and to the point)
  5. Choose an option (email, chat, or phone) and then request the refund based upon the price change

So I went ahead and followed those directions, choosing to submit the request via email because I was out of town and working on a time-sensitive project.  My email said:

12/01/15 19:39:50
Your Name: Rob
Order Id: 108-4142890-1502631
Other info:Partial refund–price change
Selected Order Items:
Zombicide Toxic City Mall Expansion Board Game
Zombicide Toxic City Mall Expansion Board Game
Comments:I should begin by saying that Amazon is amazing–especially considering the fact that most products include free shipping (which is no small feat when you live in Alaska)!

Last week, I finally bit the bullet and ordered some board games that I’ve been wanting for a while; however, on Cyber Monday I noticed that the same games were discounted even more.  This particular game was $33.99, but was marked down to 28.89 yesterday (see link below for proof).  I tried to contact you yesterday at the time of the price decrease to see if you could honor it before the product arrived at my door, but I was travelling from 3am-9pm after not sleeping the night before.  I did attempt to contact you via email, but when I tried to pull up the recent order, it said that there was a technical glitch and that I should try again later.

I also ordered the base game (zombicide) the same day in another order.  I paid $60.99 and it was on sale yesterday for $51.84.  Likewise, Nations the board game $53.99 and the sale price for black Monday was $45.89.  It seems like you had a great sale during my travels!

I know you don’t have an official policy about price matching/corrections, but when I saw the price difference and mentioned it to my friend, he said that he had a similar issue and was able to send an email and get a partial refund.  I’m not sure if that’s a normal occurrence or if he’s special.  Since my stuff hadn’t even arrived yet, I’m hoping you can help me out.

Thanks in advance–either way.  And thanks for helping out us depraved folks in the great white north.

Happy Holidays,

-Rob

P.S. Links to yesterday’s prices on the three games I mentioned:

http://camelcamelcamel.com/Zombicide-Toxic-City-Expansion-Board/product/B00DUF0VE2?context=browse

http://camelcamelcamel.com/Guillotine-Games-COL-GUG00001-Zombicide/product/B0092GHPSI?context=browse

http://camelcamelcamel.com/Asmodee-NAT01ASM-Nations-Board-Game/product/B00GFLDWRQ?context=browse

Straight and to the point, with specific references as to price (by the way, if you haven’t already heard of camelcamelcamel, that’s another site you should probably look into).  Well, within 24 hours, I got a response from an unnamed customer service representative who said:

Hello,

Thank you for in inquiring about our Price Guarantee. Unfortunately, there are restrictions on special sale events such as Cyber Monday deals and a few more. The current Price for Zombicide Toxic City Mall Expansion Board Game is still $33.99. If this price drops within 7 days after its delivered, we will gladly honor the price adjustment once per item and order. Also, I was able to check the other item you mentioned. Zombicide Base Game is still showing $60.99 and Nations Board Game is not available from Amazon.com at this time but another seller has it for 65.90.

Please continue to advise us of any pricing issues in the future.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

Best regards,

Obviously, that wasn’t the response I was hoping for, and I could’ve let it drop at that.  I mean, I tried to get them to price match, and it sounds like it is something they do honor–but maybe not for special sales like Black Friday or Cyber Monday.  But that got me to thinking: if it wasn’t a limited quantity for sale at that price, it behooves me not to order anything in advance of those holidays in the future.  That means I need to hold onto my money until those known sales, and really it’s in their best interest to get my money as soon as possible (to lock in the deal).  Plus, the original link above suggested that getting a refund via phone is easier than doing it through email.  So, that’s what I did.

I wound up resubmitting the case (this time using the second order–thinking they might be able to reference the old case where they’d already denied the request if I used the original order), and verbally requested the price correction.  The customer service agent this time, Roxy, was very helpful and agreed to price match all of the items per the email below:

Hello Rob,

Thanks for contacting us about the recent price change on the Castles of Mad King Ludwig Board Game, Zombicide Toxic City Mall Expansion Board Game, Nations Board Game, and Zombicide Base Game. I recognize you have a choice of retailers and appreciate that you prefer to order from us.

Under these circumstances, I’ve issued a four refunds for the price difference on your orders to the original payment method. You will see the refund in 2-3 business days.

“Nations Board Game” total refund $8.10
“Zombicide Base Game” total refund $9.97
“Zombicide Toxic City Mall Expansion Board Game” quantity 2, total refund $10.20 ($5.10 each).
“Castles of Mad King Ludwig Board Game” total refund $4.15

We can only honor one price drop per item.

I hope this helps. We look forward to seeing you again soon.

We’d appreciate your feedback. Please use the links below to tell us about your experience today.

Best regards,
Roxy H.

She did let me know that this was a “one time” thing and not part of their usual price matching policy.  Not to say they don’t adjust their prices normally, but she said that they typically do so only based upon the active price sold by Amazon.  In most circumstances, the prices had been lowered on Cyber Monday and had bounced back up (in some instances to higher than what I’d originally paid).  To hear her talk, she didn’t seem to have a method of tracking what the prices were on a given day, and she accepted the prices that I stated each time.  Frankly, I was floored that she’d price match to a number that she couldn’t verify based upon my word alone–maybe she was just that nice, or maybe she was double-checking the prices I said in her system).  Either way, she agreed to price match all of the items that were on sale that day, and the refunds have started coming in–I’ll attribute them to my frugal gaming totals, once they’ve been fully processed so I can ensure that I’m keeping an accurate total.

EDIT: within 4 hours, all refunds had been granted.  Amazing!

Overall, I couldn’t be happier with the experience.  I was already transforming into an Amazon cultist–and this only helps to cement that position.

Small Business Disclaimer:

WarstoreBlackFridayAmazon is pretty amazing, but so is your friendly local game store.  Alas, I don’t have a “local” store as the closest one is half an hour from my house, and I never make it down to that part of town (ok, yes it is local, but I’m lazy and sedintary).  As a result, most often I wind up ordering online through The War Store.  I had a feeling they wouldn’t match the B2G1 sale, so I didn’t bother confering with them over this, but I did ask them about the stuff that Amazon didn’t have in that promotion at the time.  Truth be told, I was talking myself out of it, but thewarstore had a Black Friday Sale that offered 8% discount on everything, so I tried to get that on top of the price match.  Neal didn’t honor that, but he did agree to price match.

That deal was only as good as buying from Amazon direct, and I’d already talked myself out of that (at least for now), but wound up purchasing from Neal though.  His store has always done right by me, so I figured why not return the favor.  He was willing to match the best price online and, despite the fact that I couldn’t get the additional discount–I did have store credit from them, so it really was a win for me as well.

Long story short, Amazon is fantastic, but so are the little shops that make everything else worth buying.  Special thanks to Neal at the Warstore as well.  Go check them out too:

http://www.thewarstore.com

Lessons Learned:

  1. Amazon’s customer service was amazing.  In the end, I got not only the discount I wanted, but it seems like they may give me even more than that–especially considering they didnt’ have any live data to compare against.
  2. Amazon does seem to offer a price guarantee for at least 7 days.  You’re going to want to call them when the lower price is active on the site though–I was able to get a retro-active discount, but it sounds like this isn’t normal.
  3. Calling is better than emailing.  At least in my experience, I got a better result when I spoke to them in person than when I sent an email.  Your results may vary.
  4. You can only price match once per item.  Granted, it’s only a 7 day window, so it doesn’t seem likely that you’d do it multiple times, but it’s still something to consider.

Image Credit: Amazon, Guillotine Games, & The Warstore

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