Staples Back to School Price Guarantee
Staples is the retailer I love to hate. On one hand they pay me to recycle ink and often have gift card and other deals, but on the other hand they have “screwed me over” a few times and their customer service leaves a lot to be desired.
With all of that said, their price match policy is decent. Not only will they generally match brick & mortar competitors, but they also match Amazon.com. I haven’t used the price match too often, but it has come in handy on a few occasions, especially when other retailers were running sales, but ran out of merchandise.
Back to School Price Match
Today the company announced they are upping their price match guarantee game by offering a new 110% guarantee through 9/19/15. To start, that sounds way better than it is. It basically means they will match a competitor’s price and then give you an additional 10% of the price difference.
Here is how they word it:
If you find a currently available lower price on a new, identical item, show us the lower price when you buy the item at Staples and we will match it plus will discount it by 10% of the difference.
Fair enough. As with their current price match policy, here is how they determine which stores they will price match:
Covers items sold by retailers operating both retail stores and online under the same brand, or sold and shipped directly by Amazon.com.
How to Price Match
A price match must be done within 14 days of purchase. Here is how to get the 110% price match:
In-store: Bring in proof of the lower price and show it to an associate.
Online: Call 800-333-3330 with the URL and they will verify the price.
This new policy may seem like a dud, but it could be useful in a few cases:
- There is an extreme difference in price so the extra 10% is significant.
- Staples has better portal rates than the competitor.
- The competitor has no rewards program or the competitor’s program pays less.
- You can find Staples gift cards at a great discount than the competitor’s.
A Real World Example
Here is an example of an item that would be good to purchase at Staples with this best price guarantee.
- Amazon.com Price: $205.70
- Staples Price: $249.99
So the price difference between the two is: $44.29. 10% of that is $4.43 so the final price from Staples will be $201.27. Nice!
But if you buy from Staples you can also get 5% from the Discover portal (which doubles the first year) and up to 5% in rewards. Since I am a Staples Premier member and a Discover cardholder with double cashback, here is how the math looks for me.
- Amazon Price w/ tax: $222.36
- Staples price after match w/tax: $217.57
- Portal cashback (should be on full amount): $24.99
- Rewards earned: $10.06
- Final Staples price: $182.52
- Discount over Amazon: $39.84
- Discount over Amazon %: 17.9%
Note that this strategy works the same even without the 110% guarantee. In that case you would save about $5 less overall, but it would still be a nice savings.
I haven’t had time to dig too deeply into this, but I think there could be some value in the extra 10% match. There are some items that Staples has priced much higher than competitors. I think combining the price match, portal cashback and rewards could lead to some great deals.