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The Target Price Match Policy: We’re Saying It But We Don’t Mean It

This week, Kmart is having a $.99 sale on CARS diecast singles – and in theory, Walmart, Target and TRU will price match. There seems to be no issues at WM, show them the ad and they will sell you diecast CARS singles for $.99. TRU does not seem to have any “Themes 2013” cards at all so of course, they can’t really price match what they are not selling. Most price match attempts at Target seem to have run into a roadblock that you can only price match ONE ITEM per DAY per HOUSEHOLD.

Target in theory has a “Price Match” Policy but they really, really, really don’t want you to invoke it?

Well, let’s lawyer up and go to the legalese.


The main statement seems pretty self explanatory – so far so good.

I have lifted all of the info here it directly off this page at Target.com. Everything in italics and red colored is a direct copy from Target’s website.

Price Match Guarantee

If you buy a qualifying item at a Target store then find the identical item for less in the following week’s Target weekly ad or within seven days at Target.com, Amazon.com, Walmart.com, BestBuy.com, ToysRUs.com, BabiesRUs.com or in a competitor’s local printed ad, we’ll match the price.

Price match may be requested at Guest Services prior to your purchase with proof of current lower price or by bringing in your original Target store receipt and proof of the current lower price.

Does not apply to CityTarget stores; see details below.

Looks pretty straightforward and but when you read further down, you can see where Customer Service goes off the rails …

Price Match Guarantee: the details

 The item must be the identical item, brand name, size, weight, color, quantity and model number.
 Limit of one competitor online price match per identical item, per guest.
 Price must be valid at the time the price match is requested.
 Retail price must be shown on the website or print ad. Online prices will be validated by a Target team member.
 Competitor online items must be in stock at the time a price match is requested.
 Competitor catalogs can be matched as long as the catalog displays a current date, retail price and meets all other competitor ad match qualifications.
 If item is not available in a Target store, a rain check will not be issued to match the online price or competitor’s print ad.
 We reserve the right to verify a competitor’s advertised price and the availability of the item.
Details do not apply to CityTarget stores; see details below.

You noticed that according to Target’s restriction, it says NOTHING about the other actual (brick & mortar) stores item pricing but that the ONE PRICE MATCH PER CUSTOMER policy applies ONLY to Target’ COMPETITOR’S ONLINE products pricing. Legally, if you are not invoking an online price to price match, it reverts to the main clause above …

“… competitor’s local printed ad, we’ll match the price.

Price match may be requested at Guest Services prior to your purchase with proof of current lower price or by bringing in your original Target store receipt and proof of the current lower price.”

THERE is NOTHING in this clause about any restrictions of in-store purchases!

Which makes sense – if you have a large family, what’s the point of a price match when you can only buy one container of orange juice? And of course, if you’re “LOCAL” competitor is operating under the same “local” overhead costs (electricity, rent costs, taxes, etc …) and can offer a lower price, that Target store in theory should be able to match that jar for jar, package for package … it makes sense that an online competitor without the same overhead can offer a lower cost so Target doesn’t want to give out a price match for multiple quantities but local to local competition, Target’s offering is fairly simple – Target will price match for however many you want to buy today right now in the stores.

So, clearly, customer service is confused by Target’s OWN policy that says NOTHING about local ads price match quantities.

While there are dozens of other restrictions listed, the only other restriction that applies directly to this situation is:

What qualifies as proof of a price?

 For printed ads: please show us the entire printed advertisement. Photos, photocopies, or mobile phone versions (of the ad cannot be accepted as verification of a competitor’s printed ad.

Which certainly makes sense and is an easy thing to offer.

And again, of the massive list of restrictions, there are NO other clause referring to quantities other than if you are invoking a price match to a competitors online pricing but if you carry in the local print ad, that does NOT apply.

So, some of you may want to go back to Target and point out they are reading their own policy INCORRECTLY.

You can also write to Target at the CONTACT US page or call them.

Good luck!

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26 March 2013 Retail 20 Comments


  • fish4matt says:

    Does anyone have the link for the Kmart deluxe ad?

    (MET: See this post for details on why it’s not advertised so not much opportunity for price match).

  • Steve AKA: Poppa says:

    I am almost rolling on the ground with hysterical laughter about the price matching escapades. Society has bred a supply of corporate drones, incapable of independent thought. What do you expect from employees whose sole job is to drag a UPC over a scanner, input cash dollar paid, and give back change. Throw them a curve ball or a slider and they freeze at the plate. In the back the stock clerks are paid to seek out the peg and place the product on the shelf. Ask for anything more, most, not all, freeze. Now, I have no problems explaining price matching with OLDER as in MATURE cashiers who went to school years ago when expectations were higher for graduation. The younger cashiers??? FREEZE.

    I had no problem explaining the Target SNAFU with crate. The older clerk accepted the reasoning and the visual presentation of the Cars from the case. The younger cashiers> Duh!

    I hope I did not offend you youngsters. But, it is what it is!

    • John in Missouri says:

      I had the complete OPPOSITE experience with my price-matching escapades. The younger cashiers got it, while the older ones fought me tooth and nail.

  • D J says:

    How long does the .99 sale run for? Does anyone know where you can see the ad online to print? I could only find the Bogo part of it on kmarts website. I cant get to a Kmart, but i will be at Walmart in a few days.

    (MET: Until SAT midnight – you probably need to print out the ad. I have not looked but KM.com should have a choice that says something like SEE THE WEEKLY AD – and it should be an online PDF).

  • danrio says:

    I had a flawless experience at Walmart on Thursday. I found Krate; the same Krate that Target insists is a “Licensed Oversized” priced at $6.99, but Walmart priced at $3.88. I took Krate to the checkout, showed the cashier the KMart ad and took Krate out of the store for $1.07, including sales tax. No muss, no fuss !

    Are you listening, Target ?

  • danrio says:

    The Target matching is extremely inconsistent in the Sacramento, CA area. On WQednesday, i visited a Target store, a bit off my usual path, which I go to only a few times a year. I took one car to the checkout and a flustered clerk called a cashier manager. She said we’d have to take care of it at guest Services. At this point, she had the Kmart store ad which I had shown to the cashier. She then said, after reading the ad that the car that I had chosen was not the one in the ad. I explained that the ad was for “basic” cars and that the single carded item I chose, priced at $3.49, was as basic as they come. She then said (and here’s a new twist) that I’d have to buy one at half price to get the one I selected for 99 cents (?). Slightly exasperated, I went all the way back to toys and selected another car, which was a duplicate of one I had previously purchased. When I got back to Guest Services, the manager who had my ad was not there. I was told she had gone to speak to yet another manager (how many does it take 😉 )? She came back after quite a few minutes and said I would not have to buy one at half price and that I could get the one I had selected for 99 cents (imagine that!). She then tore the page from my ad and handed the rest back to me. I told her I had an exact color copy which I could provide (she had already seen the original), but she insisted she had to have the original. This was the first time in half a dozen attempts to get this Target price match that Target insisted upon having the original ad. No one before this wanted either the original or the copy, even though the copy was always offered.

    At one store, I was told that “We don’t match KMart prices”. Another associate corrected that to “We don’r match KMart.com prices”.

    SO, I agree, it is quite evident that personnel at the store level really do no know how to deal with Target’s price matching policy. The rules appear to be made up or amended as they go along. And it’s the luck of the draw. I’ve had both good and bad experiences at one store in particular; It just depends upon the individual you are dealing with and how accommodating (or controlling) they wish to be at the time.

    (MET: Yea, apparently the ‘not the same item’ is a popular weaselese … as if they show EVERY freakin’ variety of Pepsi products on sale that week).

  • jcurtisy says:

    The clerk at Target first told me that they couldn’t match cause they weren’t the exact same car (Mcqueen with cone). Then she said that they couldn’t match because the kmart price was more than half off their price. When a supervisor was brought in, his interpretation of the kmart ad was that the first car must be $2, and the second car 99 cents. I asked him where on the ad does it say $2???? He would not budge. I ended up getting 11 case D cars for $2 each, not bad but took 20 minutes.

    (MET: Their legalese is pretty straightforward. bring in an ad, we will match the price – nothing about %’s … yea, where did the $2 come from?)

  • John says:

    Seems to be working around Los Angeles. Most Targets, Kmarts and Walmarts that we’ve visited since Sunday are down to bare pegs, or just a few Francesco Bernoullis.
    Stunt Racers and play sets are on sale and seem to be clearing out too.

  • Matersgrlfriend says:

    So is it a “Low price promise” or not Target? If you don’t mean it, then don’t say it!

  • Otis the Lemon says:

    I ran into a mixed bag – one TRU priced matched me for a Radiator Springs Classic and another did not. I had one Target not give me the price match because it was the porta corsa cardback and other Targets that didn’t care. Every Walmart did it, but most of the time it took some sort of summit with a manager.

  • Tom says:


    • Tom says:

      Seriously, if these stores want to put all these restrictions on price match to the point it is futile, why bother?
      As usual, I agree with John in the Show Me State. Either they price match or they don’t. I would think they would be happy to price match, not find reasons not to.
      I used to be an insurance claims adjuster, our mantra was “Find a way to authorize the claim.” It’s just customer service 101, FFS.

  • TopherDawg says:

    At my Target I had to argue because the Kmart ad said “Cars 2” and the 2013 white cardbacks don’t say Cars 2 on them. I eventually got them at .99, but it was a hassle.

  • John in Missouri says:

    Met, you’d better cross out the part about “there seems to be no issues at WM”. I tried it this morning, but the cashier didn’t like the part that followed about Buy One Get One 50% Off. I told him I just wanted the $0.99 singles.

    He called over a manager who not only didn’t like the BOGO part, but said the ad only applies to Lightning McQueen since that is what is pictured in the ad. I told them I didn’t want them, paid for a couple other items I had purchased, and left.

    I emailed Walmart corporate the details of my experience, and started off AND ended my complaint with “Either you have an AdMatch Guarantee or you don’t”.

    (MET: Yea, I figured eventually someone would run into that issue … I would point out to that guy by asking if their ads always show every variety on sale whether it’s orange juice, ice cream or toys … who has that much room – and epecially at Wm where everything rings up as one SKU).

    • corinne says:

      Wow thats the same problem that I had. They would not match the ad because of the buy one get one 50% off. They told me I could purchase the car in the picture so I left with nothing. I did not have a problem at Toysrus or target.

    • johnac says:

      Had same problem with WM in SoCal. Took receipt of cars that i bought a a day ago to customer service. Showed the Kmart ad and cashier said they couldn’t price match because the ad was for buy one get one 50% off{bogo}. Tried to explain to her that the ad was .99 cent for the diecast cars and the bogo was for the other Disney Cars toys. She just kept pointing back to the add and said it says bogo and we don’t price match those items. Asked to speak to a manager, but got the same response. Tried to argue my case but they wouldn’t budge. Tried 3 WM in my area and got same response from all 3.

  • furrycritters05 says:

    the best way to avoid all the hassle is to buy the item at retail price, as many quantities as you can get your hands on!!!! then take the receipt up to customer service and then present the add with the competitor showing the lower price. this is how i did it, if they say they cant do it, then just return them. simply put

    • Raekwonn says:

      in my expereince you always have to go to customer service anyway to get the price match, and they’ll definitely want to look at the cars, not just the receipt.

  • bobbyjack says:

    My local Target doesn’t have any 2013 cardbacks. All Porto Corso Finn McMissiles. I was able to pricematch at a bunch of local Walmarts back in December when they had the red bins.

    • collectormom says:

      My local Target also only has PC Finn MM, about 30 I believe. Maybe we should see if they’ll price match them, buy them all and donate them. Then maybe our stores will get something new!

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