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3 On Your Side: Holiday Shopping Wars Have Started

jim-donovan-web Jim Donovan
Jim Donovan is a 13-time Emmy Award-winning consumer reporter w...
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By Jim Donovan

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) - This time next week, the leftover turkey will be in the fridge, the pies will be put away, and bargain hunters will be set to shop till they drop! This year the shopping wars have already begun. 3 On Your Side Consumer Reporter Jim Donovan has 3 ways to save time, money and aggravation.

With less than six weeks until Christmas, it’s a battle among the retailers. That means you can bag a bargain, but you need to be prepared.

First watch out for those price match guarantees, many have been temporarily expanded because of something called “showrooming”. Consumer expert Edgar Dworsky of ConsumerWorld.org says, “That’s when a consumer comes into a store, looks at the merchandise, tries it out, picks the brain of the sales person, but then leaves the store empty handed and goes and buys it online for less money.”

To combat that Best Buy is matching prices offered by 20 online sites. 3 On Your Side went to a Best Buy in Cherry Hill and got a price match on a universal remote. It was $249 in the store but $227 online at Amazon, a $22 savings. Best Buy will also match store prices too. But in any case the price matches are only good on appliances and electronics hardware, not accessories. Also, the price match isn’t being offered for several days surrounding Thanksgiving.

At Target, managers will match the prices of 5 online competitors through December 16th and those of brick and mortar stores until Christmas Eve.
Walmart will match store prices but not prices found on the internet.

To track prices when you’re in a store, upload an app to your smart phone. Price Check by Amazon allows you to scan the barcode of an item to see if it’s being sold elsewhere for a cheaper price. it worked for us.

For procrastinators, some online retailers are offering same day delivery. Amazon does, in some areas. For example, in Philadelphia if you order by 10 a.m. items can be delivered that same day. The shipping starts at $8.99. But trying to find items eligible for Amazon’s same day shipping was a challenge. After spending nearly half an hour searching I finally ordered a book and it indeed arrived later in the day.

For $10 Walmart-to-Go will deliver same-day in Philadelphia. Just order by noon. A special section of the site makes choosing items easy, But Maria Schiff says the selection was very limited. “I think it pulled up about 6 to 10 toys for my son and that was it and really I was looking for newborn things.” Maria ordered some toys and they indeed arrived later that day. She told us, “I would recommend it to the people I know who wait till the very last minute.”

One important thing to note about the new Walmart-to-Go service, the company says that since it’s only available in limited areas, major cards are accepted but not Walmart brand credit cards. That took Maria by surprise, so she used her debit card instead.

Meanwhile for more information on all the price matching rules at the big retailers visit: http://www.consumerworld.org/pages/pricematch2012prs.htm

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