It’s November, which means that it’s time to start procrastinating about holiday shopping again. If you’re like me, you prefer to do as much of that holiday shopping online as you can, in order to avoid all the mall madness. This year, PayPal is giving us one more good reason to buy online: price matching for all purchases made via PayPal through the end of the year.
When you check out using PayPal, you have up to 30 days to find a lower price. If you do, you can submit a receipt and the ad showing the the lower price to PayPal through its Money Back Request Form. If your claim is approved, you’ll get the difference credited to your PayPal account.
Price matching is nothing new—credit card companies used to offer a similar “price protection” for items purchased using their credit cards (and some still do). PayPal is doing essentially the same thing. But as with all promotions where a big company offers to give you cash, there are a number of restrictions and caveats. Here are the main items from the fine print that you’ll want to keep in mind:
- $250 limit per item, $1,000 overall limit. The cash back amount you can receive from PayPal is $250 per item, with an overall benefit of $1,000 for the year. The exception is for airline tickets: if you buy multiple tickets at once, you’ll have a $250 limit on the entire transaction, not on each ticket.
- Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are ineligible. PayPal will not be price matching sales that are only available during Black Friday and Cyber Monday. Furthermore, the following types of sales are not eligible: “cash-only sales, close-out sales, flea markets, fire sales, going-out-of-business sales, limited-quantity promotions, door busters, online auction sales, sales valid for less than one day, or liquidation sales.”
- Some more clarification on that: If there is a sale that is available on Black Friday or Cyber Monday, but is also available on other days, you can still get the PayPal price match. Deals that span the entire Black Friday/Cyber Monday weekend, for example, should be eligible.
- “Sales valid for less than one day” also likely applies to lightning deals, Woot offs, and other fleeting sales. PayPal also noted that they wouldn’t price match listings on daily deal sites, such as Groupon, nor would discounts made available through rebates be matched.
- Previously owned, sold “as is,” and refurbished items are ineligible. That’s important to note, since many discounted electronics are refurbished units (for example, the refurbished 3rd generation iPads that went on sale at Apple after the iPad Mini was announced).
- Ads must include sale price, store/dealer’s name and sale date. That last requirement can be kind of tricky. Sometimes a seller will drop the price without specifying when the sale ends, beyond calling it a “limited time offer” or “while supplies last.” These ads may not be eligible for PayPal price matching.
- eBay Buy It Now sales are eligible. However, it must be from an eBay Top-rated seller.
- In-store purchases are also available. While most people use PayPal online, there are some stores like Guitar Center, Home Depot and Abercrombie & Fitch that accept PayPal in-store. Before you go, you’ll have to enable in-store checkout for your PayPal account.
- Additional rules for airline tickets. There are more hoops to jump through for airline tickets. The price protection period is only 7 days, and the flight must be the exact same flight, with the same airline, date and time. Also, as mentioned above, the $250 limit applies to the entire transaction. If you buy five tickets, and you find them at a lower price, the maximum you can receive cash back is $250 for the entire lot—not $250 for each ticket.
You can read the rest of the fine print yourself, but those are the main potential pitfalls. Overall, PayPal’s price matching is neither a scam nor a groundbreaking boon to shoppers. But if you are doing your shopping and you have a choice between PayPal and some other payment option, it’s probably worth a shot to go with PayPal, especially if you already have a PayPal account. You don’t need to use PayPal funds to be eligible for price matching—you can use a credit card linked to your PayPal account and you’ll get in on the deal.
Also worth noting, PayPal is also offering free return shipping for items purchased with PayPal. Combined with the price matching deal, you just might save yourself a few bucks by shopping with PayPal.
Let us know if you have any success!