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Do I Have to Honour a Price Match Guarantee?

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In the retail industry, price match guarantees have become an essential marketing strategy for businesses aiming to attract customers. You may have been subject to one of these promotions or want to implement one yourself for your business. This offer pledges to match or beat a competing retailer’s price for an identical product, convincing the consumer that it will be the best price. This article will explore what a price match guarantee is, the rights and responsibilities associated with such offers in New Zealand and how to resolve a price matching dispute. 

What is a Price Match Guarantee?

Retailers commonly offer Price match guarantees, where they promise consumers that they will match or beat the price their competitors offer for the same product. It may incentivise you to purchase from a particular retailer as it looks like a discounted price. However, these guarantees come with specific terms and conditions that must be met for the offer to be valid.

For example, a store that sells electronics may state:

“Simply present evidence of the lower price to our sales associate at the time of purchase. Our team will verify the details and, if eligible, match the price instantly.” 

Depending on the terms and conditions of the price match guarantee, the evidence may come in the form of:

  • an original receipt;
  • proof of competitor’s price displayed on a current advertisement;
  • an online listing; or 
  • an eligible photograph before the purchase. 

Understanding Consumer Rights in New Zealand 

In New Zealand, consumers are protected by the Consumer Guarantees Act (CGA), which sets out the rights and obligations of consumers and businesses to sell goods and services. While the CGA does not explicitly state price match guarantees, it establishes fundamental protections with links. When a retailer offers a price match guarantee, it becomes a contractual agreement between the consumer and the business. 

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Honouring a Price Match Guarantee

Before invoking a price match guarantee, you should look into the specific terms of the guarantee and any exclusions the retailer sets. Those terms detail what you must follow for the guarantee to be applied. These conditions usually include requirements such as presenting evidence of the lower price, ensuring the product is identical, and meeting any time constraints stipulated in the guarantee.

Consumers can assert their rights under the CGA if a retailer refuses to honour a valid price match claim. According to the CGA, retailers must provide goods or services that match the description, including any representations made in a price match guarantee. Failure to honour such commitments could constitute a breach of the CGA.

However, it is important to note that retailers have discretion in setting the terms and conditions for their price match guarantees. They may exclude specific scenarios from their price match policies, such as limited-time offers, clearance sales, or discounts tied to memberships or loyalty programs. These exclusions are usually specified in the terms and conditions to prevent exploitation of the guarantee system.

Resolving Price Match Guarantee Disputes 

In cases where consumers believe a retailer has breached their price match guarantee or violated consumer rights under the CGA, you can take steps to resolve the dispute as follows:

  1. gather all relevant evidence, such as the original receipt, details of what you purchased and proof of the lower price offered by a competitor. Ensure your evidence aligns with the terms specified in the retailer’s price match guarantee; 
  1. initiate a conversation with the retailer’s customer service department and follow store procedures. If you believe it is necessary to escalate, you can talk to a higher-up in the company, such as a manager and highlight the details of the price match guarantee; and
  2. if the issue remains unresolved, you can raise this matter with any consumer protection agencies or relevant authorities who can help you resolve the dispute fairly. 

When resolving a price guarantee dispute, you should keep all records of communications, including dates, times and the representatives spoken to. This information becomes valuable if further action is required. 

Key Takeaways

Price match guarantees can be a valuable tool for consumers seeking the best deals and retailers wanting to attract customers. While retailers pledge competitive pricing through these guarantees, consumers must follow specific terms and conditions when requesting a price match. Ultimately, while price match guarantees can benefit consumers significantly, they can only operate if conducted correctly in compliance with the law. Knowing your rights and responsibilities can empower you to make informed decisions and seek recourse if necessary when utilising these offers. Always remember to review the terms and conditions of any price match guarantee and engage in open communication with the retailer to ensure a smooth and fair transaction.

If you need help navigating and honouring a price match guarantee, LegalVision’s experienced business lawyers can assist as part of our LegalVision membership. For a low monthly fee, you will have unlimited access to lawyers to answer your questions and draft and review your documents. Call us today on today on 0800 005 570 or visit our membership page.

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