Amazon has quietly ended its price protection policy on all products except for televisions. The change to the company’s policy comes at a time when a handful of startups have launched to help consumers automate the process of requesting refunds when prices change on online sites, including Amazon and dozens of other e-commerce stores.
For example, newcomer Earny recently debuted a mobile app that helps consumers get their money back on purchases after price drops. Earny co-founder Oded Vakrat says that, so far, around 50 percent of the refund requests the app handled were for Amazon purchases. Earny also competes with Paribus, which offers a similar service both online and on mobile. Meanwhile, older sites like camelcamelcamel allow consumers to track Amazon price drops and receive alerts.
Prior to this policy change, Amazon’s price protection policy was already one of the least friendly to consumers, as it used to provide seven days of price matching on price drops. That means if you purchased an item from Amazon which the company later marked down, you could request a refund. However, unlike many stores, Amazon only matched its own prices for items, not competitors’ pricing — with the exception of TVs and cell phones.
In comparison, other stores have more pro-consumer policies, including Best Buy, which provides price matching during its return and exchange period (15 days is standard) and Walmart, which offers 90 days of protection, for example.
Vakrat says his company noticed Amazon’s policy change a couple of days after the startup’s launch in early May — or, around May 7th or 8th, 2016.
Initially, Amazon agents honored price-matching requests as usual, saying that if an item is shipped and sold by Amazon, the company has a seven-day price match from the time of delivery. For example, see the screenshot of the email below: