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These stores will have Black Friday price-matching guarantees this year, but there are exceptions

Retail chains like Target, Walmart and Best Buy offer price-matching during the holiday season -- with some notable caveats.

black-friday-8129
Some retailers have price guarantees to help give you the best price. 
Image by Pixabay/Illustration by CNET

This story is part of Gift Guide, our year-round collection of the best gift ideas.

No one wants to be rushed into making a purchase, but the supply chain crisis has forced many people's hands. Thanks to halted productions and a shaky infrastructure, many holiday gifts will be more difficult to get this year, but just because there's a panic doesn't mean you should rush into a regrettable buy.

If you purchase something now, before many of the Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales, you might miss out on a better deal. Fortunately, Walmart, Target, Best Buy and other big-name retailers have price-match guarantees, which promise to match or even beat lower prices from a competitor.

And it doesn't just go for competitors -- price-matching also covers purchases and returns made at the same business. For example, if you purchase some AirPods Pro for $197 at Target, and they suddenly go on sale for $189 a few weeks later at the same store, there's a possibility you might be able to use a price-match guarantee to get some money back.

But alas, sometimes the deals are too good to be true. There are exclusions for many of these price-match offers -- especially at Walmart and Best Buy. And those exclusions often apply to the height of the Black Friday season.

We'll break down holiday price-match guarantees that we found and explain the policy exceptions.

Target 

Holiday guarantee lasts until Dec. 24.

Target started its Holiday Price-Match Guarantee earlier in October. If you make a purchase online or in-store, you can request a price match on or before Dec. 24. To get a price adjustment, you'll need a receipt or proof of purchase. You can get your price adjusted in any Target store for in-store purchases or by calling Target's Guest Services for online sales (800-591-3869). 

But there are a few exceptions and exclusions to keep in mind. The price-match guarantee only works for select competitors (here's the full list). And you can only get a refund when the sale is valid. For instance, if you find a deal at Amazon, you must ask for a price adjustment while Amazon's price is lower, too. But the guarantee doesn't work with Amazon's Lightning Deals or Target Circle offers. 

To add to the list of limitations, the item also must be identical to what Target sells and needs to be in stock. And you won't be able to get a partial refund on bundled offers (like a special on an iPad and Apple Pencil). Clearance and closeout items are not included in the guarantee. Lastly, Target requires proof for its guarantee. You can bring a printed ad or URL of the competitor's lower sale price. Don't forget your receipt or proof of purchase.


Walmart

Price match guarantee does not apply to Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales. 

Walmart doesn't have a special holiday guarantee, but we did find its price match policy and exclusions. Like Target, the item must be identical to the lower-priced item and it must be in stock on the competitor's site and Walmart.com. There is also a list of accepted competitors. But there is a list of exceptions and criteria to keep in mind. 

Walmart will price-match only one item per customer each day. The policy doesn't apply to Marketplace or third-party sellers. It also doesn't work for discounts applied at checkout or offers with a certain amount or percentage off. Bundles and mail-in offers are also not accepted. The price adjustment also doesn't work for discounts you may have received from pickup promotions, flash sales or rebates. Here's the complete list of Walmart's price match limitations.

If you bought an item online, Walmart.com's customer service has the final say on whether it can adjust the price. And most importantly, there are no price matches on Pre-Black Friday, Black Friday and Cyber Week event prices (which, honestly, takes a lot of the appeal out of this "guarantee"). 


Best Buy 

Price match guarantee does not apply to Black Friday, Cyber Monday sales or other Best Buy programs.

Like Walmart, Best Buy doesn't adjust the price for Black Friday or Cyber Monday sales. The product must also be identical to the competitor, including the model number, color and brand. It must also be new, which disqualifies any refurbished devices. The list of competitors that Best Buy will adjust prices for is also shorter than Walmart or Target. Here's the list of accepted retailers: 

For Best Buy's Price Match Guarantee Policy, the price must also still be in effect when you're getting your refund for the difference. Bundles, subscription services and mail-in offers aren't covered. The policy doesn't work for member-only offers or loyalty programs. It also does not apply to discounted pricing made from Best Buy Education, Best Buy Business or the Best Buy Marketplace. 

This story was originally posted earlier and has been updated to better note the exclusions and caveats listed above.


We're keeping an eye on Black Friday deals and early sales to help give you the best savings. Here's the best way to get the best deals before Black Friday. And there's a hidden hack that can give you Black Friday savings year round on Amazon

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