GREENSBORO, N.C. - My wife and I went Christmas shopping for our daughter Sunday at Toys R Us. We knew the store advertised a "Price Match Guarantee," so we filled up our cart with toys and found a few were cheaper at other stores. When we got to the register, the store would not price match anything, citing "Black Friday pricing." Sunday's ad has the words "Price Match Guarantee" printed in large print at the top and on some of the inside pages.
In addition, a large banner that says "Price Match Guarantee" hangs from the ceiling inside the store. No employee could point me to a sign saying the "Price Match Guarantee" was suspended this weekend.
When I called the Toys R Us corporate office Monday, a spokesperson referred to tiny print on the ad and sign that says, "Some exclusions and limitations apply. See a Team Member or our website for details."
The Toys R Us website does clearly state it will not price match Black Friday week deals. Many other retailers also have similar policies. However, the Better Business Bureau says those exceptions should be obvious to shoppers.
"If there is a clear exclusion, that should be made very apparent up front. You shouldn't have an advertisement going out in your Sunday mailer that says Price Match Guarantee all over it and then when you go to the store they say, 'Actually, this is one of the periods where the Price Match Guarantee doesn't apply," Greensboro Better Business Bureau Spokesperson Michael Henson said. "It's in their best interest and in the best interest of their consumers that they inform their consumers up front that the Price Match Guarantee does not apply at this time."
Greensboro shopper Tialia Booth loves to get a great deal. She regularly price matches items and says, more often than not, it's a struggle, no matter where she shops. As a result, she has printed out every store's price matching policy and brings the printouts with her when she goes shopping.
"I've read that price match ad up, right, down, sideways. But, every time you go, if you tell them you have the ad, they find a reason not to honor the ad," Booth said. "It makes it seem like it's a bait and switch or that it's a trick. It almost feels like they know people will give up, so you don't bother. You say, 'Forget it. I'm not going to price match it. I'll just pay ten extra dollars here and not get the savings.'"
Here is the complete email statement from Toys R Us:
Thank you for reaching out to us regarding clarification of our Price Match Guarantee.
Earlier this year, Toys"R"Us, Inc. announced an enhanced "Price Match Guarantee" on items available in its Toys"R"Us and Babies"R"Us stores nationwide to include not only competitor in-store pricing, but selected online retailer pricing, as well. However, there are some exceptions to this policy, including door buster and Black Friday deal pricing. Full details on our Price Match Guarantee can be found at Toysrus.com/PriceMatch. All Price Match Guarantee signage in our stores and in advertising vehicles notes to see a sales associate for details.
Consistent with many other retailers, matching of competitor prices was suspended beginning Thursday evening in conjunction with the multitude of Black Friday deals. Our Price Match Guarantee program is fully reinstated in our stores today. If you believe our store made an error in providing you with price matching, please send us the list of the items in question and we will be happy to look into this further for you.
For more information, check out these links to several retailer's price matching policies:
Follow Mark Geary on Twitter: @MarkGeary