The Secret Trick These Readers Used to Earn up to $278 by Online Shopping

A woman with blonde hair grabs her phone out of her purse to read a text message.
Kathleen Garvin, outreach strategist and editor at The Penny Hoarder, got a $20.70 refund on this Calvin Klein bag she had purchased online at Macy's by using Paribus. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder
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Have you ever ordered a new phone case only to find that, three days later, the price dropped?

Or maybe you didn’t even know the price dropped, because many online retailers fluctuate prices based on supply and demand.

And maybe it wasn’t a new phone case… (Am I the only one who loves buying new phone cases? Anyways, you get the point.)

The good news is a number of retailers have price-match policies, so if an item’s price drops within a set time frame, you can get paid the difference. Monitoring your online orders, however, could easily become a full-time job.

Thankfully there’s a free tool that keeps an eye on your receipts for you. It’s called Paribus, and it tracks your online purchases from more than 25 major retailers with price-match policies. Big names include Best Buy, Home Depot, Target and Zappos.

If an item’s price drops at least $3, Paribus alerts you. Or, if your guaranteed Amazon shipment is delayed, it’ll help you get compensated.

3 Paribus Users Who’ve Earned Money Back

Paribus is simple enough to sign up for; it took me no more than a minute to connect two email addresses.

From there, it works in the background, only notifying you when an item you ordered drops in price.

Sure, it sounds too good to be true, but here are three Penny Hoarder readers who’ve earned cash back using the free tool.

1. This Man Chipped Nearly $300 off a Home Depot Order

A man feeds a branch into a wood chipper
William Gove uses the wood chipper he bought from Home Depot on his property in Maine. After an email from Paribus alerted him to a price drop, he called Home Depot and received a $278.53 credit. Photo courtesy of William Gove

Purchase: A $927.35 wood chipper from Home Depot

Paribus cash back: $278.52

It started with a wood chipper. (No, this doesn’t turn into an episode of “Dateline.”)

William Gove and his wife live on eight acres of land in Maine. Last year, as summer peeped around the corner, the couple invested in a wood chipper to help clear their property of downed trees and dead leaves.

About a week after they ordered the machine from Home Depot, Paribus emailed them about a price drop of $92.26. Nice.

Paribus shared instructions on exactly how to ask for a refund from Home Depot. Gove followed along, hopping on the phone and chatting with a nice Home Depot representative.

But then she put him on hold.

The price had actually dropped even more, and, per its price-match policy, Home Depot owed Gove $278.53. The manager signed off, and the credit was automatically posted to the credit card he’d used to make the purchase.

“I have to say, I was incredibly skeptical at first,” Gove says of Paribus. “But it saved us some serious cash.”

2. How ’Bout Some Cash to Put in That New Purse?

A woman checks out Paribus on her phone.
Garvin looks at Paribus on her phone. By using Paribus, she’s received about $80 in refunds. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Purchase: A $103.50 Calvin Klein purse from Macy’s

Paribus cash back: $20.70

When we sent out a request for Paribus feedback, Kathleen Garvin, The Penny Hoarder’s outreach strategist and editor, responded.

“I loooove Paribus,” she wrote.

Garvin signed up for Paribus back in December 2016. She estimated she’s received about $80 in refunds but was excited to share her biggest surprise: more than $20 back on a purse.

She bought the Calvin Klein purse herself for her boyfriend, Nick, to give her for Christmas. Don’t worry: Her boyfriend paid her back. Garvin just wanted to buy it through Ebates so she could earn cash back.

Six days later, she received an email from Paribus. The subject line read, “ACT NOW: $21 with your name on it.”

Due to Macy’s policies, Paribus couldn’t work directly with the retailer to claim Garvin’s refund. So instead it sent Garvin clear instructions. She could fill out a web form or call a phone number to submit her claim. If she chose to call, Paribus offered a sample script:

Hello, I bought a Calvin Klein Teodora Tote (Order # 123456789) for $103.50 on January 7, 2018, but on January 13, 2018, the price was $82.80. Can you help start a price adjustment refund? Thanks!

Garvin followed suit and received her refund about a week later.

“[Nick] let me keep the cash back — what a guy,” she humorously adds.

3. There’s No Present Like Cash Back

A young man holds up a digital tablet in his apartment.
Isaac Humarang, a college student in Kentucky, signed up for Paribus and got back $37 when the price dropped on a Tommy Hilfiger watch he bought at Macy’s. Photo courtesy of Isaac Humarang

Purchase: A $145 Tommy Hilfiger watch from Macy’s

Paribus cash back: $37

Isaac Humarang, a college student in Kentucky, lives approximately 8,000 miles from his home in the Philippines.

As last year’s spring semester simmered down for the summer, he prepared to make the trek home. He wanted to buy gifts for his family members, so before making any purchases, he signed up for Paribus — just to see if he could earn some cash back.

For his stepfather, he ordered a $145 Tommy Hilfiger watch from Macy’s. Within a few days, Humarang received an email that the price had dropped to $108; he was entitled to $37.

After Humarang followed the instructions Paribus provided, the Macy’s representative happily credited him the $37 difference.

Although Humarang hasn’t received any other refunds, he’s happy with Paribus.

“First, it’s free,” he said. “Second, I don’t know of any website that will help you get a reimbursement without asking anything in return or to be paid.”

So… Is Paribus Worth Signing up for?

After hearing from a slew of readers who’ve earned money back, we think Paribus is worth a try — as long as you have a compatible Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook email address.

But we also heard from some folks who haven’t struck luck. Which is really what it comes down to: luck. The money you’ll earn back will depend on how often you shop online, where you shop, when you shop and what you purchase.

Paribus also notes you’re more likely to see higher refund amounts on purchases with larger price tags — like a wood chipper.

Worse comes to worse, it’s unobtrusive and works in the background of your inbox, so it’s not bothersome.

And, hey, it’s free.

If you still have questions, check out our complete Paribus review.

Disclosure: Paribus compensates us when you sign up using the links we provide.

Carson Kohler ([email protected]) is a staff writer at The Penny Hoarder. She’s currently using Paribus to monitor an L.L. Bean order. Fingers crossed the price drops!