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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection, 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, Capital One Shopping Price Protection alerts you. Or, if your guaranteed Amazon shipment is delayed, it’ll help you get compensated.

3 Capital One Shopping Price Protection Users Who’ve Earned Money Back

Capital One Shopping Price Protection 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 Hardware Store Order

A man feeds a branch into a wood chipper
William Gove uses the wood chipper he bought on his property in Maine. After an email from Capital One Shopping Price Protection alerted him to a price drop, he called the hardware store he purchased it from and received a $278.53 credit. Photo courtesy of William Gove

Purchase: A $927.35 wood chipper 

Price Protection 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 the hardware store, Price Protection emailed them about a price drop of $92.26. Nice.

Price Protection shared instructions on exactly how to ask for a refund. Gove followed along, hopping on the phone and chatting with a nice representative.

But then she put him on hold.

The price had actually dropped even more, and, per its price-match policy, the store 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 Price Protection. “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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection on her phone. By using Price Protection, she’s received about $80 in refunds. Tina Russell/The Penny Hoarder

Purchase: A $103.50 Calvin Klein purse 

Price Protection cash back: $20.70

When we sent out a request for Capital One Shopping Price Protection feedback, Kathleen Garvin, The Penny Hoarder’s outreach strategist and editor, responded.

“I loooove Price Protection,” she wrote.

Garvin signed up for Price Protection 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 Price Protection. The subject line read, “ACT NOW: $21 with your name on it.”

Due to the department store’s policies, Price Protection 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, Price Protection 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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection and got back $37 when the price dropped on a Tommy Hilfiger watch. Photo courtesy of Isaac Humarang

Purchase: A $145 Tommy Hilfiger watch 

Price Protection 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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection — just to see if he could earn some cash back.

For his stepfather, he ordered a $145 Tommy Hilfiger watch. 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 Price Protection provided, the department store representative happily credited him the $37 difference.

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

“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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection Worth Signing up for?

After hearing from a slew of readers who’ve earned money back, we think Price Protection 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.

Price Protection 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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection review.

Disclosure: Capital One Shopping Price Protection 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 Capital One Shopping Price Protection to monitor an L.L. Bean order. Fingers crossed the price drops!