This Tool Can Get You Money Back If the Price Changes on the Gifts You Buy
Happy holidays! Now it’s time to do your shopping.
All together now: MOAN. Groan. Ugh! Noooooooo. Oh, please God, noooooooo!
Yessiree, that’s the holiday spirit! Zip-a-dee-doo-dah and all that, right?
OK, let’s get serious. Fact is, I hate Christmas shopping even more than you do. For me, there are only two things that make it tolerable:
- I do it all online.
- I get cash back.
That’s how I roll during the holidays. If, like me, you’re dreading the holiday-shopping season, you might try out this strategy.
An app called Earny gets me money back on purchases I make online whenever there’s a price change. It works for a bunch of retailers, too, including Amazon, Gap, Jet, Kohl’s, Nordstrom, Old Navy, Overstock, Target, Walmart and Zappos.
Here’s the catch: You have to keep your email receipts. But other than that, you do nothing. Nothing at all.
Just a personal note about me: I’m really good at doing nothing. Maybe you are, too.
It’s a Busy Little Bot That Negotiates On Your Behalf
Here’s how it works:
- Earny scans your email archives for receipts. It finds your purchases from any of more than 50 major retailers, and monitors the prices.
- It tracks those items to find price drops. Then it takes advantage of retailers’ and credit-card companies’ little-used price-protection policies to negotiate money back on your behalf.
Again, you do nothing after you sign up. This is what you call a “set-and-forget” app. Earny is a busy little bot, and it doesn’t need your help.
It also prevents you from grinding your teeth in frustration when you buy something from Amazon, and then the price unexpectedly drops a day later. Aaarrrgghh, I hate that.
Call it buyer’s remorse. Post-purchase depression.
Practically nothing is more irritating than finding a recently purchased item available for a cheaper price. It’s like the opposite of finding money on the street.
Earny’s price-protection magic powers are good for 90 days after your purchase.
Theoretically, any of us could do the same thing Earny does. But let’s get real: We’re not going to. According to Mastercard’s research, American consumers walk away from more than $50 billion in price drops each year.
That’s because we’re unaware of cheaper offers, or because getting one of these refunds generally requires a lot of effort and tedious paperwork.
So here’s what you do:
- Do your Christmas shopping online, pecking away at your laptop while wearing jammies and sipping hot cocoa.
- Let Earny do its thing. When the app gets you a refund, it takes a 25% cut of the money it collects for you. You get an email about the refund, and the money appears on your credit card statement.
- Drink more cocoa.
Mike Brassfield (firstname.lastname@example.org) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder. He just looooooooves Christmas shopping.