Cash refunds from credit card price protection

We've all been there. You get excited about buying a new gadget or appliance at a decent price, only to have your happiness turn into bitter disappointment when the price drops even lower the very next week.

If this happens to you, you may be in luck if your credit card offers price protection insurance, a lesser-known credit card perk. Credit cards with price protection refund all or part of price savings advertised within 60 days of original purchase.

Price protection refunds are only provided for sale items that precisely match new products bought with your credit card and are based strictly on sale prices -- before manufacturer or store rebates -- advertised in writing. Taxes, shipping and installation charges are ineligible. In addition, your account must be in good standing at the time of the claim.price-protection

There are several Canadian credit cards that feature price protection. For instance, Capital One's Low-Rate Guaranteed MasterCard and the Aspire Cash Platinum MasterCard both offer the perk. "Some of our discontinued products also have the benefit," says Andrew Clarke, manager, corporate communications with Capital One Canada. If you have a card that is open but no longer being offered to new applicants, check with Capital One to see what benefits it offers. Visa cards with price protection include the Vancity enviro Gold Visa or Citizens
Bank's Shared Interest Gold Visa.

To see if your card offers price protection, you can go online and look under the benefits of your card, or call the number on the back of the card to speak to a representative.

Price protection exclusions
MasterCard and American Express limit 60-day price protection refunds to $100 per item and $500 total per calendar year. There is also a minimum $10 minimum reimbursement rule, which eliminates refunds for relatively low-priced merchandise. In addition, refunds are limited to a maximum of three identical items during the 60-day period.

The enviro Gold and Shared Interest Gold Visa cards also have refund maximums, though they are slightly higher at $1,000 per calendar year; Visa applies neither a per-item limit nor a minimum refund. However, you must still use your Visa price protection within 60 days of purchase.

There are also some specific items that could be excluded from your price protection policy. "It's important for people to understand their price protection when they're making their purchases and what's included and what's not," says Clarke. "You don't want to be let down when you go to make a claim."

Some exemptions include:

  • All forms of money, travellers cheques, precious metals and stamps.
  • Tickets, including those for entertainment or transportation.
  • Perishables, including food and liquor; living things, including plants and animals.
  • Computer hardware and software, cell phones and other electronic devices.
  • Motorized vehicles, parts and fuel.
  • One-of-a-kind items.
  • Used and refurbished items.
  • Products used for business.
  • Insurance, shipping costs or other services related to the item purchased.

To see what exclusions apply to your card, you can call your card issuer or go online and read your issuer's terms and agreements. You may also have paperwork on your card's benefits that you received when you got your card.

Many retailers run their own price protection specials, which are also excluded from credit card price protection, to prevent customers from double-dipping on refunds for the same product.

Other ineligible charges include liquidated merchandise, online purchases and purchases from retailers located outside Canada.

While the above restrictions may seem onerous, credit card price protection reimburses many products such as clothing, furniture, school supplies, non-motorized vehicles and non-electronic equipment.

Make the most of price protection with price monitoring apps
After you make a purchase, especially a high-ticket item, there are apps available to help you track prices to see if they go up or down, says Clarke. One such app is Flipp, which aggregates flyers and allows users to mark specific items.

The PriceZombie app for your web browser allows you to sign up for price-drop alerts. However, only a few Canadian stores are currently supported.

You can also simply keep an eye on the item for the couple of months following the purchase to see if the price drops. Finally, keep in mind the times of year when sales are most likely to happen, such as around the winter holidays or summer.

How to claim price protection refunds
Cashing in on eligible price drops requires that you notify the credit card company administrator within 90 days of the purchase date.

The administrator will provide the applicable claim refund form, which you must submit with all necessary documentation within 90 days from when you charged the item to your credit card.

Be sure to keep original credit card receipts and statements that prove that the original purchase is eligible. You must also furnish a dated advertisement as evidence that the identical item was offered in Canada at a lower price within the 60-day price protection period.

See related: Is your credit card trip insurance enough?, 5 credit card perks you might not know you have
Published July 7, 2016

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