A year or two ago I wrote an article on Walmart’s new Price Match program . When I tested this new program out at my local Walmart, I was pleasantly surprised. Even though Walmart’s policy does not require that you bring an advertisement to do price matching at the cash register, I brought one anyways. CVS was having a deal where you could purchase 5 12-packs of Cokes for $13, or $2.60 per case. Using this, I was able to snag the same deal at Walmart.
I don’t typically shop at Walmart, though the ad match guarantee coupled with their acceptance of many competitor coupons makes it a tempting option. However, since writing the article, there have been mixed results in the comments  from readers who have tried this out.
And it turns out that My Dollar Plan readers are not the only ones who are having mixed results with this new program. Some people have reported beautiful success and lots of savings using the Walmart price match, and others are quite disgruntled at the treatment their received at their local Walmart (and outright refusal on certain price matching for items that clearly should have been within the guidelines of the program). Before we delve into that, let’s take another look at what Walmart promises with their guarantee.
Ad Match Guarantee Program in a Nutshell
As with any guarantee or program, there is fine print involved. The Walmart price match:
- Walmart matches any local competitor’s advertised price.
- Walmart does not require customers to bring the ad with them in order for the cashier to honor the competitor’s price.
- Items purchased must be identical to the ad.
- You can price match a Buy-One-Get-One Free ad so long as there is an actual price printed on the ad.
- Items for sale where preferred shopping loyalty cards that are needed in order to get the deal will be honored.
There are also some things that do not apply to this program, such as sales where only a percentage off is listed (such as 40% off an item) and if Walmart will price match Amazon  (they don’t). You can check out all of the exclusions here .
Mixed Results Nationwide for Walmart Price Match
This program is still active, but it is somewhat of a mess. Just like MDP readers are experiencing mixed results when attempting to use this program, so are people across the nation. Businessweek featured an article on this very topic called The Perils of Price-Matching. In this article, Renee Dudley and Lindsey Rupp report on the sad state of affairs. Apparently a simplified version of the Ad Match Guarantee rolled out in 2011, with Walmart promising to extensively train store employees across the nation to make sure that the policy was consistent across the United States. Dudley and Rupp go on to interview several people who have had sub-par experiences trying to price match, and the excuses they have been given by cashiers such as the ad not being a local competitor, or give no excuse at all (“we won’t do it”). What actually constitutes as a local competitor store has never been answered, and some stores are scrutinizing the likeness of two items such as seeded oranges versus unseeded oranges as to whether or not they will price match.
Why Something Might Be Denied
Differing Quantity or Size of Package. One of the frustrations in this program is when you cannot actually find the specific size or quantity of an item that is advertised in a competitor’s ad. This is because manufacturers will make specific sizes for one retailer that are not available to other retailers. It’s quite frustrating (and this happened during my first price-matching trip) when you find the product you are looking for, but can’t seem to get one in the exact ounce size that you need. Retailers specifically do this so that their items cannot be price-matched or compared with others’ products.
Store Brands. Another frustration is that store brands will not be matched. So if a store brand item from Kroger’s is offered at a certain price, you cannot then price match the Walmart store brand of the same type of product.
Cashiers. And as if all of these things didn’t make this program complicated enough, it really all comes down to how knowledgeable and helpful your cashier is (or manager, if you have to call them over) as to whether or not your price match transactions will go through.
Price Matching Elsewhere
Unfortunately, if you are looking for another grocery store that price matches, there don’t appear to be any (if you know of one, please do leave it in the comments below for the rest of us!) So while Walmart promises a lot, they have yet to fully implement that promise for everyone. Try out price matching at your own Walmart, and be sure to leave a comment to let us know if it worked.