Paribus: Automatically Request Price Drop Savings

paribus_logoMany online retailers offer a “Low Price Guarantee”, which doesn’t mean they actually have the lowest prices but only that they will match a lower price if you find it and ask for your money within a certain time window. Sometimes they’ll match certain competitors, and sometimes they’ll only match themselves.

For example, let’s say you buy some shoes and you find that a week later they are $25 less. If you don’t both notice and ask using the proper channels, you won’t get that $25 adjustment.

Paribus is a start-up which promises to help you automatically request price adjustments on all your online purchases. They’ll even see if you could have saved more using another coupon code. Thanks to reader Colin for the tip.

What does it cost? The service makes money on a contingency basis, taking 25% of any savings found. If it doesn’t save you money, it doesn’t get paid.

What merchants does it support? Here’s the current list:

  • Amazon.com
  • Target
  • Wal-Mart
  • Bloomingdale’s
  • Best Buy
  • Macy’s
  • Sephora.com
  • NewEgg.com
  • Staples
  • Bonobos
  • J. Crew
  • Zappos.com
  • Nordstrom
  • Gap
  • Banana Republic
  • Old Navy
  • Athleta
  • Piperlime

Any concerns or catches? Well, in order for their bots to do their thing (and basically impersonate you), you’ll need to hand them a decent amount of information. I signed for an account and this is what they wanted:

  • Control over your e-mail address. You will need an e-mail from a major provider (Gmail, Yahoo, Hotmail, or iCloud) and either need to authenticate them or give them your e-mail password. They need the ability to both scan your e-mail for receipts and send e-mails requesting refunds on your behalf.
  • Your Amazon.com password. If you want to utilize Amazon’s price match policy, you’ll have to give them your account password (which they promise to keep encrypted on their servers).
  • Your credit card information. Most retailers will credit your money onto the same payment method as the original purchase, so you’ll have to leave a credit card on file with Paribus for them to charge their finder’s fee.

A workaround for e-mail privacy concern would be to create a special e-mail address for shopping (i.e. [email protected]) and then set up auto-forwarding of everything going to that “dummy account” to your normal e-mail address (i.e. [email protected]). That way, you can just check your normal e-mail and still get all your online receipts.

I just signed up for an account today, but here’s a screenshot which shows some theoretical savings:

paribus_dash

This does seem like a good idea for a service, although the merchants probably won’t like it as they profit when we are lazy and uninformed. I don’t like the idea of giving out my Amazon password, but really that is the only online merchant that I use regularly. The final question will be if their execution lives up to the promise of “set-it-and-forget-it” savings.

More: TechCrunch

Comments

  1. Would you say you average 10% in savings per month, or does it vary quite a bit?

    This is a tough call. Saving money is great, especially when it requires little effort on your part. However, privacy concerns are too important to sweep under the rug. Forwarding to another email will fix the snooping into your private email, but the amazon password also poses a problem and the selling of your shopping habit data to other 3rd parties. Nevertheless, I have to admit that it’s extremely tempting.

    Eric Glyman answers privacy questions here… but I’m not quite sold on it.
    http://producthunt.com/tech/paribus-2

  2. Thanks, this sounds great!

    I didn’t like the idea of giving them access to my primary email either, so I contacted Paribus about my privacy concerns and they had a great suggestion that I will use.

    If you don’t feel comfortable giving Paribus access to your Gmail account, you can just create a secondary Gmail account and setup a filter to automatically forward emails from the Paribus compatible retailers to the second account. (I like this better than your initial suggestion above, because I don’t want to change my login for Amazon and all the other retailers to my new secondary email. This way, login and purchase confirmations still work with my primary email address.)

    For the record, they did note that “we don’t pull any information we don’t need to save you money and we’ve partnered with the best security experts in the industry to ensure everything is encrypted and secured properly.”

    • That’s a good suggestion, thanks. It’s a bit more work to make sure the e-mail filters work but your way makes it easier to stop using Paribus if you wanted to. But they’ll still need your Amazon password.

  3. Christine says:

    Seen any savings yet?

  4. Give them your credit card information??? I understand the reasoning why, however, in my opinion, that can be more dangerous than the e-mail scanning.
    I created and signed up with a special email address just for them on 3/9/16. I populated it with my orders from up to 2 weeks ago. I followed everything except put in my credit card information. Anyway, I went back to check the website today to figure if I wanted to put in my credit card info and the site won’t even come up on my computer. So much for that.

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