Shoebuy.com Doesn't Honor 110% Price Guarantee

Shoebuy has a neat 110% discount policy, where they’ll refund you the difference+10% if you find a lower final price (after discounts, tax, shipping, etc.) at a competitor. The only problem is, they take an insurance-claim adjustor’s approach to honoring it—by which we mean, they invent loopholes to void the offer. In one reader’s case, they said that because he used a discount code, his discount wasn’t available to the general public. Therefore his final price didn’t count, case closed, next customer please. The details of their 110% guarantee make zero mention of discount codes or coupons, or of any requirement of public availability. Shoebuy needs to change their policy if they want to take this approach; in the meantime, they should honor their commitment to this customer.

Besides, is using a discount code posted on a website that only some people will see really any different than publishing it in a newspaper only some people will read? They both seem to meet basic conditions for “general public” availability. In fact, if you consider that newspapers usually charge a fee for their papers, then a free website is arguably more available to the general public.

Here are the full details of their price guarantee as of Friday, October 19th 2007:

110% Price Guarantee

If you find a product for a lower price on another website, we will refund you 110% of the difference between the lower price and Shoebuy’s price. We’ll even refund the difference if we lower the price at Shoebuy.com!

Rules:

  • The item must be in stock in the same style, size and color that was purchased from the Shoebuy.com website.
  • The website where you find the lower price cannot be an auction site.
  • The final price that would have been paid at the other site will be compared to the final price on your order with Shoebuy and will be included when calculating the difference.
  • Offer is valid for 10 days after you make your purchase.
  • Offer is valid on orders/items shipped to destinations within the United States.

(Thanks to Philip!)

Comments

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  1. BStu says:

    I hate to be all Consumerist Commentator on this one, but I’m with Shoebuy on this one. A discount code isn’t a lower price. Period. I’d never assume a price match offer applied to coupon codes. These offers always apply to publicly advertised prices. A discount code is not the same thing as a product going on sale. I don’t see this as being at all sneaky or underhanded on Shoebuy’s part. Explicitly stating the exception might not be a bad idea as clearly there are individuals intent on gaming the system, but Shoebuy’s position here is common sense and I can’t fault them for it.

  2. Charles Duffy says:

    @BStu: These things mostly say “publicly advertised price”. This one doesn’t; it says final price, which clearly includes any adjustments. Taxes are an adjustment; so are coupons.

    If they meant publicly advertised price, they should have said that.

  3. esqdork says:

    Why would anyone buy shoes online from a site other than Zappos.com?

  4. ShadowFalls says:

    Even though Deepdiscount offers price matching for competitors, they do not accept ones for discount codes or club discounts. But, they actually stipulate this.

    Since when the item was purchased and there was no mention of this in their price match guarantee at the time of purchase this is considered a locked in contract. That price match guarantee applies to that purchase as that was what is in effect.

    They chould change it now and it still would not change their requirement to fulfill such. Pursuing this would not be worth the effort, but it will have you no longer shopping with them and thus no longer a customer, which decreases profits on the long term.

  5. balthisar says:

    @BStu: I agree; I don’t see anything nefarious here.

    @Charles Duffy: yeah, maybe they still be a little clearer, but when these things go to court and the jury is of your peers, it’ll come down to reasonable interpretation. I’d reasonably interpret that a discount code is a coupon, and coupons don’t count.

  6. hollerhither says:

    @esqdork:
    Love Zappos — great service, quick shipping, good site features, good attitude.

    I did find a hard-to-locate pair — stupid formal event, I’m usually not that picky — on shoebuy.com once and didn’t have any problems, they had decent service and shipping. For whatever reason, though, I wasn’t particularly inspired to return.

  7. UpsetPanda says:

    I like endless.com a lot. I had to go to a wedding and looked on there because they were offering free overnight delivery, and $5 off, so I bought a pair of shoes hoping they would arrive by the wedding, and they were there the next morning.

  8. thepassenger says:

    @esqdork:

    Because Zappos, while certainly good, does not always have the lowest prices or the particular style/size/color shoe I want. And if you do some comparing with other sites, you will find that their “free” shipping is in fact added into the asking prices on their site. But regardless, their overnight is pretty hard to beat.

    Also, as a bit of general information on this story, ShoeBuy is operated by the same people who run SmartBargains, and both are connected to the somewhat notorious (on this site, anyway) Gordon Brothers liquidation company. Caveat emptor.

  9. noirpensee says:

    @coffeecup:

    I too LOVE endless.com. Much better selection and easier browsing than zappos. And the free overnight shipping keeps me coming back again and again.

  10. RandomHookup says:

    If they don’t include coupons and such, then they should say it. It actually says ‘final price’, so it’s kinda hard to argue they don’t count, since a discount code is really just a price deduction. Stores that offer price guarantees do it so you don’t return an item and then buy it cheaper somewhere else, meaning $0 profit. Suck it up, fellows, or you end up on Consumerist.

  11. jostarr says:

    I’m with THEPASSENGER. I’ve bought from SmartBargains – stupidly more than once – and discovered the stuff was what is referred to as seconds. The sheets I bought were not regulation size, small pillow cases, etc.

  12. krunk4ever says:

    For those who agree with the “shafted” shoebuy.com customer, are you saying that if I have a “One Free Pair Of Shoes” coupon, I should be able to get shoebuy.com to PAY me to take shoes off their hands? If I had a gift card with $30 on it, does that mean the price match has to include that as well???

    I totally agree with shoebuy.com on this one. Their terms can be a bit clearer, but just because they didn’t mention they won’t be accepting final prices that include coupon, they don’t explicitly mention they will be either.

  13. BStu says:

    The rules say you have to find the product for a lower price on another website. A discount coupon isn’t finding the product for a lower price on another website. Their need to be more explicit in this case is only born out of people trying to game their offer, not because it was genuinely obscure in intent. Its an attempt to play “Gotchya!” and I don’t mind if they refuse to play along.

  14. realjen01 says:

    Remember when Kramer tried to enfource the bank’s guarantee and get $100 out of the bank because the teller said “Hey” instead of “Hello”? I think this is a similar situation. However, Shoebuy.com should revise their policy for those trying to scam on them.

  15. sonichghog says:

    The link says Final Advertised price, but the consumerist article just says final price.

    Typo or change?

  16. @sonichghog: Shoebuy.com has changed their written policy since we posted the article. As you can see from the text we’ve reprinted in the post—which was copied and pasted directly from their website—the phrase “final adverstised” was not part of their agreement when the article was posted on Friday morning.

    So: change (on Shoebuy’s part), not typo.

  17. And that should be “advertised,” of course.

  18. ChapstickAddict says:

    @thepassenger: Actually, Zappos offers the same 110% price protection deal as Shoebuy. So even if they don’t have the lowest price, you simply call up their customer service and tell them where you found the cheaper shoes and they credit you 110% of the difference. It’s actually quite a pleasant experience.

  19. lonelymaytagguy says:

    I like Shoebuy, but be aware that most shoes are shipped from the manufacturer, not directly from Shoebuy. This means your shoes may not ship for 2-3 days, and could come from much farther than Shoebuy’s warehouse (outside Boston). Look for the note, “This style ships same day,” you won’t find many.

    I’ve had good luck with their customer service and they’ve honored email coupons that I didn’t spot until after I placed my order. Also if you buy the same style twice (maybe a different color), they discount the second pair.

  20. younggreenanne says:

    My experience may not be typical, but in the last month, I found a specific pair of shoes I wanted (Demi Finalist by Aerosoles, in brown) and the Zappos.com price was $93 including overnight shipping. The Aerosoles.com price was $89 plus standard UPS shipping… and the Shoebuy.com price was 39.99.

    Shoebuy.com had also sent me a coupon for $10 off my next purchase. I got my shoes for $29.99 -including standard UPS Ground shipping – on Shoebuy.com versus the Zappos.com price of $93.00. Yes, the shipping time was almost 10 days… but I was thrilled with the price!

    Your mileage – well, yadda-yadda-yadda.

  21. younggreenanne says:

    And yes, my shoes were shipped directly from Aerosoles – still, I was happy for the price break.

  22. Caroofikus says:

    @Chris Walters: If you look at it now, they’ve changed it further to “final publicly advertised price”