REMINDERS: Print out the website before you go to the store. Reader Jim ran into some price matching shenanigans at JCPenney:

He tells me that if I had tried to purchase over the web, I’d have actually paid $119.99. I tell him that my wife and I have been JcPenneys customers for a long time. We’ve bought clothes, bedding, all kinds of stuff and recently dropped $200 on cookware. He says to me, “Well, the price is $119.99 and it does show $79.99 as the sale price in the web site. I’ll tell you what, I’ll split the difference with you.”



Edit Your Comment

  1. darkened says:

    Isn’t it illegal to advertise a product at one price and then deny selling it for that price?

    Reading the full story on his page it seems as if the website is deliberately set up to direct customers to goto a store (I’d say that’s an advertisement) as you can not purchase the item online and then offer you a different price in store than the advertised price.

  2. BugMeNot2 says:

    And what did his manager say once Reader Jim requested to speak to a supervisor — someone who is presumably better equipped to deal with the store/website incongruity..?

  3. MercuryPDX says:

    Well, the price is $119.99 and it does show $79.99 as the sale price in the web site. I’ll tell you what, I’ll split the difference with you.”

    Tell ya what… how about I just split? Kthxbye!

  4. homerjay says:

    JC Penney is NOTORIOUS for this. They claim that the stores and the website are completely different entities and that they don’t have to price match themselves.
    They suck-diddly-uck.

  5. donnie5 says:

    Similar to my shoe incident. After Christmas they had a shoe clearance. The shoes I wanted where $19.99 on their site, but $24.99 in the store. I asked the shoe guy about it, and he said “well, you don’t have to pay shipping, so you pay for convenience.” I thought I was doomed because I had a gift card, but was able to get my gift card refunded and left. I really left just on principal. I mean, $5 is $5.

  6. KiLE says:

    I had the same experience as HOMERJAY. I attempted to buy a hall tree that they have on their website and they told me that the website has nothing to do with the brick and mortar store.

  7. BStu says:

    This really isn’t uncommon, though. Its frustrating because there really isn’t a standard. Some websites are extensions of a network of B&M stores, while others are a seperate sales entity opperating under the same brand. But its not like one or the other is unheard of. Both are common and have their own reasons for being. I get the frustration, but especially when its lower online, there IS a reason, namely lower overhead. If you want it at that price, just buy it online. If you want it now, pay the premium to get it now.

  8. ElizabethD says:

    I swore off after a year-long series of screw-ups with a furniture delivery. I can’t even begin to go into details. Suffice it to say that in the end, my husband had to threaten to show up in person at one of their warehouses 500 miles away to get what they owed us.

    The furniture ended up being CRAP made in you-know-where, after all that. Never ever again! They even sent me a $50 “gift certificate” to be used only online, and I let it expire. That’s how mad I was.

  9. SeraSera says:

    I went into the Gap during their winter clearance looking to buy a dress I’d seen for $19.99 online. It was $33.99 in store (down from fifty), and they wouldn’t match the website because “there’s a greater demand for it in-store than online.”

    Unfortunately, when I went down the mall to the Apple store to check the website (Apple stores: Steve Jobs’ gift to comparison shoppers), they were sold out of that dress in my size online, and I wanted that dress enough to pay for it in the Gap. Guess there really was a higher demand for it…

  10. qwickone says:

    @ElizabethD: Yeah, let them keep the money, that’ll show ’em!

  11. jonnyobrien says:

    If the B&M store is a seperate organization then why do the signs tell me “More sizes and styles on-line at” or the catalog direct me to

    Basically all the stores are telling me to shop online, avoid the surley teenagers and retirees at the store, and put all my faith in FedEx and UPS.

    Plastics aren’t the future, drivers for delivery services are the future.

  12. warf0x0r says:

    Web site != Store

  13. maex says:

    Something similar happened to me while pricing hdtvs. I noticed wal-mart’s (forgive me) website selling the identical tv that other retailers had for about 50-60 dollars less on their website. I called up the store to double check stock and price and, lo and behold, it was 65 dollars higher than the website had it listed. I got suspicious and checked their pricing policy and, sure enough, it’s written in such a way as to avoid any price matching between online vs. brick-and-mortar prices on their part.

  14. jsstudios says:

    I just wanted to say thanks to The Consumerist for posting this. I have never had this experience with JcPenney in the past. I’ll admit that I’m fortunate (I was able to get my money back), but much wiser now due to this experience.

    Oh, and we still haven’t found a coffee machine yet. ;)

  15. S-the-K says:

    I concur with WARF0X0R. The website/catalog is a different entity than the store. If you purchase something online or from the catalog and want to return it, you can’t return it to one of the many registers around the store. You will be directed to the catalog department to stand in line for the one cashier to get around to you.

  16. snoop-blog says:

    why not just purchase it on the web? i know i don’t like to wait for s&h, but i also don’t like to pay more than i have to for an item.

  17. maex says:

    @snoop-blog: I didn’t buy it on the web because, after S&H and tax, it ended up being more expensive online than if I were to just drag myself to the store; especially on an expensive item like an hdtv.

  18. Life_Sandwich says:


    I work at a JC Penney and I agree that it would make sense to return catalog orders at registers. Though, it has more to do with the fact that the system used catalog merchandise is completely different from the one that tracks in-store merchandise. This is a store in a transitional phase right now, and there are gradual improvements being made to the computer systems, so it is altogether possible that they may go ahead and find a way to easily integrate the two systems.

    As far as pricematching from the web goes, I’ve done it and continue to do it. I happen to work in a department that gives associates a fair amount of autonomy regarding our merchandise. Otherwise people get mad and walk away – which is bad for business.

  19. meballard says:

    As long as a company doesn’t say they will match their online pricing in-store, I personally don’t see a problem with it. Online stores operate with much lower margins than brick and mortar locations do, and therefore can charge lower prices.

    Last time I ordered something from Office Depot to be picked up in store, they charge the in store price when you place the order (and warn you about it too). You only get the online price if you have it shipped to you.