Does A Store Have To Price Match Their Website?

Here’s a question we get a lot. Are stores required to price match their own website?

Mike asks:

Even though the RIAA and the MPAA try to screw customers at every turn, I wanted to support my favorite show of all time by purchasing the new Futurama Movie: Bender’s Game. Target.com had the cheapest price I could find at $14.99 and I have a Target right across the street from work. I went to buy the DVD and it rang up as $19.99. I pulled up the website on my iPhone and showed the cashier that it was $14.99. She told me that Target stores don’t match Target.com prices. I told her to void the sale because I felt cheated. I went to the customer services desk and they told me the same thing.

How can a store not match the prices on their own website? Is this legal? Didn’t Best Buy get in trouble for doing something similar?

The simple answer — yes, it’s perfectly legal and lots of stores do it. It’s a lot more common than you think. If you don’t like it, you should do exactly what you did — take your business elsewhere.

As far as your second question about Best Buy — no, they did not get into trouble for refusing to price match their own website — they got in trouble for making a second “fake” website that showed in-store prices. The argument was that Best Buy was misleading customers into thinking that the website prices were the same as the in-store ones. Consumers reported that Best Buy employees would tell them that the “sale ended while they were in the car” and would use the “fake” website to prove it. This is clearly uncool, and it let to a lawsuit by the Attorney General of Connecticut.

Here’s Target’s official price matching policy. In short, they do not price match.

Pricing for products on Target.com may vary from Target stores and from the Target Weekly Ad. We do not match the price of our online merchandise with the price offered by Target stores or another company, and Target stores do not match the price of our online merchandise. However, if you see a lower price listed in one of our Target Weekly Ads, we may be able to adjust the price of your online order to match the advertised price.