Price-Matching At Radio Shack, Where It’s Always 1992

Matthew normally buys electronics online, but likes to get his family’s mobile phones from the local Radio Shack. They’re friendly, helpful, and price-match brick-and-mortar competitors, so why not support keeping local people employed? The last time he stopped by to buy a new phone, though, his price-matching plans went awry.

His wife decided on an iPhone 5, which cost $150 at Radio Shack with a new contract agreement. Were there any discounts available on that price? Nope. He heard that Walmart had the same phone available for $98, though–maybe he could get Radio Shack to price match?

Radio Shack does price match. They price match the prices in local brick and mortar stores, which is a fair policy. However, the only proof they will accept of the prices in other stores is a copy of a current newspaper circular. Walmart didn’t advertise the iPhone deal in their circular.

He showed a store employee the Walmart site. Not a flyer. Doesn’t count. “The site indicated that the phone was only available at that price in Walmart stores, not online,” Matthew writes. “The rep said that it doesn’t matter what prices competitors are using; his only concern was the price shown in a competitor’s printed weekly sales flyer.”

He went to Walmart and took a photo of the iPhone on the shelf. Still not a flyer. That means that, as far as Radio Shack is concerned, the price doesn’t exist.

“The entire purpose and spirit of the price match concept is to be a convenient option for the customer who is shopping on price,” Matthew mused in an e-mail to Radio Shack. “It would seem that Radio Shack’s price match promise isn’t as customer friendly as one would reasonably hope to find.”

We wrote to Radio shack to make sure that this is a companywide policy and not a weird outlier. The Shack’s website spells it all out pretty clearly, though: it has to be a print ad.

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A reasonable person would say that a special advertised online should count for a promotion like this. However, the written price-match policy specifically says that you need to bring in a newspaper advertisement, because it’s always 1992 at Radio Shack.

As the company’s site says:

If you find a lower advertised price for an identical product in a brick-and-mortar retailer’s newspaper advertisement, show the ad to a store associate and we will match the competitor’s price. “Identical” means the same brand, model number, size, quantity, color, carrier, airtime plan and service terms, etc.

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