Price-match guarantee? Buyer beware, and read the fine print

KYW legal correspondent Amy E. Feldman answers listener questions:

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — As we enter the official holiday shopping season, you're probably hearing a lot of ads with price-match guarantees. One KYW Newsradio listener found out they're not always what they seem.

Wendy from Cinnaminson, N.J., says a home improvement retailer had a price-match guarantee on its website, offering to match any competitor's price. But when she found an identical item for a lower price somewhere else, the store refused to match it.

So she asks: Is a retailer who advertises a price-match guarantee bound by it?

The answer is yes — but so is the consumer.

Consumer protection laws say a company can't mislead a consumer into believing it is offering a deal that it isn't. But if the retailer has a list of what is excluded from that guarantee — even in the tiny print — the consumer is also bound by that.

You may find that exclusions include anything from a membership-based retail wholesaler like Costco, or anything online from — in other words; almost anything.

So, buyer, beware. And always read the fine print.