Wouldn’t it be nice to know you’re always getting the best price? What if you could just go out and buy the things you need without worrying about price? Citi Price Rewind attempts to make that a reality. But does it work?
Here’s what you need to know about this service offered to Citi Card holders.
How Citi Price Rewind Works
Citi Card members can enroll their purchases in the Citi Price Rewind program and gain price protection for 60 days. To get the protection, however, you must keep your sales receipt and enter the information into the Citi website. Citi says they cannot simply search your purchase history because they are private. This makes the price rewind a huge hassle. But let’s not discount it just yet.
Citi keeps a database of products and you can search for the item you purchased. If you find the item, you select it and enter the details of the purchase. Once you submit the purchase, Citi tracks prices. If they find a lower price within 60 days of the purchase, they send an email confirmation and you submit the claim. Okay, it looks like less of a hassle – especially if you only want price protection on the infrequent, expensive purchases.
Is It Worth the Effort?
The claim process is just about as labor intensive as shopping around for the best deal. Even after submitting the purchase details the first time, you have to submit them again, plus send in a photocopy of the sales receipt before you can get a refund for the price difference. And you must submit the claim within 180 days of the purchase. Refunds are limited to $300 per item and $1,200 per year. Whew – that’s a lot to know.
The New York Times’ Ann Carrns tried the program and wasn’t very impressed. In her case, the Citi website could not find her purchase in its database, so it could not track the price. A call to customer service told her to check back again to see if the item was added at a later date or to track the item herself and submit a claim if she found a better price. So, it wasn’t much help in her case. Other sources point out that the database is enormous, with more than 30,000 search results for an iPad alone.
According to Carrns, Citi told her that about 25 percent of purchases over $100 are eligible for refunds and 38 percent of purchases over $1,000 are eligible, with an average refund of $80. The program applies to consumer goods such as appliances, TVs, clothing and luggage. The program does not cover purchases of consumable goods (like gasoline – although that would be awesome), jewelry (except watches), motor vehicles, collectibles or event tickets. The program will not offer price protection if the lower price you found was on an auction site or part of a clearance promotion.
The Simplest Strategy
In the end, it might be smarter to shop around before you make any major purchases, and then just keep an eye out for a sale that makes a price rewind claim worth the effort. Remember to hang on to those receipts, just in case.