I really get mad when I notice a price drop just after I ordered something online. It feels so frustrating, I want to scream “It’s NOT FAIR!!” If I knew several years ago what Paribus app is, I could save myself a lot of disappointments and money.
In some cases I know it’s going to happen, like before holiday sales, but I need the item now. I can’t postpone the purchase of that Bear costume for my son till November, you know. There won’t be another Halloween any time soon for my little bear to scare our neighbors and get a six-month chocolate supply in reward. And it still hurts to see the 50% discount on the same bear costume, so I have to eat some of those candies right away to make myself feel better.
Do I always check the prices after the purchase is made? No, I don’t. My life is so busy, I don’t have time for price monitoring and negotiating with this customer support or another. I wish I could clone myself to get everything done in the best way.
While cloning is not an option, what can I do to get the price difference back without too much hassle? There is a super easy way to delegate the price monitoring and getting the refund to a digital personal price adjustment agent, that doesn’t require any time or effort from my side. It’s almost as good as a little clone of yourself.
It’s called Paribus (owned by Capital One) and it’s completely FREE.
In this review, I’ll explain in details how does Paribus work and what it can do for you. It’s amazing to see how new technology like this can impact the financial services industry and big retailers’ policies.
Table of Contents
Here is what I’m going to cover in this Paribus review:
- Retailers’ protection policies
- Paribus History and Founders
- How Does Paribus Work?
- How To Sign Up For Paribus?
- Which Stores Are Covered By Paribus?
- Paribus Travel Service – Hotel Room Price Drop Protection
- Does Paribus work with Amazon?
- How Paribus Helps With Late Delivery Monitoring
- Is There Any Other Way to Get a Refund For A Price Drop?
- How Much Can You Save With Paribus? Is Paribus Worth It?
- Is Paribus A Scam Or Legit?
- How Paribus Makes Money?
- What Are The Pros Of Using Paribus?
- What Are The Cons Of Paribus? Is It Safe To Use?
Let’s get started
Many Retailers Offer Price Protection Policies
Do you know that many retailers offer compensation if the price of the product drops within a specified period after the purchase?
Here are some samples of retailers’ price match policies from Macy’s, Best Buy and Gap.
Macy’s Price Adjustment policy – 10 days.
Best Buy Price Match Policy works as long as the return period for the item lasts.
GAP Price Match works for 14 days.
The protection period usually varies from 7 to 30 days. Think about all the purchases you made several days before a regular sales events such as Black Friday, Labor Day, Memorial Day sale etc. Did you get any price adjustment during the sales period?
You can say that the difference is not material to justify the effort of writing or calling the customer service. Well, it depends. The more expensive the product the bigger can be the price drop in dollars.
But who has the time to track every purchase for a price drop? It’s too tedious task for any human. This is where Paribus comes in.
Paribus History and Founders
The company was founded in 2014 by Eric Glyman and Karim Atiyeh. It raised about $2.2M in two funding rounds from 10 investors.
Here is a video from 2015, where the founders present the concept at the TechCrunch conference:
In October 2016 Paribus was acquired by Capital One for an undisclosed amount.
Paribus has filed more than $29 million in claims. The service is offered absolutely free and available for US residents and purchases made in the US only.
How Does Paribus Work?
Paribus monitors the email box that you use for online purchases and locates the orders and shipping confirmations to identify the items. Then it monitors the price of these items on the merchant’s website during the price drop protection period.
All your tracked online purchases are listed in the Dashboard that you can access after you login into Paribus:
In case of a price drop detection, Paribus sends an email to the retailer on your behalf, requesting a refund. Once the claim is approved, you’ll receive the refund directly from the merchant, probably by the same payment method you have used for the purchase.
In some cases, Paribus will notify you of the price drop and provide simple instructions on how to contact the retailer and request the adjustment by yourself.
Here is an example of such an email I’ve received for my Home Depot purchase:
How To Sign Up For Paribus?
The sign-up process is fast and easy, but there are some facts you must know before doing it:
- Paribus is not compatible with Internet Explorer. For signing up online you must use Chrome or Firefox on the desktop or download the app from the AppStore (no Android app as of now)
- You must use Gmail, Yahoo or Outlook email account. Paribus doesn’t work with other providers. The idea is to sign up with the same email account you normally use for online shopping. If you use a non-supported provider, you can set up a new account with Gmail and configure it to fetch the emails from your existing address.
- Paribus will ask you for a permission to access your email box, including reading, writing, and deletion. It will then scan the inbox for recent online purchases that are still within the retailer’s price protection period.
- If you are interested in monitoring late deliveries from Amazon, you can also provide your Amazon credentials.
I know it sounds intimidating to give full access, as your email box might contain personal correspondence you don’t want to expose. When I was signing up and saw this requirement, I stopped and went to do some research before completing the process.
I wanted to check if I can trust Paribus and what exactly can happen if I give it the access to my Gmail box. What I found is that Paribus uses an automated system (in other words – a bot), based on Artificial Intelligence. It means that the bot scans the inbox, looking for emails from the retailers covered by Paribus or UPS, based on the list of relevant keywords in the title. All other emails will be ignored. The bot is not interested in any emails from your inbox besides the order and shipping confirmations from the relevant retailers.
Another fact that makes me feel safe is that Paribus is a part of Capital One group, a financial firm that follows numerous regulations, including privacy protection and data encryption.
Here is more detailed information from Paribus’ Support page:
If you don’t believe it’s safe to provide Paribus with full access to your email, my advice is to open a separate account for online shopping, where no personal information is disclosed.
I gave Paribus access to my Amazon account as well and haven’t experienced any issues, but this is, of course, up to you.
Which Stores Are Covered By Paribus?
Currently, there are 30 merchants monitored by Paribus, either for a price drop or for late delivery (or both). The list includes Amazon, Walmart, Macy’s, Home Depot, Gap, Old Navy, and other big retailers. Here is the full list as advertised on Paribus website on November 10th, 2018:
In addition, Paribus monitors hotel bookings (see a separate section about it below).
Paribus Travel Service – Hotel Room Price Drop Protection
In addition to the retailers, Paribus has partnered with several online hotel booking websites and monitors the hotel room prices after you book a room.
Hotel rooms’ prices often fluctuate, and it isn’t rare to see a $50-$80 per night price drop. If Paribus finds that the same room can be booked for less within the original cancellation period, it will send you a notification and ask whether you’d like to rebook. Upon your confirmation, Paribus will book the room with Priceline and cancel your original reservation.
For more detailed information about hotel rebooking, please check this Paribus support page.
Does Paribus Work With Amazon?
Yes and No.
First, a bit of history here. Several years ago, Amazon had a very generous price drop policy, where they promised price protection for 30 days.
In those happy days my chat with Amazon customer support would look like this:
Me: I bought this raincoat for $43 three days ago and now I see the price dropped to $37.
Amazon Rep: I apologize, I will issue the refund of $6 immediately. Can I help you with anything else?
At that time, Paribus was doing the same job of requesting the refunds and saving the money, as I did myself via the chat.
Later on, the protection period was reduced to 7 days. Probably, they still got millions of refund requests and had to pay hundreds of customer support reps to process them. Add to that all the automated requests submitted by Paribus and other monitoring software and you can see the reason why in 2015 this policy was canceled for most products. I didn’t know that and my chat with the rep went like this:
Me: I bought these shoes for $60 three days ago and now I see the price dropped to $55.
Amazon Rep: Do you want me to send you the return label?
Me: No, I like the shoes, but the price dropped. Can you adjust it?
Amazon Rep: I’m sorry, our policy is changed. You can return the shoes and buy them again.
Me: But the shipping is free – why do you want to ship the first pair back and send me a new pair? Won’t it cost you more than just giving me a refund of $5?
Amazon Rep: I’m sorry, this is the policy. Is there anything else I can assist you with?
Me: Damn, I don’t want to print the label, pack the shoes, go to USPS and wait again for the second shipping. But I’m not going to let them get away with it! Ok, send me the label.
After the policy change, Paribus can’t get the refund for the price drop from Amazon. But it offers delivery monitoring.
How Paribus Helps With Late Delivery Monitoring
In addition to the price drop, another frustrating scenario might be a late delivery. You order something in the last minute for an upcoming event and… nothing comes and the occasion is ruined. Happened to me with a present I’ve ordered for my daughter’s birthday a week in advance to receive it about 10 days later… Oh, shame on me. I had to spend a long time on chat to receive any sympathy from the customer service representative.
With Paribus it’s different. While it can’t get the goods to your door in time, it can file a claim in your name for Amazon Prime and Walmart.com orders that missed the promised delivery date.
Here is a real example. I ordered a pair of leggings and Amazon Prime service was supposed to deliver them in 2 days. It didn’t happen.
Paribus monitored the purchase in my email box and noticed the delay. It sent the following email from my Gmail box (yes, it looks like I did it myself, but I wasn’t even aware it happened until I received the notification from Paribus.
Then I checked my Sent box and found this email that was automatically sent by Paribus:
And here is the Amazon’s reply:
Woo-hoo! I just got $5 effortlessly, as I wasn’t even aware this communication happened. It’s like finding money on the floor, isn’t it?
Is There Any Other Way to Get a Refund For A Price Drop?
For many years most of credit card companies offered price protection in their policies. Chase and Citi were the leaders in this area, providing the best benefits. In order to receive the price difference, the customer had to submit the supporting evidence within the period of up to 120 days (the period varied between different card companies).
Have you ever used this benefit? Probably not. About 97% of cardholders were not aware of the price protection benefit and an estimated amount of $50 billion possible refunds were unclaimed.
However, the arrival of automated refund seekers, like Paribus and Earny in 2016 changed the picture. Earny works with about 85% of all credit cards that offer price drop protection. Paribus used to offer this service in the past, but it was discontinued in June 2017.
The banks started to face exponentially growing amount of claims, sometimes for tiny amounts of 30-40 cents. The processing of these claims became a serious burden. In 2018 some of the banks started to change their policies.
City reduced the maximum benefits per claim. Chase decided to cancel the price protection for good in August 2018 for most of its branded cards.
Discover kept price protection in place, probably because Earny doesn’t work for Discover cards.
As of now, you need to check the current policy with each of your credit card providers, if you are interested in filing a claim.
How Much Can You Save With Paribus? Is Paribus Worth It?
The savings are unlimited and mostly depend on your shopping habits. The more you shop, the higher are the chances Paribus will find an eligible price drop for you.
I don’t shop online too much and mostly use Amazon that no longer offers any price protection. My other favorite stores are Macy’s and Home Depot where the prices frequently change.
So, the right answer is that everyone’s mileage may vary, as they are used to say in the couponing community jargon. Meaning that everyone’s benefit will be different depending on the individual parameters.
How Much Does It Cost To Use Paribus?
In the past, Paribus used to charge 25% of the successful claim refund. However, after the acquisition by Capital One, this fee was canceled and Paribus became a part of the benefits offered to the public by its parent company.
Paribus is currently a free service.
Is Paribus A Scam Or Legit?
Well, after reading this review, you probably can see that Paribus is absolutely legitimate. You don’t need to provide a credit card during the registration.
Being a part of such a highly regulated financial company like Capital One, Paribus is also subject to inspection and have to adhere to the modern cybersecurity standards.
How Paribus Makes Money?
As Paribus offers its services for free, you might wonder how it makes the money. It’s a legit question.
There is a “Deal” section on the website where you can see a selection of discounted items. Clicking on them leads to the retailer’s website. I assume that Paribus might earn some affiliate commission if you buy one of these items.
Another source of income is the partnership with Priceline for hotel rooms rebooking. Paribus gets a small fee if you book the room through this service. It doesn’t impact the price for the customers.
What Are The Pros Of Using Paribus?
First of all – this is a FREE service.
What I like the most, is the fact that the service doesn’t require attention from my side, most of the time.
It’s kind of a “set it and forget it”. I had the Paribus service for months and didn’t notice anything till the notification of Amazon compensation for the late delivery. Paribus works invisibly in the background and doesn’t send you any annoying emails, except the refund opportunities.
It catches the price drops that I wouldn’t notice myself. For me, it’s like finding money that I never knew existed. I love it!
What Are The Cons Of Paribus? Is Paribus Safe To Use?
The main concern raised by people who hear about Paribus for the first time is the requirement of access to the email account, including the writing and deletion permissions. Cybersecurity is super important these days, so I can understand you want to be cautious.
Personally, I don’t feel uncomfortable giving this access, as I know that Paribus is configured to look only for shopping-related emails and doesn’t care (if the bots are capable of any caring at all) about anything else.
As I already mentioned, there is an easy solution for this concern. You can open a separate email account for all of your online purchases and maybe other activities without any sensitive personal information that needs protection. Let the bot monitor this account only.
I like Paribus for doing all of the hard lifting of price monitoring and sending the claims on my behalf with no effort and for free.
Why not take advantage of this automated smart helper to save you some money?
One important tip: don’t do any online shopping without using a cash back site. Here is the review of my favorite site with the highest cashback rates.
P.S. For easy savings on your online shopping, don’t forget to use TopCashback, that offers the best cash back rates (guaranteed).
Read the full TopCashback review here, if you didn’t sign up yet. It’s my favorite way to save online.