Shopping is fun. But retailers - online, brick-and-mortar and those who conduct business in both the real and virtual worlds - are shifty.
Most retailers offer something called "price protection," which usually comes in two flavors:
One, if during a given period of time after you purchase a particular item the price of that particular item plummets, the store will refund you the difference.
Two, if you've purchased a particular product and then, while browsing elsewhere during a given period of time after you purchased that particular product, you find your particular purchased product priced less, the store from which you made the original purchase will refund the difference.
Price protection is a great sales tool to help retailers assure you that you're paying the lowest price.
Except for the most part, it's BS.
You vs. retailer
In order to collect that price-protected differential, retailers make you twist yourself into a pretzel, then ask you to pat your head while tapping your tummy while trying to pick up a dime with your toes off a recently waxed linoleum floor.
Not anymore. A new service called Eyeona will be your price protection administrator. You tell them what you bought and they'll monitor more than 200 of the country's most popular retailers to see if your purchased goods go on sale for less.
If your product does appear in another store for less, you'll get an email and/or a text message. Once you acknowledge the alert, Eyeona will deal with the retailer to get your credit card credited with the price protection difference.
And just to clear up any misunderstanding, while Eyeona is trying to forge relationships with retailers to institute future premium services, right now Eyeona is sort of a guerrilla agent on your behalf. It is NOT working with the retailers it lists to smooth the price protection refund process. It's working on its own to recoup your just price protection rewards for you from these recalcitrant retailers.
How it works
You have to use either a free Gmail or Yahoo email account - if you don't have one, create one that you'd use ONLY to receive info such as (and especially) emailed receipts from online stores or even brick-and-mortar stores who send email receipts.
(Even if you don't use Eyeona, I strongly recommend creating a separate email account just to handle online shopping email traffic. If the retailer or your email account is hacked, all the hacker will get is online shopping alerts and receipts.)
During the registration process, Eyeona asks your permission to check this email account. It's an automated system that only looks for the names of the stores Eyeona supports. You'll get an email to ensure you're the one allowing access to your email.
More than price protection refunds
Eyeona is more than a one-trick price protection pony. Eyeona also will try and find you the best price on a product before you buy.
Using the iPhone or Android app, you scan the bar code of a product you desire to purchase. Eyeona will then keep an eye on that product from the stores in its directory and alert you when its price gets discounted.
You also can pick your own price, Priceline-like. While shopping you spy a desirous product that's priced ridiculously high. Scan the offending product's barcode and input what you think would be a more reasonable price. Eyeona will then alert you when a retailer agrees with you.
Here's the problem. Not meaning to cast stereotype dispersions, but I'm a guy. And like most of my gender, I am not a shopper. The only time I worry about saving a couple of bucks here and there are if I'm shopping for electronics.
But clothes or other goods? If I want it, I buy it.
As a result, I'm not the best judge of how Eyeona works. It's real benefit comes with shopping quantity.
Since Eyeona is free, why don't you heavy shoppers out there give it a try and report your experiences back in this space.