Last week, I decided to do my winter shopping. My clothes tend to be pretty plain, so I usually do it based on what store is offering the cheapest price for what I want, including any rebates from cash back shopping. The total, before rebates, was about $275. The best cash back portal for Macy’s at the time was offering 12% (As of this writing, Be Frugal is tops at 10%.). Whoo-hoo, a free $33! But there was more to come, thanks to Earny.
Earny Kicks In
A few days later, I got a notification from Macy’s that they had received my request for a price adjustment and were refunding me $18.51. I had no idea what they were talking about, at least until a few days later, when I got an email from somebody called Earny, telling me that they had noticed a lower price on a shirt that I had ordered and requested a refund for me. And then I got another refund email. And another. Eventually, I ended up with a total of $92 in refunds on my $275 purchase, not including what I got from the shopping portal. I had no idea who was applying for my refunds, but I liked the fact that they were giving me money, so I did some exploring.
It turns out that, several months ago, I had signed up for the app Earny, a “shopping assistant” that tracks your purchases and looks for lower prices. If it finds a lower competitors’ price or notices a price drop in the covered time period (more on that later), you will get a refund to your card. If you give them your card and email info, they’ll do the work for you.* Earny takes 25% of the refund as their fee. You have two forms of “price protection:”
Credit Card Price Protection
The credit card price protection policy is the longer-lasting of the two, although it has one extra requirement. You need to shop with a participating credit card and at a participating store.
Several credit cards have a “price match guarantee,” where they will issue you a refund if you find a lower price within a certain time frame. Earny automates it for you. For the first 90 days after your purchase, it will track your purchases to see if they can find a lower price. If it finds a lower price for covered credit cards and stores, it will apply for the refund automatically. Technically, I could track all my purchases myself, but I know that that’s not going to happen. I’m willing to pay Earny the 25% fee to do it for me. Below are the stores that are covered under the “credit card price protection:”
Retailer Price Protection
The other form of refunds that the app offers you is under “retailer price protection.” Many retailers have a price match policy, where they will refund you the difference in your purchase price if you find a lower price within a certain period of time. For 30 days after your purchase, Earny will check the store where you made your purchase and its competitors for a month and, if it finds a better price, will apply for the refund directly for you.
What I Don’t Like
No service is perfect, including this one. There is nothing that would cause me to veto the service, but there are things you should be aware of. Here are a few of the downsides:
- Like any merchant, they’ll need your credit card information. They will also need to be able to see your inbox to scan for receipts, although they’ll have no ability to alter anything. If you are at all nervous about that, set up a special “Earny email” for your purchases and register with that email.
- When Earny sends an email to the merchant, they are doing so as you (which is why Macy’s responded to me and not Earny), rather than a third-party service. It doesn’t bother me in the slightest, but some people don’t like it.
- Earny does not take its 25% at the time that it issues the refund. It does so at a later date (using the same form of payment), after it has verified that you have been credited. Again, doesn’t bother me, but it’s an objection that I’ve seen.
My Bottom Line
After receiving $33 from the shopping portal and a net of $69 from Earny (after their commission), my $275 purchase ended up costing me only about $163. Not a bad deal!
Yes, this is a referral site, and I truly appreciate it if you use my link to sign up. I get 5% of your rebates for an undetermined period of time. It costs nothing and could save you money, so it’s definitely worth a look. Feel free to put your own link in the comments section.
*Obviously, security is an issue for the app. Here is their security protection policy. Heck, until a few days ago, I didn’t even know that I had it.