I recently bought a DSLR at Noel Leemings, and negotiated what I figured was a pretty good price, getting them to price match JB Hifi. However, it happened to be just a few days before Black Friday. Stupid me, I should have thought of that, but that's by the by. Noel Leemings, as part of the Black Friday sale, dropped the price on the camera by a further $80. It wasn't a huge amount of money, but enough to make me slap my forehead. Then I heard about the PriceGuard insurance policy on my Visa Platinum credit card. A perusal of the policy indicated that it should be a valid claim. So I went about the process of making a claim. To start with, the claim form that was provided (which isn't available as an online form or even as a downloadable PDF - you have to ring and request one be sent to you) was poorly set out and contradictory in places. It looked like it had been given to the office intern to design in their lunch break. Not a good start. Nevertheless, I collated all the information I had, and set it out as supplementary information to the requirements of the form, and even included a very clear description of what had happened, and why I was making the claim. I wanted it to be as clear as possible and not leave anything open to interpretation.
I just received a phone call from the claims assessor. She noted that I had taken a screenshot of the website showing the lower price, the date of the deal, and the website address. She asked if there was a flyer advertising the promotion. I said that I didn't have that, and it probably doesn't exist given it was a one-day Black Friday deal. She said that "internet prices or internet advertising" is specifically excluded under the policy. The only way they would honour the claim is if there was a printed advertisement of the deal.
What is the deal with this?!? Are we stuck in the 20th century? I could understand if the price was advertised on an overseas website or some parallel importer drastically undercutting their competitors, but to automatically exclude a claim because the mode of communication was that most radical and futuristic of devices known as "a website?" This sounds to me like the flimsiest of excuses, and one that would likely fly under most people's radar (if they were even aware of the policy in the first place). Advertising on websites is hardly a new or unfamiliar communication tool, and it's not beyond the realms of possibility for some businesses to advertise or conduct themselves exclusively online. Tying the policy to the antiquated approach of pulping wood and squirting ink onto it in order to communicate prices to the public seems farcical to me.
Now, I know this is a "first world problem", and I'm not overly bothered by the "loss" of $80. What frustrates me is the "olde worlde" thinking that underlies the policy in the first place. And normally, if I felt "outraged" by a business practice, I would vote with my wallet. But that's a futile gesture here - what am I going to do? Give up my Visa? There isn't an "answer" here, and I'm not really looking for one. I just wanted to vent and get it off my chest - that such policies are, as I always expected, a con. While I didn't get the Visa specifically for that purpose, it bugs me that it's plugged as a benefit (albeit a low-key one) when it's got so many holes in it that it's practically useless.