Paribus: The app that gets you price-drop refunds

You just made a significant online purchase, only to find that the price dropped just after you bought the item.

Many stores will refund the price difference to you within one or two weeks after your purchase, as long as you remember to ask. But you have to take the time to check for price changes, keep all the receipts, and go through each store's procedure for acquiring a refund.

Who has time for that on a daily basis? Nobody. Which is why the Paribus app was invented.

Paribus monitors your recent purchases at participating retailers for price drops and automatically works with the stores to secure your refund. When successful refunds are acquired, Paribus keeps 25 percent as a commission and 75 percent is returned to your payment card through the retailer.

How does it work? You grant Paribus access to your e-mail, and it scans for any receipts that arrive in your inbox. It will note the items you bought and the amount paid for each item, and then scan the store for price changes in those items.

The app can also detect coupons and coupon codes that should have been applied to your purchase and ask for the coupon amount to be redeemed retroactively.

Among the many retailers included are Amazon, Best Buy, Wal-Mart, Target, Zappo's, J. Crew, Athleta, Staples, and Kohl's. A full listing is available on the Paribus website.

The potential downside is in the amount of information you must supply to Paribus. In order for this approach to work, Paribus not only needs access to your e-mail account to search for purchases and price changes, it also needs an available credit card number to charge you for any refunds that it finds.

Tracking of Amazon prices requires supplying Paribas with your Amazon login, and other stores may require sharing access codes to allow Paribus access to your account.

Security is an obvious concern, but Paribus claims strict security through bank-grade encryption. Granted, your information could be vulnerable to a hack at Paribus, but that is true with many retailers as well. Protect yourself using the obvious security measures, such as not using the same, simple password for all of your online security requests.

For those worried about having their purchase history logged, Paribus does not offer gathered information to third parties. They make their money off the per-sale commissions. You have the option to remove individual purchases from the tracking under the "My Purchases" tab.

Note that Paribus requires an e-mailed receipt for your online purchases, so make sure that you receive an e-mail receipt for any relevant purchases, and that the address that receives e-mailed receipts is the same one used by Paribus.

Paribus supports most web-based e-mail services, but if yours is not included, you can simply set up a separate Gmail account for your Paribus account.

If you like, you can even open multiple Paribus accounts and assign one to each e-mail address that you have. However, it does not go in both directions — you cannot split your Paribus account between multiple e-mail addresses.

As more stores go to dynamic pricing schemes that change prices constantly based on demand algorithms and other analytical methods, the Paribus app should become even more useful.

Why not take advantage of all the potential refunds available to you, especially when the amount of effort required on your part is about the same as picking up dollar bills off the sidewalk?

This article was provided by our partners at moneytips.com.

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