On the Incidence and Variety of Low-Price Guarantees
This paper provides evidence of the incidence and variety of low-price guarantees (promises to match or beat a rival's price) using data obtained from newspaper advertisements in 37 metropolitan areas in the United States. We have a total of 515 low-price guarantees in our sample. We document their features, and we infer firms' motives and effects from these features. The evidence suggests that the majority of low-price guarantees are not consistent with their use as a facilitating device because they tend to apply only to rival firms' advertised prices or they are associated with high hassle costs. The evidence also suggests that price-beating and price-matching guarantees differ significantly in their features. The former are associated with higher hassle costs, apply disproportionately to rival firms' advertised prices, and are more likely to allow postsale search than are price-matching guarantees.
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