Is Paribus worth trying? Our review tells you how it works, whether it's worth trying, and what we really think about it.
Did you know that some credit cards will refund you the difference between the price you initially paid for an item and the price it drops to later? It’s not a very common benefit, but it’s a great one if you have it. The sad part is that only two or three cards offer it at this time, and not everyone has one of those cards, or a credit card at all. It would sure be nice if that same option was available without having to go through a credit card, wouldn’t it? Well, guess what? Recently I found out that there is indeed such a company, one that also gets you a refund if the price drops and it’s called, Paribus.
Two Big Questions Stand Out About Paribus
Exactly how does Paribus work and what’s the catch? My first two questions of course, and probably yours, so I decided to go sign up and find out for both of us. Here’s the scoop: Like the credit card benefit, you get a refund if the price lowers. Unlike the credit card option though, you do not have to jump through hoops to get that money back because this company does all the work for you.
To get started you simply go sign up on their website using the email that you use when shopping online. They will then scan your emails for your receipts and monitor the price fluctuation. If a lower price is found, and you qualify (more on that later), they will email the company on your behalf and get your refund for you. If you’re concerned about your privacy, the company suggests that although they only scan and retrieve receipts from the merchants they work with, if it makes you feel more comfortable you can create a new email and use that from now on with your online shopping accounts so that only your receipts are going to that address. They have multiple security measures they go into more detail on on their FAQ page should you have more questions on that end.
Now that we have answered the basic part of how it works, we’ll move onto the bigger question of: What’s the catch, how do they benefit from this benefit? The catch is of course, money. They’re not a charity or non-profit, they’re in it as a business to make money and how they get that money is by taking a percentage of your refund IF they find one that is. If they don’t find a drop in price, you’re out nothing.
The percentage that Paribus gets starts at 25% but there are ways to lower that. Is this percentage a bit high? I don’t feel that it is, especially since they are the ones that developed the program to scan and watch for a price fluctuation on every item you purchased, which is no easy task since prices change some 2 ½ million times a day with some merchants (such as Amazon).
Could you do it on your own? Sure, but the likelihood of your catching that price change at just the right time and then following through on your request in the format the merchant requires and time period allowed, is not very likely. Therefore, I consider any money I get back as extra money I wouldn’t have otherwise had. Whether it be the full 25%, 15% or 5% that I have to part with, I am satisfied with giving them their take.
Now, just so you know, not all stores are covered. However, most major ones are and include stores like Amazon, Best Buy, Target, Macy’s, and Walmart. You can find the rest of the merchants that they work with on their website.
How Well Does it Work?
To find out the answer to this, I signed up for Paribus a week ago. It scanned all my purchases and found 31 to monitor. The results? So far I have had $5.19 refunded on three purchase from Amazon. Huge amount of money? Maybe not huge, but it’s money I didn’t expect to see again so I am quite happy with it. This amount is also after they took their percentage of 10% out. Now, how did I get it to 10% when it started at 25%?
This is where referrals come in. I signed up three other accounts and since each new referral takes away 5% from Paribus’ end take, I ended up with only having to part with 10%. If I sign up two more people I can get it to 100% for me and 0% for them. The easy part to the referral process was that online I shop with different email accounts. I have one for business, my husband has one, and my daughter has one. Using just those three I was able to sign up new accounts on Paribus and get the referral credit. Unfortunately though there is a catch to the referral part which I will go over soon.
How to Get Started
To start your account they scan your emails for sales within the time period that the merchant will accept (usually 7-15 days) and it then monitors that account until you tell it not to. For most merchants you won’t have to do anything, the only exception at this time is Amazon. For them you’ll have to sign up within Paribus to get started.
Once scanned you’ll see all the items that you bought at the online stores. It will show you the price going up and down and when it’s something that is eligible for a refund. For example, there were some items I purchased that I noticed had dropped in price but I did not get a refund on them. When I clicked on the explanation I found that if the sale was not made by directly by the merchant, you won’t get your refund. Sites like Amazon, Best Buy and Walmart allow third party sellers, and for those you’ll have to contact your credit card (if you have one with that benefit) for the price difference.
This is a bit of a hassle to do with a credit card (I use Discover card) and so I usually reserve using that benefit for big purchase items that go on sale and usually have a large enough discount that the hassle part is worth it. Paribus states that they are working on this issue and will hopefully in the future also be able to work with Discover card and other cards that offer such refunds so that we can get every price change coming to us that’s out there.
It’s worth mentioning too that Paribus also watches for any coupons that come out and can still be applied. If a coupon is found it’s applied to the purchase and refund submitted.
The Not So Good But Not Quite Ugly Part of Paribus
Like all of our reviews, this is an honest review. It’s not paid for, it’s not sponsored and like the others, it gets thoroughly scrutinized for the good, the bad and the ugly, so here goes any possible negatives we felt you should know about.
*By the way, these are not necessarily “bad” or wrong doing’s done by the company, we are simply letting you know all the facts so that you can decide if the good parts outweigh any of the negative parts or if they’re really even negative at all. Here’s what stood out for us:
Short time period for refunds. Your refund time depends on the merchant and ranges from 7-15 days. With credit cards the time is usually 90 days, so if you feel you still want to go forward and track a refund you’re entitled to, go through your card. This is set by the merchant, not by Paribus. However, there does seem to be more time allowed to credit card companies to negotiate a refund by the merchants. Perhaps merchants will one day allow that same time period with Paribus and consumers as well, only time will tell.
Third party sellers, ugh. Not every item you purchase is covered at stores like Amazon and Walmart which allow third party sellers. If the item is sold directly by the merchant, you are eligible, but if it’s a third party seller you’ll have to again go through your credit card or let it go. Third party sellers have other issues too, such as any type of refund or return may not be covered in the same way as it would be if sold directly through the merchant, so always be careful and mindful when making such a purchase from one of them.
Multiple accounts require separate accounts. Say what? Okay, so if you have multiple accounts (different emails) on Amazon or Walmart or another merchant, such as one for business, one for personal, or one for hubby (as I mentioned I have earlier) etc, then you’ll need to set up a separate Paribus account for each one. This may feel like a little extra work, but when you first sign up this isn’t such a bad thing since each will count as one of your referrals and increase your refund amount; at least for the first few months that is (explained next).
Referrals expire. Yep, that’s right. I noticed today that my referrals will expire June 30th, 2016. On their FAQ page it states that referrals are good through Jan-June. After that your percentage of what you get vs what Paribus gets will go back to the original amount they are charging or you will have to find new referrals to try to adjust it back. You can get up to five people to sign up, which would mean you will get 100% of your refund.
Bigger price drop doesn’t mean bigger refund later. If you already got a refund and the price drops yet again within the time period allotted, you only get one bite of the apple and so that first refund you got, for better or worse, is the one you get.
Online shopping only. If you buy something in a brick and mortar store you’ll have to go to the store to handle any refund if you see a sale price. Paribus handles online store shopping only.
Bottom Line, Is Paribus Worth Trying?
Considering everything, all the facts, all the good and the not so good, I have concluded (for myself) that it’s definitely worth signing up for. Are there negatives? Sure, but even with those factored in it’s still a good thing that I will benefit for more from having than I would from not having.
Sometimes I notice a price change and I contact a company for that difference to be refunded, but it’s only a few times a year at most and it’s always a bit of a headache, so having this company handle it for me and finding money I pretty much gave up as “spent” is definitely worth signing up for.
Even when my referrals run out and I have to find new ones, I probably will just let them grab their full percentage because I hate bugging people with things like this. Is that something they’re counting on and hoping for so they make more? Probably, but do I care? Not really. They came up with a great idea, developed it and deserve to get paid for it.
Since there’s really not a downside, I say go for it. I think that like me, you’ll find that playing finders keepers with your own money has never been so fun, and actually, effortless too. And hey, if you do go for it, let me know your thoughts about it, especially how much you saved! You can find more info at Paribus.co (and no, I didn’t leave the m off, it’s .co not .com). Enjoy!
Automatically finds when a price changes and gets the refund for you
Easy to setup
You have to find new people to share it with every so often so that your portion of the refund is closer to 100%
Some sellers on Amazon do not accept this program / company to work on your behalf