When Walmart introduced its Savings Catcher feature a few years ago, people were very excited. This new way of price-matching took all of the planning and guesswork out of shopping. Walmart guaranteed its prices by giving you back the difference on like items you buy from competing stores. But recently, people have been reporting issues with their accounts, and say that they are not getting credit for items that should have been ad-matched. Here are the major reasons for Walmart Savings Catcher not working.
The History of Savings Catcher
In the past, Walmart has been especially generous with the items that it would price match. Generic items, including store brand milk and bread, could be matched at the store’s discretion (even without a formal policy allowing it.) If you saw a competing store’s generic bread for 99 cents, for example, you could ask and receive the same price on Walmart’s own Great Value brand bread, provided your store allowed it. There was also leniency on items such as bulk-priced meats and produce, which often didn’t match up exactly with the sales items in competitor’s ads.
As time went on, however, price matching changed. Walmart’s introduction of the Savings Catcher app promised to take the work out of price matching, but it also excluded many of the “grey area” items shoppers had grown accustomed to price matching. The app was never able to match store brand items, and some purchases (such as birthday cake or bananas) were difficult to track or get credits for via the app.
What Savings Catcher Will Match
Currently, Savings Catcher only price matches the following items:
- Grocery pantry staples. These include cereal, chips, rice, yogurt, milk, and frozen foods (must be identical and match UPC to UPC)
- Consumable items such as paper towels, bleach, and trash bags
- Health and beauty items such as shampoo and makeup
What Savings Catcher Will Not Match
Many of the items customers can price match at the register aren’t covered in the app. Common items that you would be able to price match manually that Savings Catcher will not match include:
- All produce (including bananas, bagged lettuce, or fresh herbs
- Items from the bakery department (custom cakes, french bread, or pre-made rolls)
- Fresh meat or meat sold in various weights (not prepackaged at a specific weight)
- General merchandise items. These include outdoor living consumables, office supplies, apparel, DVD’s, electronics, CD and gaming media. They also include toys, housewares, small appliances, sporting goods, home décor, bedding, books and magazines. Finally, they also include shoes, jewelry, furniture and seasonal products.
- All deli department items
- Items with no brand
- Tobacco, alcohol, firearms, gasoline, tires, prescription drugs, optical and photo products and services, or products that require a service agreement such as wireless, automotive or financial products.
As you can see, this are a wide-range of common items that would make up the bulk of a typical shopper’s list. Savings Catcher not working could be a simple matter of the limited number of items is works for. It may be best to manually price match these.
Walmart Removes In-Store Ad Matching
As of June of 2016, Walmart has stopped in-store ad matching at 500 of its stores. The change was justified by Walmart as a natural move. This is because everyone in those stores still have access to Savings Catcher. The stores were not publicly revealed. Customers would know if their store is affected by the announcement at the registers displayed on blue signs. If the store has announced that price matching has been discontinued, you will not be able to ask for manual discounts, and will instead need to solely rely on Savings Catcher.
How to Troubleshoot Savings Catcher Not Working
You may find that you are not getting the savings you think you should have gotten. In this case, double check the list of approved items to make sure your purchase qualifies. Chances are good that the recent changes to Walmart’s Savings Catcher app have made it so you do not get money back on your selected item.
Mistakes do happen, however. An independent third party company handles the programming of the app from week to week, including which stores they match. While Walmart has tried to include many of the stores it considers “competitors”, the number of stores have decreased over the years. A small town that originally had 12 or more competitors (including pet supply stores and pharmacies), now may see just one. Regionally-owned store chains or mom and pop shops may not be listed at all, even if they are the only actual competitor to a Walmart.
What can you do if you find Savings Catcher not working? You can use the feedback form on the site to give your complaint. Walmart cannot retroactively apply credits to gift cards that have been cashed out. They may, however, be able to review stores that aren’t listed that should be. They may also be able to give credit for a missed item that should have qualified for savings under their new rules.