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SPEAK OUT: Your Browser May Also Affect Your Online Shopping Price

Media reports say that some merchants charge according to which browser you use. What tools can help you?

Most everyone is into e-commerce in the 21st century, especially when shopping for family, Black Friday and travel deals.

However, did you know that the browser you use may affect what you are paying for goods and services?

According to the New York Times, the website Digital Folio did side-by-side comparisons of televisions. On Newegg using the Chrome browser, the firm was offered a $997 price on a Samsung television. Using Firefox and Internet Explorer, the price was $1,399.

The site found a difference on another Samsung television model at Walmart.com. Using Firefox yielded a $199 price and Chrome and Internet Explorer $168.

-- Are you surprised that some merchants charge according to browser usage? What online shopping tools do you use? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

And Atlanta-based consumer advocate Clark Howard reports:

According to The Wall Street Journal, Orbitz has been experimenting with a 30% premium on Mac users when they search for select hotel rooms versus PC users. That effectively works out to be around $20 to $30 more than a PC user.

When asked for explanation, Orbitz basically stated that Mac users make more money and are interested in fancier hotels.

The Times reported that the research company Dynamite Data tracked hundreds of holiday products at major retailers in 2011 and 2012. During a two-week period around Thanksgiving, Amazon and Sears were changing prices on about 25 percent of those products daily.

However, there are also online tools to help you find the best deal, according to the Times article. They include:

  • Hukkster. It asks shoppers to install a “hukk it” button on their browsers. Then, when a shopper sees an item, he/she clicks the button, chooses the color, size and discount of interest, tells Hukkster to alert the shopper when the price drops, and waits for an e-mail to that effect.
  • Digital Folio charts the 30-day price history on electronics items at several retailers.
  • Decide.com says that if a member follows Decide’s purchase recommendations, Decide will refund the difference if it finds a lower price within two weeks of the purchase. Membership is $4.99 per month.
  • Citibank recently added a feature to its consumer credit cards that gives customers a refund when it finds a lower price on an item within 30 days of purchase.

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