Bountii blog

Scroogled Ad from Bing

Posted December 10th, 2012 by Samir

Here’s an interesting attack ad on Google Shopping produced by Bing (UPDATE: make sure to include the last ‘d’ if you’re typing in the address!):

http://www.scroogled.com

We found ourselves waiting for the “I’m XXX and I approved this message” clip at the end. We agree Google Shopping is corrupt, but Bing Shopping has its own problems. Compare our results:

http://www.bing.com/shopping/search?q=sc+htb350&qpvt=sc+htb350&FORM=HDRSC6#x0y93

http://bountii.com/product-16834-panasonic-sc-htb350-2-1.html

Bing has more listings but we would never buy anything from most of the stores listed. Many of the prices are also wrong or better prices are available through other links. Look at Adorama, OfficeDepot, Amazon, Buydig, or B&H for starters. Bing has a lot of work to do to before they catch up with Bountii!

Convert Restricted Coupons to Unrestricted Coupons

Posted December 5th, 2012 by Mark

A user who wishes to remain anonymous sends us this tip:

“OfficeDepot frequently puts out coupons that don’t apply to technology products. They have a $15 off $150 coupon out right now that excludes technology products. I was buying a printer a few days back and OfficeDepot had a great deal on it. The coupon didn’t work, so I bought some office supplies worth more than $150. I went back and returned the supplies the next day and asked for store credit because I had lost my receipt. They gave me store credit for the full cost of the office supplies, including the $15 coupon. I then bought the printer with the store credit. The end result is that I converted a coupon that excludes technology into an unrestricted coupon! You could probably do this at any store that gives store credit for returns without a receipt. The store did ask me for identification so I don’t plan to do this very often.”

Tried this tip? Let us know how it goes.

New Public API Released

Posted November 16th, 2012 by Samir

Pretty much since the day we first launched Bountii, we’ve seen users manually copying our pricing data to their own sites. We’ve caught a surprisingly large number of the top deals sites doing it, as well as several smaller sites. There’s really no way for us to stop anyone from doing this, so we’re trying the opposite approach - make it easier and cheaper for anyone to query our data. A couple of days ago, we released a new version of our API that is open for anyone to use. If you’re a site owner and want to include our pricing results, the API is completely free. You’ll have to pay some minimal charges if you want to use the API for your own internal processing or data analysis. To get started, go to https://bountii.com/apisignup.php. You’ll need a free Bountii account to register and get your API credentials. We look forward to seeing the creative ways you use our data!

Amazon’s Enhanced TV Delivery Voids Return Policy?

Posted August 13th, 2012 by Mark

When you buy a TV from Amazon, you get free “enhanced delivery” and a 30 day return policy. Here is Amazon’s description of enhanced delivery:

We offer FREE Enhanced Delivery through one of our specialty shippers when you purchase most HDTVs 48 inches or larger from Amazon.com. A representative of a common carrier will deliver your TV to any room suitable for testing, unpack it, ensure that it is working properly to guarantee no damage occurred during transportation, and dispose of all packaging material.

That sounds great, but note the part in bold. Here is the first paragraph of their TV return policy:

Your TV is not eligible for return and refund after the 30-day return period has expired. The TV must be in new condition, with the original packaging and accessories.

Fantastic. The two are mutually exclusive! I’m sure you can get the delivery people to leave the packaging behind, but it’s funny that they will void the return policy by default.

Amazon’s TV Price Match Policy

Posted August 13th, 2012 by Mark

We recently decided to test out Amazon’s TV price matching policy. The results were a little disappointing. We started by placing an order for the Panasonic TC-P50ST50 at Amazon for $1099. US Appliance was selling it for $997 and Paul’s TV for $999. We though it would be pretty easy to get back about $100.

According to Amazon’s TV Low Price Guarantee page, after the item shipped, we’d be able to submit the price match request by clicking a button on our order summary page. Of course, that button is nowhere to be found. We waited a day or so hoping for it to appear, but it did not. We then contacted customer support through their online chat. The price matching department isn’t available 24/7, so they made a request to the appropriate department for us, and gave us a telephone number for following up if needed.

The next day, we received an email from Amazon saying our price match request had been declined. The reason given was that Paul’s TV did not offer white glove delivery. The US Appliance price is hard to find as the discount only appears after entering a credit card number, so it was not too surprising that they declined to match that price. Paul’s TV actually does offer free white glove delivery on this product, so we decided to give Amazon a call.

We first mentioned the US Appliance price and explained how to see the final price. The customer service agent followed the directions and verified the price. However, US Appliance didn’t include white glove delivery, so that price couldn’t be matched. We then sent the customer service agent to Paul’s TV. The product page says free white glove delivery on it, but when you go to the cart, there is an extra charge. I’m pretty sure Paul’s TV just gives you the white glove delivery automatically when you select standard shipping, but from Amazon’s perspective there is no way to verify that. We expected to run into problems getting this price match. We lucked out a little bit, because the Paul’s TV website went down while the customer service agent was verifying the price. The agent decided he believed our price report and gave us our refund. It’s hard to guess what would have happened if the site hadn’t gone down.

Given our experience, we advise Bountii users to not give much weight to the Amazon price match policy when deciding whether or not to buy from them. The process is not very smooth and you likely have not read the terms of the guarantee carefully enough. For your own peace of mind, you should expect for your price match to not be honored and be happy if/when it is.

Not a Dent To Be Found in My Logitech “Dented Box” Purchase

Posted February 28th, 2012 by Mark

Logitech.com was running a special on a “dented box” version of the mk550 Wireless Wave Combo a few days ago. At $39.99 shipped, it seemed like a pretty good deal. The next best price was around $55, including shipping. I was skeptical of the dented box part, but the description of the product condition convinced me to make the purchase:

Dented Box items from Logitech are products whose outer box has been torn, scratched, dented, or has other markings on it. The product itself is guaranteed to be in brand new condition and fully warranted. Sales are limited to quantities on hand. Limit 1 per customer.

I couldn’t figure out any reason to care about the condition of the box. I was likely going to throw it out anyway, so I decided go ahead and order.

The package arrived a couple days later (earlier than estimated). I fully expected to open the box and be horrified with the condition. I was pleasantly surprised when I opened the box, as it looked totally new. Certainly, the condition was as good as any box I’ve gotten from a local store. When I looked very closely, I did manage to see one small imperfection. It’s more noticeable in the below photo than it is in person.

If Logitech hadn’t advertised this item as dented box, I wouldn’t even have thought to complain about it. Either they have very high standards for the packaging of their products or this is just a way for them to sell items at a lower price without lowering the retail price. As long as I get a cheaper price, I don’t really care!

Is this TV Big Enough for My Living Room?

Posted February 12th, 2012 by John

The New York Times wrote an article, ”Is This Living Room Big Enough for My TV?“, that’s gotten a lot of attention over the weekend. Rightly so as a BestBuy salesman told me not too long ago that the biggest regret people have with their purchase of a new TV is that they hadn’t gone bigger. However, we have a couple problems with what The Times wrote.

image via nytimes.com

First, the title is backwards. Unless your living room is smaller than 10′x10′, then any TV is going to fit in it. If we’re talking about a pool table or sofa, then it’d be smart to ask: “Is This Living Room Big Enough for ____?”

Next, let’s talk about the “rule of thumb” for picking a TV size they came up with out of thin air: “take the diagonal measurement of the display and multiply it by 1.5. That number will tell you how many inches you should be sitting from the screen.” Additionally, they say some “groups” advocate a 1.2 multiple is fine and others recommend a factor 2.5. So, with the New York Times’s direction, a 40-inch TV would work if the viewing distance was 4-feet or 5-feet, or even, 8-feet! And there’s one possible answer their question, “Is this living room big enough for my TV?”, a 40-inch will fit in most any living room… Duh!

Now, whether that 40-inch TV would be big enough is a whole other question. A year ago, we spelled out things clearly by passing along THX’s screen size recommendations. Trust us, THX knows what they’re talking about.

Win an iPod in Our February Fan Giveaway

Posted February 1st, 2012 by John

Our first ever giveaway! Now through the end of February, we invite you to become a fan of Bountii on Facebook and enter our giveaway for a chance to win an 8GB iPod Touch (4th Generation).

Win an iPod Touch in Our February Fan Giveaway

Another $3 from Kindle Offers

Posted January 4th, 2012 by John

Note: This is the second installment in a series of posts about saving money with one of my recent purchases– a Kindle Touch with Offers.

I haven’t been to a movie theater in years. Don’t get me wrong, I like movies as much as the average person.  It’s just that I spend all my movie watching time at home on my couch. While my movie library at home excludes all the flicks in the theaters, it’s not too shabby thanks to Amazon’s Instant Video service.

amazon instant video

With Amazon Instant Video, one can buy or rent any number of movies and TV shows. Often you’ll find they have specials on popular movie titles ($0.99 or $1.99 to rent) or TV series ($15.99 to own an entire season of NBC’s “The West Wing”). I use it all the time.

Given how much I like this service, you can imagine how happy I was to see an offer from it show up on my Kindle last week. What was the offer? “Get $3 off Amazon Instant Videos”. All I had to do was enter a coupon code on Amazon site and I could use $3 just like a gift card on the Amazon Instant Video site. That’s $3 that I would have spent on the service regardless of getting the special offer.

So, with my $3 off coupon, I can now say that I basically paid $92 ($99 - $5 - $3) for my Kindle!

Millions Getting Ripped Off at Verizon Wireless Stores?!

Posted December 16th, 2011 by John

After flying from Boston to San Francisco a while back, I was standing in the back of the aircraft waiting for everyone in front of me to deplane and overheard two women comparing their phones. One showed off a new Android phone while the other flashed an old, non-smartphone saying something on the order of “Look at this old thing I use…” The Android phone owner responded, “Did you know you can save a lot of money by going to Best Buy instead of the Verizon store when you go buy a new phone?”

verizon wireless store

As a frugal shopper, I was thrilled to hear someone share such a great money savings tip! Even I had not learned of this cell phone shopping tip up until a recent dinner with friends. Surely many folks are like my former self and assume they are getting good deals at Verizon stores because you were paying them for the service so they shouldn’t be charging too much for the phone itself. Heck, they always have tons of phones available for free or buy-one-get-two-free, so you’d think they were a surefire bet for getting a good deal on every phone purchase you make (Keep reading, they’re not!). Plus, buying a cell phone from a third party like some “Verizon Authorized Dealer” in a strip mall always seemed like a way to get wrapped up in a poor buying experience. These days, it turns out many stores you can trust, both online and off, sell cell phones. Best Buy, Amazon Wireless, Target and Costco are just a few of the places often offering great phone deals for new and existing customers on the major carriers (Verizon, Spring, AT&T, etc).

I was reminded of this airplane chat between two Verizon users earlier today when I was looking at recent cell phone deals discovered by Bountii shoppers. And there it was, a deal on the Samsung Galaxy Nexus: $149 at Amazon compared to $299 at Verizon Wireless stores (prices as of 12/16/2011 at noon ET). This cutting edge phone was just released today! If you aren’t familiar with it, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus is the latest in the line of “Google Phones” whose releases are always much-anticipated. You can read more about it on here on Google.

samsung nexus s

Right now, it doesn’t take much work to find other cases where you save hundreds of dollars by not walking into a Verizon store to upgrade your old Verizon phone or to become a new Verizon customer. You can save $200 by buying the Motorola Droid 3 elsewhere… save $100 by buying the Samsung Stratosphere elsewhere… save $150 by buying the HTC Thunderbolt elsewhere… I could go on and on with this list. And, trust me, it’s not just Verizon Stores where you could easily wind up overpaying. This same money saving rule applies for the other carriers (AT&T, Sprint and so on).

Its 100+ million subscribers make Verizon the largest wireless service provider in the country. Think about how many of those subscribers weren’t fortunate enough to sit next to a savvy shopper on a plane at some point and are spending hundreds of dollars more than they could have otherwise kept in their pocket.

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