Supermarket price wars have taken a new twist thanks to a hi-tech price comparison guarantee from Asda. It aims to ensure that Asda is always the cheapest of its three main competitors, so it will save you money every shop.
Here's how it works:
Buy at least eight items at Asda and hold onto the receipt. After 9am the next day, log on to www.asda.com/priceguarantee and enter the codes on the receipt. Your purchases are then compared with Sainsbury's, Tesco and Morrisons. If any of these rivals would have charged less for your basket of goods, the system will let you print off a voucher for the difference - plus one penny more - to spend in store. You have 28 days to check the price of your basket.
It's a unique and simple approach, but only time will tell how much money you can save on a regular basis. If you're a frequent Asda shopper, let us know; it would be interesting to share.
One thing's for sure, the system isn't quite as foolproof as Asda would like it to be. The products it compares might be identical (own labels generally aren't included), but it can't take into account missed opportunities like 'buy one get one free' promotions available at other supermarkets, or points scored for loyalty schemes which can generate further discounts.
To be honest, I'm not a huge fan of price promises in general. Particularly when some retailers, unlike Asda, seem to make you jump through hoops in order to make a claim. And some price promises only apply if you spot the cheaper option before you buy; in which instance it begs the question why not just buy it from the cheaper retailer anyway?
But there are times when a price promise comes in handy. Like when you've just bought a new Digital SLR camera and then spot it £100 cheaper elsewhere; it's good to recoup the difference and not feel like an idiot. So here are examples of the price promises from some leading retailers. A few even give you an added bonus for being so astute...
Comet: price match if you find it for less within 14 days (in a 10 mile radius or online if the supplier also has stores).
Curry's online: price match plus 10 per cent of the difference if you find it cheaper online at Argos, Comet, Tesco or John Lewis, but only prior to making the purchase.
Curry's in store: a price match, plus 10 per cent for up to 7 days from purchase if you find it at a retail store within a 30 mile radius.
Dixons: a price match before you buy if you find it cheaper at any one of 14 listed retailers, including ebuyer, Sainsbury's and Amazon.
ebookers: price match if you find exactly the same flight being offered by a bonded travel agent online and claim within 48 hours (at least 72 hours prior to departure)
John Lewis (not online): the famous 'never knowingly undersold' price match for up to 28 days from purchase.
KwikFit: price match plus 10 per cent of the difference if you find an equivalent tyre or exhaust at a lower retail customer price for same day collection or fitting elsewhere.
lastminute.com: price match if you find the same product or service cheaper on any other UK website within 24 hours of your purchase.
PC World: price match, plus 10 per cent of the difference, for up to 7 days from purchase.
Travelex (online only): price match if you find a better price from another foreign currency retailer (whether or not online).