Amazon stopped the Amazon Price Protection 05/2016, but Slice Drops attempts to reinstate this feature.
Have you ever thought about how lucrative the holiday shopping season is for merchants? It is estimated that during the holiday season alone, Americans spend more on holiday shopping than the GDP of hundreds of other countries. Forbes estimates that Millenials are the highest spending group and estimated a spending of about $1427 in 2016, up from $1072 in 2015, per person. This season it was expected that parents wound spend roughly $495 per child on Christmas gifts. It appears that Walmart and Amazon have captured a large portion of this spending and online shopping continues to gain in popularity and prominence.
Even if you have never shopped at a Walmart, you likely are aware of the “roll back prices” from television adds. We do most of our shopping at the local Super Walmart, as it is convenient to shop for groceries and household goods at the same location. An App was developed called Walmart Deal Catcher, which served to attempt to save you money back When shopping at Walmart. All you had to do was to scan your receipt and the app would try to compare the price you paid to online retailers. Unfortunately, this relied on me scanning the receipt. I may have had savings, but by the time I got home and put the groceries away, the receipt was nowhere to be found. I tried scanning it in store, but with 3 children (7 and 5-year-old boys and 19-month-old girl) it seemed that to win the game, I needed to get home as fast as possible. This app proved to be minimally useful to my family and me, netting a whopping $0.
I am not alone in the increased trend of online shopping. Amazon has been my go to store for the past 2 years, Amazon Prime is simply amazing. It is frustrating to pay full price for an item to only find that same item cheaper, on the same retailer website, a few days later. Historically Amazon would allow a price refund, if you found the price cheaper on their site, within a 7 day period. However, they ended this opportunity in May of 2016. Amazon was not happy with applications that automatically searched, monitored Amazon prices, and would automatically ask for refunds. This was cutting into their bottom line and it was not appreciated. Thus, they ended this opportunity for the consumer. Additionally, these apps relied on linking your amazon account and “sharing” credentials. Amazon adamantly states to not share the credentials with anyone, for any reason.
Enter the Slice Drop App. After having tried Paribus, and Walmart Deal catcher, I was a bit leery of the applications ability to provide me with savings. The app is easily found/searched on the IOS app store. Once downloaded, you will have to swipe through 5 opening/informational screens. The app works by scanning your email inbox and finding e-receipts. No personal information is shared, no emails are moved. If the price drops, the app will notify you by email or notification (if turned on). They will help you request a refund and get back some of the “sweet sweet money.” It is advertised that they do not take any cut of this money, “it is your money, keep it.” Once into the system, it will ask you to allow updates/notifications and then ask for you to enter your email and to link an amazon account (similar to using PayPal to buy items).
The app is designed to reinstate the Amazon price protection up to $20 per month through the end of 2016. The app is completely free and promises to be simple and secure to use. You can claim the price reductions directly from the application for Amazon, Avon, Banana Republic, Bath & Body Works, Best Buy, Target, Walmart and many more sites. At first, I was worried about sharing my Amazon credentials with the application. I turned to the applications help section to learn more about it. Under settings and then Help, you will notice General, How To’s, Security & Privacy, Amazon price protection program and Help. I first turned to Security and Privacy as this was the most important question that I had. It claims to never collect information from emails, nor does it alter or delete them. Friends/family/merchants will not be able to know what you purchase. The app allows you to share information on social media, but you control what you share. The next question that I selected from the list was “Will you access my credit card information?” The response was a glaring “No.” The response states that the app deliberately bypasses this information. You never input this information and merchant receipts never have the complete card number.
The last and most important question I had was what happens with my password? Interestingly, there was a question asking “Does Slice Drops store my password to my email account?” The answer states that they use a protocol called OAuth (oath.net) to allow authorization for Yahoo, mail, Gmail, Outlook accounts. This allows the authentication to happen between you and Gmail and Slice Drops does not receive your password. This is similar to how Facebook, Twitter, Netflix, Yahoo, Google and Microsoft utilize your email information. AOL, iCloud/MobileMe, Comcast and Cox do not allow OAuth. In these instances, the password is stored by the company in a separate secure database. The next, and possible most important, the question is how do I cash out the savings? At the end of each month, Slice will issue a Tango card to your registered email address for the value of the recognized Amazon price drop in the account, up to $10/month. If you have not had any savings, there will be no card generated.
This app is essentially acting like Amazon Price Protection and will award you the savings difference if the price drops within 7 days of purchase. Since Amazon is a supported merchant of the Slice Drops App, any items bought and shipped from Amazon will be awarded if the prices drop accordingly. If you find a cheaper price, you can alert them through a button on the item page and they will request the difference. Early in 2017, the app will release an update allowing you to tap on settings, Amazon Logo, and you will be able to view the total amount of Amazon savings. So far, while using the app, I have saved $9.53. I have not yet had this through an entire month, and thus I have not yet received any type of reward credits. I will know more in the next 30 days when I am able to generate my first round of savings. As a member of amazon prime, I am always buying online. I look forward to enjoying some cost savings.
One last feature that I enjoyed was the deals tab. Along the bottom of the app, you will see tabs for Price Drops, tracking, deals, and Settings. Similar to Amazon lightning deals or daily deals, the application will show you some of the trending deals it has found. This will allow you to take advantage of the savings found for others. I am really pleased with the app so far. The only downside/negative is that I did not download it during the Black Friday/Cyber Monday deals as most of those dropped within a week and are now expired. If you do a lot of shopping online, this application may actually provide some savings to you. I did some research on OAuth and it seems that the risk to identity breach should be low. Honestly, I am not sure how this application generates money as they do not get any of the savings dollars like Paribus does. It appears that they sell social media information and cookie/tracking data. If you do not want any of your internet data sold, you should avoid this app. I will see if there is any true money that comes my way at the end of the month. I will update the review at that time. For now, the App is easy to use, does what it says it will do, tracks sales and attempts to find you cost savings. I would rate the app, at present at 4/5 stars;
DOWNLOAD – Slice Drops – iOS – FREE