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When is the price not really the price?

  • Online sellers may change prices multiple times a day
  • HLN Money Expert Clark Howard tells you how to fight back!
When is the price not really the price?

The holiday shopping season, Cyber Monday in particular, has brought into focus something that's true all year long -- we love to shop online.

And what's not to love? The convenience of not having to leave your house, no sales tax (although that's slowly coming to an end) and, quite possibly, better prices than you'd get at a brick-and-mortar store.

But is the price you see online the best you can do? Wait an hour, and it might not be.

More and more online sellers are employing a tactic called dynamic pricing, which uses a number of factors to set the price of an item. Airlines have been doing this for a long time, and more recently the practice has made its way to tickets for sporting events.

For online shoppers, this means the price of an item could change several times in a day. The New York Times recently reported one example, in which the price of a video game on Amazon changed seven times in seven days, from a high of $50 to a low of $15. Depending on when people shopped and how often they checked the price, some got lucky and others were left holding the bag.

So are you at the mercy of the online marketplace? No! HLN Money Expert Clark Howard has several strategies you can employ to increase your chances of getting the best price. Check them out here.



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