Some of your favorite retailers may offer to meet or beat a lower advertised price. Sweet, huh? You're wired to think so: A 2005 study in the Journal of Consumer Psychology shows that people generally perceive stores with price guarantees as being less expensive.
"But sometimes these stores actually have higher prices," reports the University of Colorado's Donald Lichtenstein. (Example: We found a Palm T/X Handheld for $300 at Staples, which has a "110 percent price-match guarantee," and for $267 at Amazon.com.) The business model works because the store can satisfy the few who bother to shop around. Everyone else pays more than MAP.
Before you buy, log on to a comparison-shopping engine such as Shopzilla, BizRate or Froogle. A 2002 study by the Consumer Literacy Consortium found that 16 minutes of comparing prices for a TV saved buyers $100 on average.