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Finding the best deal online can be a very time-consuming endeavour, and unfortunately, it's not one that can always wind up truly working in your favor. Many studies have been conducted in the past that have shown some major variances in online prices, based on a number of different factors. Even if you think you've found the best deal on something, a person standing right next to you could very well find one better.

To see the effects of these practices today, researchers at Northeastern University enlisted the help of 300 people who noted their experiences on different sites. As you might expect, some very interesting findings came out of this. Would you believe, for example, that not being signed into Orbitz or CheapTickets will result in a fee that's $12 more expensive? Or how about Travelocity charging iOS users $15 less? Here's a really odd one: and Expedia show prices 10% higher to people completely at random.

This practice might strike some as being illegal, especially since it's discriminatory, but it's kosher as far as the law is concerned. If this was considered illegal, then so too might coupons be, or buyer rewards and things like it. A common practice nowadays is to have flash sales, where a special price becomes available for just a short time - as long as a typical shopping visit.

That's all fine and good, but what's frustrating is being a consumer who's actually not getting the best deal. If there's an upside, you might not even realize you're not getting the best deal, but when you know that Travelocity gives iOS users a $15 discount, it wouldn't feel great when hitting that booking button on your Android device.

Sadly, as informative as this study is, there's really nothing in terms of a lesson that comes from it. You're simply not going to know if you're getting the best discount unless you know someone who got a better one. All you can do is shop around, use different devices, and hope that the best deal you're seeing is in fact the best deal, period.


I never buy from a flash sale. I usually ponder a buy for a week or more and I shop around too.

I'm happy with the prices I get.

Also, I have an add-on to my browsers called Invisible Hand that searches the web for the best prices on items. It works well saving me money.


well... thats kinda lame! but I am the same as Neil.. usually dont make a quick decision..


I'm the same way- I always take my time and shop around locally & on the web to get the best price I can before I purchase. Sometimes that doesn't always work out, I bought a blu-ray copy of Clint Eastwood 'the man with name trilogy' on Ebay for $29.95. Right? I had first checked on-line prices at Walmart, & Amazon. When I went in person at Walmart to check the price it was $14.95 on the shelf, different than their website. So, it pays to check locally in person.


Is there anyway to get the best deals on any device that you are using? regardless of other factors?


The iOS discount pisses me off to no end. I understand being logged in and flash sales and the rest but cheaper simply because you're using an Apple product seems to be a bit more discriminatory to me.


I added the add-on Neil and will check it out. Slickdeals has some good stuff I got several games for 9.99 with add ins included and there not top of the market but I got Assassin 3 borderlands 2 and several other that are top of the line for nothing.


That's fine for hardware and tangible products, but hotels and airfare are usually something you need to take advantage up in the moment (after watching prices for a while). Even flash sales function similarly I guess. If I know I want to buy something, then I spend the next few weeks scouting prices and looking for the deal. When someone shows the deal, I jump on it.

I'll have to check out Inivisible Hand! I've never heard of it.