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Old 02-07-2009, 01:43 PM
Senior MemberCaptains Club MemberPLEDGER
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Not in Texas
Posts: 10,213
Default Buying Online? Delete Your Cookies!

Cookies are crumbs of information stored on your Web browser that online retailers use to identify customers. They can sometimes mean the difference between higher or lower prices on the same item. Some online shoppers have found that when they delete cookies from their browser, they get better deals.

The reason why you save is called "dynamic pricing." Retailers set prices based on a customer's purchase history and other factors.

While deleting your cookies doesn't always result in a bargain, it can happen, says Sue Perry, deputy editor of ShopSmart, a magazine by the publishers of Consumer Reports.

In 2007, ShopSmart editors did their own test and found that prices differed based on the Web browsers and computers they used., for example, gave them two different prices for a plane ticket from New York to Sydney, Australia, depending on which computer they were using to book the flight. The computer without cookies gave them a price that was $200 less.

Although an Expedia spokeswoman told the editors the varying prices did not come from using different browsers or computers, the same thing happened at other travel sites.

So, is this savings move legal?

Yes, although it's not widely known, says Robert Weiss, an attorney who specializes in information technology law at Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP in Chicago.

"I think a lot of people don't realize it's happening," said Weiss, who has studied online dynamic pricing.

There are many pieces of your personal information that can affect the deals you're offered, experts say. If retailers notice you're from a more affluent zip code, for example, they may up their prices, according to Weiss.

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