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Five little-known Amazon price hacks

These Amazon "shopping hacks" will help you get things like a free Prime membership extension or digital credits, and even seven-day price protection on purchases. Here's what you need to know to make it happen.

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    The Amazon.com Inc. logo is seen on the side of a delivery truck in Brooklyn, New York, August 28, 2015.
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Most of us already know you can score great deals shopping on Amazon — but there are some secrets that can make these great deals even better. These Amazon "shopping hacks" will help you get things like a free Prime membership extension or digital credits, and even seven-day price protection on purchases. Here's what you need to know to make it happen. (See also: 16 Amazon Deal Hacks You May Not Already Know)

1. Score a Free Prime Extension

While Amazon Prime's two-day shipping guarantee is pretty darn reliable, there will undoubtedly be times when you don't get your package on time. When they don't deliver on their guarantee, simply hit up customer service via a phone call, email, or live chat, and explain the situation. By doing so, you'll likely end up with a one month Prime membership extension ($8.25 value), or a $5 or $10 credit to your account. What you receive from Amazon as "compensation" will depend on how late the package was delivered and the size of the order.

Whether the delivery delay is caused by bad weather, a problem at the Amazon warehouse, or a combination of both, you should hold Amazon's feet to the fire if they don't deliver on their two-day guarantee. After all, you're paying $99 annually for the membership and they're "guaranteeing" two-day delivery, so there should be consequences if they can't deliver on their promise.

2. Get a Replacement Item Without Sending Back the Original

Most shoppers are unaware that if delivered goods are damaged or broken, you can contact Amazon customer service and they'll immediately send you a replacement item. Better yet, if you politely ask, they'll often send it via overnight delivery. Even better than that, if the item is valued at less than $50, they'll often tell you to keep the broken or damaged item. This is really a sweet deal if the item is still useable or can be salvaged with a little elbow grease.

It's important to realize this will only work if the item is sold directly from Amazon and not a third party seller. If the item is from a third party seller, you'll have the option of either getting a full refund, or a replacement item delivered to your home in three to four business days.

3. Get Amazon Price Protection

Are you aware that Amazon has a price protection policy in place? Because it's not advertised openly on their website, most shoppers have no idea it exists. If you bought an item from Amazon and noticed the price has later been lowered, you stand a great chance of getting the lower price. As long as you're within seven days of the delivery date, and the item was sold by "Amazon.com LLC," you're entitled to the lower price and a credit back to your payment method in the amount of the price difference, or a gift card added to your account for the difference in the price. The best way to get your credit is via live chat — just be sure to have your order number on hand so they can look up the current price.

Because Amazon is famous for constantly changing prices, I highly recommend checking on the new price of items you've recently purchased, especially on significant purchases. Personally, I like to set up an alert on my smartphone calendar to remind me to check pricing on the seventh day after delivery. By doing so, I've been able to take advantage of the Amazon price protection policy several times and earned a good chunk of change in the process.

4. Score Free eBooks, Movie, and Music Credits

If you frequently buy digital content like eBooks, digital music, and videos from Amazon, I have a great hack to get free credits added to your account. If you're an Amazon Prime member, and don't necessarily need an item delivered within two days, you can opt for "FREE No-Rush Shipping (five business days)" and get a $1 credit for digital content by doing so.

I have also occasionally seen credits up to $2 along with credits for Amazon Prime Pantry. They tend to rotate their "No-Rush" credit option with $1 for digital content being the default offer. Also, it's important to point out that you'll get your credit added to your account after the item has shipped. Plus, credits are stackable and there is no limit on the number of credits you can receive.

5. Get an Amazon Price-Match (Sort Of)

While Amazon doesn't have an official price match policy in place, you can still request a lower price if you find one on a competing website or from a local brick and mortar retailer. This is done by informing them of the lower price on the Amazon product page — under "Product Details," simply click on "Tell us about a lower price" and follow the instructions.

Next, monitor the item for a couple days and you stand a good chance of them lowering the price based on your information. Your odds of success rise significantly if the lower price you found is from a popular online competitor, as it becomes very easy for Amazon to confirm their price. Since this hack requires a few steps and some patience, I only recommend trying it on significant purchases where you can save enough money to make it worth your time and effort.

It's important to never assume Amazon offers the lowest price around. Or worse yet, to settle for a higher price because they make online shopping extremely easy and convenient. There's no reason why you can't take advantage of the above hacks to save money in addition to taking advantage of the conveniences Amazon offers. Do that, and you've officially become a smart Amazon shopper.

Have you tried any of these Amazon shopping hacks? If so, how did it work out?

This article is from Kyle James of Wise Bread, an award-winning personal finance and credit card comparison website. Read more articles from Wise Bread:

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