ONLY ON KOLD: Online price wars

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TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

The time of day can determine how cheap or expensive an online purchase can be.

A new investigation tracked prices and found prices change dramatically over a 24-hour period, depending on what time of day it was.

Retailers change their online prices hour by hour, sometimes minute by minute.

The goal is to have a product priced so it pops up as the lowest priced item in shopping search engines, or Amazon's coveted "Buy Box," where many consumers look to find the best deals.

"it's more a battle of getting the right screen position as opposed to trying to sell it as quickly as possible."

The website Decide.com's tracking softwares shows how they monitor prices of several items on a well-known shopping website.

First, an iPad: At midnight the iPad was $511. At 6 a.m. it was $503. By 7 a.m. the price sunk to $475, where it remained until 2:30 p.m. and then jumped to $510. At 10 p.m. the iPad increased to a high of $529.

That's a total of a $54 price difference on the same site, all in one 24-hour period.

"The suppliers are constantly monitoring each other because consumers now are researching their offline and online purchases in advance more than 50 percent of the time."

Experts say electronics, jewelry, shoes and appliances have the most fluctuating prices.

And try this tip: if you order something from a retailer online and the price drops a short time later, get in touch with the company and ask for a refund.

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