Paribus grows—by spying on your email traffic – CNBC

Tech start-up Paribus is looking out for consumers — by looking into their email.

It’s part of the company’s effort to keep retailers honest amid the blizzard of sales offers that enable consumers to claim the difference from a previously purchased item

“All these stores guarantee if you buy something and it goes on sale later, you’re entitled to this difference in form of a refund. Most people never check or know how to get this. What we do is automate that process,” Eric Glyman, Paribus co-founder, told CNBC’s “On the Money” in an interview.

The company estimates $15 billion in refunds for online purchases go unclaimed every year. And e-commerce giant Amazon has been estimated to alter its prices more than 2.5 million times a day.

Here’s how Paribus aims to save users money: After linking your email account to Paribus, the company will scan your inbox and search for receipts. The emailed receipts are then pulled into Paribus’ servers and its technology goes to work.

It looks for price drops, or coupons that could have been applied to the purchase. When the consumer is eligible for a refund, the company automatically files a price adjustment claim on their behalf.

Paribus takes a 25 percent cut, and the technology supports about 20 online retailers — including Amazon and Zappos. The company says they have saved consumers $500 million dollars since officially launching in May 2015, with nearly 250,000 users to date.

The company is tackling a growing market. Nearly 10 percent of all retail sales came from the Web last year, surpassing $340 billion. Analysts point out that when subtracting items not normally bought online like fuel and cars, e-commerce comprised all last year’s retail sales growth and then some.

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