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12 Tips and Tricks on the Lost Art of Haggling

Posted by Jerry De Luca on Monday, July 22, 2013

Less than half of Americans try to bargain for a better deal on products and services, according to a Consumer’s Reports survey. What may be surprising is that for those who are audacious enough to haggle, almost 90% have gotten a great deal and saved a lot of money at least once or more in a 12 month period. People who negotiated for a better cell phone plan were successful 76% of the time and saved an average of $80. People who negotiated for better medical or dental bills were successful 69% of the time and saved an average of $300. Similar results were realized in haggling for bank or credit-card fees, personal electronics, furniture, jewelry, and appliances.  

1) Smile and be pleasant. An angry, demanding, uncompromising attitude rarely works.

2) Everything is negotiable. Businesses would rather make a small profit from you than no profit at all.

3) Don’t be impatient, especially with lawyers, hospitals, labs, and imaging centers. They’ll try to bury you with information or stall as long as possible, but in the end the majority will give in.

4) Give solid reasons why they should negotiate – you’re a loyal, long-time customer, and you will continue to be so, and you’ll tell your friends about your happy experience.

5) Assess whether the seller is a little too eager or a little bit desperate. How long has the house been on the market? One year? How long has the car been on the lot?

6) Research the competition’s prices. Find circulars, print out or take screen shots of web pages from competitors and their low prices. Show them to the seller.

7) If the seller won’t budge on price, there’s a good chance he’ll give you a break on delivery, installation or insurance.

8) Many companies offer obscenely low prices to attract new customers while gouging their loyal, long-time clients. You probably won’t get the new customer price, but referring to it and being patient could get you a better price.

9) If you have the time and the will, make yourself knowledgeable and become a bit of an “expert” on the product or service. Show the seller you know what you’re talking about.

10) Relax, don’t react to the seller’s offer, remain poker-faced. Often the seller will think you’re incredulous about his proposal.

11) If there’s even a small mark or blemish on the product, point it out and ask for a discount. Independent stores, more often than chains, can’t return flawed products to the manufacturer.

12) Request a discount if you pay cash. Credit-card payments cost the seller for every transaction. If they save then you can save.

The editors, “Let’s Make A Deal”, Consumer’s Reports, August 2013

Photo: jimbowen0306 (flickr CC)  

Jerry De Luca is a Christian freelance writer who loves perusing dozens of interesting and informative publications. When he finds any useful info he summarizes it, taking the main points, and creates a (hopefully) helpful blog post.


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