6 Tips to Better Haggling

A new study finds that most Americans who haggle do save money … but few actually do it.

In a survey of nearly 2,000 individuals, Consumer Reports, found that it really pays to haggle. The results are published in its August 2013 issue but, in short, the study revealed that just 48% of consumers made an attempt at getting better deal on goods and services through haggling. But when they did make an attempt, it worked! Nine times out of ten!

The best items to haggle over included: collectibles, antiques, furniture, and appliances. Consumer Reports also found challenging the cost of a cell-phone plan yielded and average savings of $80.

“Don’t expect your doctor, bank, or local appliance store to cut you a break simply because you have a nice face and smile. It takes moxie and self-confidence,” said Tod Marks, senior projects editor at Consumer Reports.  “Having the guts to ask for a discount can result in hundreds of dollars in savings.”

Start saving with you next purchase. Here are a few steps Consumer Reports found to help you keep from leaving money on the table.

Give Sellers a Reason to Negotiate

Loyal customers should remind their merchant or service provider of their repeated business. Offering discounts on products or services is small price to pay to keep customers coming back.

Ask Open-Ended Questions

Retailers are more likely to turn down a customer who asks questions that can be answered with a simple yes or no. Instead of asking for a specific dollar-amount or percentage off an item, ask what they are willing to offer as a discount

Decide on a Fair Price

Research the cost of any product before buying. Print out or take screen shots of website pages or written quotes from competitors. Fifty-seven percent of survey respondents told the salesperson they’d check competitors’ prices. Call the store to confirm that it will match a lower price. Ask about a refund of the difference if there’s a price-drop within a reasonable period of time. If a discount on the item is out of the question, ask for free shipping, delivery, or installation.

Seek Cash Discounts

Offering to pay with paper instead of plastic eliminates transaction fees sellers are required to pay to credit-card companies.

Find Flaws

Retailers are likely to offer discounts on products with cosmetic blemishes or slight defects such as clothing with snags, smudges or stains, and appliances or electronics with dings or scratches. It’s generally easier to negotiate such deals with independent stores than with chains and for private-label products than for big brands because sellers can’t return flawed products to their makers for credit.

Be Willing to Walk Away

It’s expensive for stores to attract new customers, so they’re often willing to work hard to retain their existing ones. But consumers who don’t think they’re getting a good deal should go elsewhere and try to negotiate a better bargain.

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