Hagglers Rarely Lose
by Broderick Perkins
Chances are, if you do, you'll get a better deal.
Keep that in mind when you shop for a home, where virtually all
costs are negotiable.
A Consumer Reports National Research Center survey of 2,167
households this past summer found that more than 90 percent of those
who tried to talk down the price succeeded on furniture,
electronics, appliances, even medical bills.
The most successful hagglers shaved an average $50 off the asking
price of an individual item or service.
Of those who yakked their way to a better deal, 94 percent scored a
lower price at least once during the past three years. Overall, 61
percent of respondents bargained at least once during that time.
Ninety-three percent managed to dicker reductions on medical bills
and 92 percent worked out a lower price for home electronics, the
Among those who bargained for furniture, 94 percent saved money; for
large and small appliances, 92 percent; floor and demo models, 91
percent; bank and credit card fees, 87 percent; jewelry 86 percent;
cell-phone plans, 80 percent; collectibles and antiques, 78 percent.
The greatest number of winners were found in furniture where 61
percent of hagglers saved $50 to $100; 58 percent of those haggling
over large and small appliance prices also saved $50 to $100; 54
percent of those vying for less on home electronics and jewelry,
both saved from $50 to $100; 53 percent of those shopping for floor
and demo models saved $50 to $100 when they dickered and 50 percent
of those saved from $1 to $49 when they tried to get the price down
Among the dickering group, the biggest winners by dollar amount were
the 35 percent of consumers who slashed $100 or more off medical
bills; 26 percent who reduced cell-phone plans by $100; 22 percent
who knocked $100 off floor or demo model prices and 21 percent who
did the same for bank and credit card fees.
On average, 61 percent of shoppers surveyed actually bargained for
cheaper prices at least once over a three year period, one in three
consumers aren't exercising their negotiating muscle.
Haggling experts reminds consumers, there's nothing wrong with
asking for a cheaper price. The worst that will happen is the
merchant will say "no" and you won't be any worse off.
On the other hand, make price dickering a regular shopping technique
and you are likely to save hundreds of dollars a year, especially if
you haggle around just like you should shop around for the best
Not for the introverted, shy or withdrawn, negotiating does require
a level of assertiveness and the willingness to risk rejection, the
And be aware, that merchants often price items with wiggle room. You
aren't forcing them to negotiate, but if you don't, they just rake
in more profit.
To improve your negotiating success rate, Consumer Reports' experts
Gauge the seller's need. Merchants selling items with a limited
shelf life may have extra incentive. Likewise, a home seller with a
new job elsewhere or who already has purchased another home is
motivated to move.
Go to the top. Seek out a manager or supervisor if the person on the
floor says "I don't have the authority." If your medical plan
doesn't cover the entire cost of a procedure, talk to the doctor,
not the office manager.
Negotiate from a position of power. Bargains are most likely when
you have the upper hand. It costs cell phone carriers and satellite
radio companies large sums of money to lure new customers. When it's
time to re-up your service contract, load on requests for more
minutes, lower prices and other deals.
Time is money. Hit the sales. Cars are often on sale in November and
December. Consumer Reports indicates when other items hit the sales
bins. Get an early-bird discount from your tax preparer by filing
before the rush. On floor models and demos use flaws and blemishes,
that don't affect the items operation, to put downward pressure on
Bring cash. Remind the merchant of the transaction fees it won't
have to pay to a credit-card company if he or she accepts your wad
Published: October 11, 2007
Use of this article without permission is a violation of federal
copyright laws -- http://www.loc.gov/copyright.
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Broderick Perkins is executive editor of San Jose, CA-based
DeadlineNews.com, an editorial content and consulting firm offering
real estate news and analysis. Perkins, also publisher of the
Deadline Newsroom, has been a consumer and real estate journalist
for 30 years.
Copyright © 2007 Realty Times®. All Rights Reserved.
Columnist Broderick Perkins