Consumer Reports: How to haggle

Thursday, December 28, 2017 07:47AM
We all love getting a good bargain. But you don't necessarily need to wait for a sale or a coupon to nab a discount.

We all love getting a good bargain. But you don't necessarily need to wait for a sale or a coupon to nab a discount.

Whether you are buying tires or tomatoes, Consumer Reports found there's often wiggle room to either lower the price or get more bang for your buck, but you may have to ask for it.

Ask and you may receive. That's the reality when it comes to haggling. The problem is, many of us aren't asking and end up paying more than we need to.

"A lot of people are actually really uncomfortable bargaining a price in-store because they think it's rude. They think they're being cheap," said Tercius Bufete, Consumer Reports.

That's why Bufete recommends using the live chat feature on a retailer's website. Not only does it help overcome the awkwardness, it may boost your odds of nabbing a bargain. Consumer Reports readers who haggled online reported greater success than those who did so face to face.

Even major retailers like Amazon may be willing to work with you. Even though they officially do not offer price matching, Consumer Reports found their customer service team to be very accommodating in terms of adjusting the price or offering a credit.

"At the end of the day they just want your business and they want you to keep buying things from them," Bufete said.

Not sure how to approach the topic? Start by showing the seller you are really interested in the item.

"Really engage the customer service representative and ask them specific things like bluetooth compatibility or password protection. When you ask these types of questions, it really makes it look like you are ready to buy the product and that makes it more likely for the retailer to offer you a discount," Bufete said.

Even if the sales rep won't lower the price, they may be able to sweeten the deal in other ways.

"There are other things of value you can ask for, like free expedited shipping or a free extended warranty," Bufete said.

Extended warranties may be particularly easy to acquire in a negotiation. In most cases, Consumer Reports doesn't recommend that you pay for one, but there's nothing wrong with getting one free.

In a survey, Consumer Reports found that 57 percent of shoppers who negotiated for a free warranty or warranty extension at an independent retailer were successful.

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