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October 07, 2021

Haggling is back with a vengeance

A recent Consumer Reports poll found that more than 66 per cent of consumers have tried to negotiate for a better deal in the past six months, and most of those who haggled were successful.

83 per cent negotiated better deals on hotel rates, 81 per cent reduced their cell phone bills, 81 percent went home paying less for clothing and 71 per cent were successful getting discounts on electronics and furniture.

Haggling over price is no longer reserved for car lots and jewelry stores, you'll find people haggling at major retailers like Home Depot or Best Buy, and even Costco. For some people though, haggling doesn't come easy.

Anyone who took Marketing 101 will tell you that the goal of marketing is never to give the customer two equal choices and have price become the point of differentiation ... but that's not your problem.

If you want to snag a bargain, CR advises, be sure to:

Time your haggle. Late in the month, when salespeople are trying to meet their quotas, can be a good time to bargain for big-ticket items. Evening or early hours are usually less busy, so clerks have time to talk.

Avoid an audience. Haggle out of earshot of other customers. Sales clerks don’t want everyone else in the store asking for a deal too. Keep in mind that at chain stores, salespeople often don’t have the power to offer a discount --  look for a manager or supervisor instead.
Do your research. Check prices and store policies. Bring any Web printouts, flyers, and newspaper ads with you to back up your claim, particularly if a local competitor is selling the item for less. The store might be willing to match your best quote. If you can’t get a price discount, ask for free shipping, delivery, or installation instead.

Offer to pay cash.
Merchants don’t like to pay transaction fees to credit-card companies. Such fees are about two per cent for larger retailers and easily three times that for small ones.

Be prepared to walk. The most persuasive weapon you have in your haggling arsenal is your ability to walk away and spend your money someplace else.

Tell us: How are you when it comes driving a hard bargain? 

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money



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Gordon PowersGordon Powers

A long-time fund company executive, Gordon Powers now heads up the Affinity Group, a financial services consulting firm. Gordon was a personal finance columnist for the Globe & Mail for many years, has taught retirement planning...

James HaversJames Havers

James is the senior editor of MSN Money living in Toronto. He has worked for the Nikkei Shimbun (Tokyo),,, Canadian Business and other publications. Havers turned to journalism after teaching overseas.

Jason BucklandJason Buckland

The modern-day MC Hammer of money, Jason can often be seen spending cash that isn’t his with the efficiency of a Wilt Chamberlain first date. After cutting his teeth as a reporter for the Toronto Sun, he joined the MSN Money team with...