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June 20, 2021

Are you sure that's the best you can do?

To lots of people, haggling is awkward, uncomfortable and inappropriate – unless it pays off.

Hag A recent poll by Consumer Reports found that more than two thirds of those who tried to negotiate for a better deal were successful.

Among those who haggled, 83 per cent negotiated better deals on hotel rates, 81 per cent reduced their cell phone bills, and 81 percent went home paying less for clothing.

It's all about being willing to hear the word no, says Fred Gleeck, author of Negotiate Everything: How to Get the Absolute Best Deal on Any Product or Service You Buy.

Sometimes, stores or vendors refuse to budge on price, no matter how many people you ask or how creatively you attempt to haggle. When that happens, it's either walk away or settle for the set price.

The only surefire way to avoid snagging a discount – not asking in the first place, which is particularly true in face-to face encounters like flea markets or even online using sites like Kijiji or Craigslist.

Person-to person vendors add in a "haggle factor" to their prices, so you should definitely try to ask for a lower price. But there's also etiquette at work: To avoid offending the vendor, don't ask what his or her best price is and then keep trying to haggle, advises the Consumerist.

When it comes to the process, there are different strategies. Some veteran shoppers say they start at half off and work upwards. Some vendors say that 20-25 per cent off is reasonable, but over that you're going to offend them.

And then there’s the timing. If you show up early in the day, sellers have less of an incentive to come down on price since, they believe, there’s still an entire day remaining for someone else to come and pay full price.

When was the last time you found yourself haggling? Was it uncomfortable? If not, what’s your favourite strategy?

By Gordon Powers, MSN Money

* Follow Gordon on Twitter here.




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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...

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...