In the November issue of Consumer Report, it reveals the benefits of haggling and how 90 percent of shoppers who attempt to haggle usually are successful. Consumer Reports explains that people haggle in a lot of areas, from from medical bills to buying a car. Yes, even medical bills can be negotiated. Consumer Report shows that 93% of those people who haggle over their medical bill usually will get a price reduction. Most times, these fees are based on the standard fees for the area and the doctor can easily drop it in order to settle things quicker.
I love to haggle! My first experience in haggling came from watching my father when he used to buy cars. He was good! He didn’t care what the salesman thought of him however; he didn’t hesitate to tell the salesman if he didn’t like what he was saying. He was sort of the bad cop, bad cop version. Never flinching and he would walk out if he didn’t get his deal.
When I was a sophomore in high school, I took a trip to Mexico. That was my first haggling experience on my own. It is very common to haggle in Mexico as well as many other countries. In fact, it’s a way of life. The scenario there would be that you would always tell them that you found the article cheaper at another store and start walking out of their store. They would quickly run after you and drop the price. Mexico though is an extreme in haggling compared to the United States where many feel, they should just pay what is asked.
Today, I take it one step further. If I don’t like the customer service I will let them know via over the phone, in person, or in writing. Whether it is disappointing food served in a restaurant or cutting into a bad onion that I just bought from the grocery store, I will let the right party know. If it is in a restaurant, I might get a free dessert, price reduction off the bill, or even my meal free. The produce manager doesn’t think twice in replacing my bad onion. They want you to come back. You are doing them a favor letting them know what is happening. If it is happening to you, most likely other people are experiencing a similar situation. They want your feedback.
Just recently, I wrote to the CEO of Del Air which is one of the largest heating, air conditioning and refrigeration companies in Central Florida. I complained how I bought this $6500 unit in September 2006 and after several servicing calls this past summer, I found out the unit was improperly installed. In my letter, I explained that I had a concern that once my one year manufacturer warranty was up, I could have problems afterwards. I asked for a 6 month extension of my warranty, and actually received a one year extended warranty from them. This happens to me all the time. It’s like the old saying, “the squeaking wheel gets the oil”. I’ve passed down my experiences to my children so they realize how important it is to “just ask” and to go after situations that are not fair to you as a consumer.
Here are some tips that might help you:
Do not feel embarrassed about asking for a discount.
Show confidence and conviction on why you should receive a price reduction. However, you must also be polite. Who wants to talk to someone who is “in their face”? You should look at them straight in the eye and keep your voice firm. Your body language will give them clues if you are serious in your offer. You want to feel in control.
When it comes to customer service, the customer is always right.
Sometimes, that doesn’t hold true in today’s market with the manner of how some of these companies treat you. However, the ones that have been in business the longest will want you to be happy. They realize if they make it right, you will have the confidence in returning to them.
Always low ball a price.
You can always come back up in your offer, but it’s hard to lower the price from there. You won’t be taken seriously if you start with a low ball price and keep reducing it from there. And on the other hand, don’t be too ridiculous in your low ball offer. You might just get them too mad, and they won’t even want to deal with you. This happens more often than not in real estate when a buyer insults the seller with a ridiculously low offer.
Try for a win/win situation.
This is the best way to haggle is when both parties are satisfied. Let’s face it, the objective is to get a deal off the original price. You have to put yourself in their shoes too for both parties to be in agreement.
So the next time you are in a department store and you see a mark on a piece of clothing you think you can get out with washing it, try and ask for a discount. All they can say is “no”.