By Sharon Harvey Rosenberg
RISMEDIA, May 14, 2008-(MCT)-Haggling over prices is expected at flea markets, yard sales and auto lots. But my sister, Debra Patterson, negotiated a sweet deal for kitchen chairs at a department store.
Her pitch: “If we buy more, can we get a discount?” The salesman didn’t have authority to respond, but a manager was able to give her a discount of $120 on the set of four chairs.
Asking for a lower price is a strategy that wins high marks from Consumer Reports. In a recent national survey of more than 2,000 shoppers, Consumer Reports National Research Center discovered that 61% of consumers have bargained for furniture, cell phones and other services at least once in the last three years. And of those who tried to cut a deal for home furnishings, 94% were successful in getting better bargains.
Among buyers who negotiated lower furniture prices, 61% saved $50 to $99, with 14% saving more than $100, and 26% saving $1 to $49.
Bargaining can also yield handsome savings on medical bills, home electronics products, appliances, jewelry and antiques, according to the Consumer Reports survey.
Whether dealing with a boutique or a national chain, here are some successful strategies:
- Seize moments of power. Use the opportunity of negotiating a new service contract or renewing an existing agreement to ask for a rate cut or extra perks.
- Use cash. Stores typically pay transaction fees of 2% to 8% on credit and debit card transactions, according to Consumer Reports. Cash sales have an extra appeal and many stores are willing to provide discounts for shoppers who pay in cash.
- Shop for flaws. Managers often give discounts for products with small flaws or for floor models.
- There are also savings in numbers. You can ask for a discount when you buy in multiples.
© 2008, The Miami Herald.
Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.
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