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Brits save £480 a year by haggling: how to bag a bargain

Joanna Faith
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Joanna Faith

Many people find it awkward or uncomfortable, but money-saving Brits are getting better at haggling.

The latest instalment of the annual Haggling Index from TopCashback shows shoppers are saving £477 on average each year by haggling. This represents a £20 increase compared to 2018 and a £62 increase from 2016.

The report shows an 11% increase in the number of consumers who haggle and a 15% fall in those who find it awkward.

Most people (94%) who tried to haggle managed to get a lower price, while nearly half (48%) got something for free.

Adam Bullock, UK director of TopCashback – which provides cashback from retailers, said: “A sale at a lower price is still a sale for retailers.”

He noted that brands are finding it hard to attract shoppers to the high street, which means they are more open to offering better deals so haggling is becoming much easier.

“Shoppers need to be brave and try their luck with haggling – the worst that could happen is a retailer says no,” he added.

Consumers who haggle said they were most successful negotiating with service providers.

On average, they saved £235 each year by haggling with phone, broadband and energy firms, up £29 compared to 2018.

How to haggle

“Service providers reserve their best deals for new customers in a bid to steal business from competitors. If you continue with your contract without questioning the price you’re paying, a provider is rarely going to offer you something better,” Bullock said.

“Saying you’re paying too much, or a rival’s deals are better, will put your provider at risk of losing business and will usually result in them miraculously finding you a better deal.”

Here are his top five tips to getting the best deal:

Do your research

Prepare for haggling by being armed with the prices and deals on offer from other retailers. That way, you can play rival brands off against each other and get better deals while they fight it out for your business.

Build a rapport and be polite

Being aloof and stating the price you want to pay will rarely get results. However, building a rapport and telling a story – you want the item but can’t afford it or your partner is not as invested – will help a salesperson warm to you and show you’re prepared to negotiate.

Pick your timing

From shopping at quieter times – during the week instead of a busy Saturday – to finding out when a retailer’s financial year ends, your timing matters. When a retailer is less busy or below sales target, they need to drive sales, even at a lower price. And if you’re looking to negotiate a contract, pop a note in your diary for a month before the end date as a reminder to haggle.

Haggle online

Around 65% of people have been successful in getting a discount after speaking to a service agent on a web chat box. Simply ask a few questions about the product you’re looking to buy and then ask if there are any discounts or better deals they can offer.

Ask for freebies

If you’ve tried your best to get a lower price but the retailer isn’t budging, it’s not the end of the road. While salespeople may not have the ability to give you a monetary discount, they may be able to chuck something in for free like a camera bag, laptop case or free calls on a phone contract. They could even give you a voucher to use on your next purchase.