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Get the best from tech sales – share your savvy secrets

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Do you always buy your technology at full price? Or do you bide your time, do your research and put your haggling hat on? There are many things you can do to get a healthy discount on your tech…

Christmas may not have even happened yet, but some people are already looking ahead to the January sales.

In fact, maybe some of you buy your Christmas presents in the January sales, making your friends and family wait a couple of weeks so you can save a few pounds on dancing Santa teddies and chocolate selection boxes.

Of course, sales these days aren’t just restricted to large chain stores on the high street. It happens online too, meaning that you have to be on the ball if you want to get the best price. So, what are some good ways to prepare yourself?

Barcode scanning on the shop floor

Technology, as ever, can lend a hand. If you have a smartphone, it’s worth downloading a barcode scanner app, which can let you check the price of a product in store against what other retailers are offering online and on the high street.

If you do find a price cheaper online, you don’t need to leave the shop straight away. It might be worth haggling with the retailer there and then. Show them how much the product is online, and ask if they can lower their price or even match it.

You’ll need to pick your timing carefully though. You’re much more likely to get a better deal if you’re in the store on a quiet Tuesday morning, for example, than on a busy weekend.

It’s all about good timing

It’s also worth familiarising yourself with launch patterns. For instance, we know that new TVs always start to appear on the shelves in April. This can be a great time to buy last year’s models, as retailers are trying to make space for the newer ones. It’s the same with big press events from manufacturers – it would have been short sighted to pay full price for an iPad 3 a few weeks prior to Apple’s most recent press event.

I put all of this into practice when I bought my last TV. By waiting for the new models to be announced, checking prices online and haggling with the retailer, I was able to get a rather healthy £100 discount.

Do you have any tips for getting technology bargains? Maybe you’ve managed to negotiate a discount on a laptop, or saved hundreds on an ex-display TV?

Ricky says:
2 November 2012

I recently updated my mobile phone contract with O2 where I got a new Samsung Galaxy S2. I paid £100 one-off, and my monthly payments remained the same but committed to 24 months. This was far cheaper than when I checked out this phone in February, as it’s no longer the latest model – if you’re happy not to go for the latest model, there are some good deals out there – it’s still a great phone!

Clark Kent says:
3 November 2012

You advocate haggling. In my opinion this is very unfair, as the person who is unable to successfully haggle is effectively overcharged. The idea of different prices for different people is revoltingly unfair.

I agree with Clark. Obviously we should shop around for the best price but haggling has no place in civilised society. I imagine some would have us go back to bartering. Would you take one sheep plus three hens for an iPad?

I think you probably misunderstand haggling. Actually all it involves is a simple enquiry. “I can get this on the net for this much. I would rather buy it from you, so how close can you get”. In my experience, you usually get the same price. After all a sale is a sale and the next customer will not ask for a discount. If they say no can do, you just thank them and leave. Most shops will appreciate that you are giving them a chance. I spoke to a retailer only a few weeks ago and his complaint was that people come into his shop, try things on and then go home and order them off the internet. He would be happy if they would ask him to agree a sale. It’s not exactly haggling and there’s no need for unpleasantness; you are, after all, not in the old Kasbah in Cairo.