/ Shopping, Technology

Two can play that game – haggling for a tech bargain

TV with sale price tag

Most of the tech products we all lust after are expensive. But that doesn’t mean you have to pay the list price when you head to the shops. Tell us about how you’ve negotiated your best tech bargains in store.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re shopping for a new tablet, a big screen TV or a powerful laptop in store – you don’t have to pay the price on the sticker…

Though a number of shops offer ‘special’ online prices and you can easily find online-only stores with attractive prices, many of us still like to go to a physical shop, have a look around and see what jumps out to us before making a decision.

But if you do purchase anything in store, do you ever haggle with the salespeople to get yourself the best price? And if so, what tactics do you use?

Taking on the tech haggle

Walk into some technology retailers and as soon as you’re through the door you’ll be pounced on by a pushy salesperson with pound signs in their eyes, ready with a pre-rehearsed spiel to try and make you part with more of your cash. The question is, do you accept the pitch or challenge them?

Salespeople will be keen to offer you an extended warranty  for your TV to offer you that peace of mind. But do you counter that with the fact that TVs are normally very reliable and that the warranty isn’t usually worth the inflated price tag (plus you’ve rights under the Sale of Goods Act).

And if they say that a certain laptop is available at that price for one week only, do you remind them of the store’s price promise and quote them a lower price nearby and tell them to match it?

We’re all about helping you be as powerful as the organisations you to deal with in your everyday life. So when have you exercised this power and bagged that tech product you want for the price you want.

Gordy says:
29 November 2013

Having heard a young mum and her advice on haggling, I gave it a go in a shoe shop – my wife and daughter retreated in embarrassment. “I really like these and they’re just what I’m looking for, they feel great, don’t suppose you could do something about the price, could you?” the salesman returned a few seconds later – “I could knock a tenner off the price”, I screwed my face a little – “oh, £15 then how’s that. I left in new shoes with a smile on my face . . . my wife and daughter left (still embarrassed) but in shock! If they say no, leave, but you may only make it to the door when you are approached with a better offer.

Peter says:
18 January 2014

Guess it depends how much the shoes were in the first place, and thus what percentage £10 or £15 is. Also it can depend on whether it’s a chain store or independent. It can be quite different depending on what you are buying. Some items, such as jewelry, can have a markup of 100% (ie it was bought in at half the price you see in the window), so you have some room for negotiation.

I guess Wedding and Engagement Rings are an area where the price should be halved and then add 20% as a starting point. You can always walk away, and given the economic situation, if there are massive profits being made, some of those staff will see declining sales and job cuts looming…

Has anybody haggled and succeeded in getting a significant discount in John Lewis. I tried in a JL store and was told they had no authority to reduce the price. I asked to speak to the salespersons manager and was told they were at lunch and that they also could not reduce the price. I made no excuses, just left. Does haggling succeed in a John Lewis store?

I recently bought a new dishwasher from John Lewis. The salesman totted up the price including disposal of the old machine and delivery to give a total of £410. When I pointed out that their website offered this for £349, they went into a huddle and waved bits of paper around and finally (one hour later!) agreed that they would supply at the lower price. As I am retired, the time taken was not important to me but I reckon that £60 saving is worth the time spent.

Dos that count as haggling?

Lower de Cost says:
2 December 2013

I tried haggling in Sheffield’s branch of John Lewis with no joy.
I wanted to purchase 2 off Samsung smart TV’s, total value over £2.4k at the time.
I even spoke to the floor manager, with no success.
They lost my trade for the sake of 1 or 2% discount, or an extended warranty.
Walking out of the store is the best method of telling them the customer is always right.

Peter says:
18 January 2014

Around 18 years ago, when DSG included Currys, The Link, Dixons, and PC World and they all acted as if they were separate businesses (whereas you now see ads showing Currys + PC World as one store, and Dixons is online), I wanted to buy a couple of PCs, which at the time were priced around £400. I asked a few contacts if they were interested, on the basis I’d see if I could get a reduction for buying several and had an eventual total of 5 (£2000).

I’d have thought that they could have offered a 10% discount, but no, PC World would only offer 2.5%, and Currys (remember, part of the same group) offered a discount of 5%. It was “better than nothing” and I doubt a small business in the town would have been willing to offer similar systems at anything close to £400 let alone give a better discount, but it did go some way in showing that the markup on technology might be lower than we think.

Robert C says:
30 November 2013

I consider extended warranties on TVs etc as a rip off. Panasonic offered a 5-year one through a local retailer, or John Lewis, for FREE. A well know high-street retailer wanted to charge me £300 for one (might have been only 3 years too)

The conversation goes like this: why is an extended warranty so expensive? Are they likely to break down?… oh yes, it happens, you should buy the extended warranty………. Oh, if the TV is that unreliable then I will not buy it.

I have even told shop staff if you try to sell me an extended warranty then I will walk away. The individual said OK, but the till would not let them process the transaction until they’d got a manager to approve it. He tried to sell me insurance at half price….. so I pointed out his shop really had been trying to rip me off. I walked away.

Peter says:
18 January 2014

Not saying they are always the cheapest or everything is superb (sure there will have been some customers unhappy with them at some point) but check the Richer Sounds pricing, as they do some low cost extended warranties.

BBC R4 You and Yours had a piece years ago about how Currys/ Dixons had targets on how much insurance was to be sold, and it was something like 25% of turnover. Sales staff were disciplined if they didn’t reach their targets. I hope that has all gone away (because I would prefer staff to concentrate on knowing what equipment can and cannot ‘do’ for me, than be flogging warranties), and I look carefully at the options and compare as much as possible.

I feel sorry for staff is there is management pressure – in 1990 I remember having to sign a document when I was after a repayment mortgage and NOT an endowment policy – there was pressure at the Alliance and Leicester back then, too !

Peter says:
23 January 2014

Quick follow-up to my previous comment, mentioning Richer Sounds – today had e-mail with their latest deals… 40″ Toshiba smart TV – 399.00 with optional 5 year guarantee at 39.90 – and a bigger, (46″) Samsung smart TV at 599.95 has 5 year guarantee included. (prices valid 23-29 January, in store only, and must mention the e-mail to VIP club members).

Col says:
5 July 2017

Be careful with Richer Sounds warranties. I purchased youview box with a 5 year warranty. Box developed a fault after 2 years. Took the box back and was told they would send it away for repair and it would take 2 weeks. After 2 weeks still not repaired told it can take up to a month. After many phone calls found out boxes not sent away, repaired in store and nobody had touched it. Finally agreed it was not repairable. Gave me a replacement bix that did not work on youview. Had to go back to store again. Told me despite advertising like for like they did not have the same box and offered an inferior box. After showing my displeasure I got a full refund. Never again

Well, to get a full refund after two years’ use is not a bad out-turn, Col. You are now free to buy a new model to your specification – it could even be cheaper than the original

What Col describes is very similar to the fun I had with Currys over a mobile phone, albeit years ago. I discovered that they had never sent my phone away for repair despite claims by two members of staff. I went back when another store manager was on duty and was given a replacement. Sometimes we may forget that retailers have rights, for example by expecting a replacement whenever a product fails during the guarantee or warranty period, but there is no excuse to keep customers waiting if a repair has been offered as a remedy.

Robert C says:
30 November 2013

Haggling is OK up to a point, but you also have to consider value for money too. I buy electronics from a hi-fi shop, and white goods from John Lewis and on the odd occasion I have needed after-sales to fix something they HAVE, without a problem. I have no confidence in certain other retailers; they’d probably decline after a few weeks use, unless you had their 3-year extended warranty. I do not haggle with the shops I value, as they do not haggle about service

If you are persuaded to buy a pointless extended warranty (which will probably expire anyway before the expiry of retailer’s statutory obligations under Section 48B of the Sale of Goods Act 1979), then you have a right to cancel it within 45 days and get a refund under Article 8 of the Supply of Extended Warranties on Domestic Electrical Goods Order 2005.

I forgot to mention the significant advantage of this. Shop staff are often willing to give a greater discount on the headline price of the goods if you buy an extended warranty, because they make significant profit on the latter. Therefore you can take out the extended warranty in order to get a greater discount on the goods, and then cancel the extended warranty after purchase (within 45 days).

Peter says:
18 January 2014

Surely, in the long run, that will encourage more exclusions, small print, or even higher charges, because insurers will alter their policy if the majority of people do this.

I don’t think I’d take this approach, personally, as I don’t go out with the intention of misleading someone. I’d prefer to reject the unwanted warranty, and see whether I’d be “comfortable” with the price (perhaps with a lesser discount, if at all), than say one thing but, later, do another.

I agree Peter. I’m very disappointed by this suggestion by NFH, who normally posts very helpful and sensible comments.

My aunt, now long since departed this life, always asked for discount on whatever she was buying and I have followed her example particularly if paying with cash. There is nearly always something off. If you think that any company is still making a profit during the sales which seem to be permanent at the moment, then they can reduce the price of whatever it is and still make a profit. The problem is that folk can feel embarrassed at attempting to do this but a successful bid should dispense with this.

You do all realise that haggling only works because not everyone does it? What you’re doing in effect is to raise prices for others.

I decide how much I want to pay. If the goods are available for that or less, I buy, if not I don’t.

Peter says:
18 January 2014

Up to a point – there are some places where there’s no chance of haggling. Like you, I tend to look at a price and decide. However, if I can pay cash, then given the shop would normally have to pay a handling fee of a few % for credit cards (and even PayPal take something like 3%) there’s a “margin” which would never go into the shop’s profits anyway, so it doesn’t all force price increases. Any pricing has to include some portion for “overheads”, so it depends on the business and whether they are willing to haggle – and you never know if you never ask!

See a few have voted this comment down, but don’t seem to be willing to explain why….

iphone 5s
My current contract is up and I tried in several shops and online
to get a reduction on their published phone and pay monthly prices.
No success despite my offer to sign up there and then.
I know its a sought after product -but even my current provider was unwilling to shave anything off their current tariffs.

Peter says:
18 January 2014

Possibly the wrong product line – Apple is notorious for wanting to earn a lot and there have been estimates of a 100% markup on the component prices for their products. They originally did an “exclusive” with O2 when they launched the iPhone so no other network had them initially, and I bet they hold on to every last penny they can, because the iPhone is a “must have” product for lots of people.

I am happy with Android, and while I have several Apple products (iMacs and eMac and an older Apple Mac ‘swollen 14″ TV’ model) I would never consider them good value for money at the high prices when bought brand new. I have used a £10 MP3 player which has image display and FM radio for a few years, while some may have spent several times that on an iPod…

I attempted haggling to get a better Price on a Nexus 5 mobile despite very poor sales 02 would not budge one bit one would think they would do a price drop but it appears they would rather dump into a waste pit then shift stocks and from what i understand they have not sold many of these phones as its mainly plastic and not of the quality of Samsung Galaxy 3 or 4 they have tough glass touch screen.Although Nexus 5 is priced it lower its not a sales success.i phones never drop the prices but we talking Chalk&Cheese here the Nexus5 is no where near an i phone so one would have thought they would be pleased to get a return on investment i am certain LG would make up any profit on other models.

Peter says:
18 January 2014

Many family businesses will have a decision maker on hand, not “targets” from the HQ 100 miles away. Also, with smaller shops, they might lose 2-4% in card charges, so sometimes a cash purchase can get you a discount, depending on the markup from the wholesale prices.

A friend of mine runs a hi-fi shop (family business, his dad launched it around 25 years ago), and told me that while some items may general pricing allowing him to give up to 15% discount (when you are spending £2000 on a pair of speakers, you can see why he’d prefer to make the sale than lose the customer to a shop in another city) but on technology, such as Sonos, they only make 3-5% profit if sold at a price similar to others, so while the price seems high (I cannot justify it right now), he couldn’t budge too much even if I was buying several devices and spending £1500.

Of course a bank, if you wish to withdraw £5000 to £10000, for a cash purchase, may think it some “income tax evasion” plan, and apparently can refuse you the money (but that’s another issue) and for the shop owner, making large cash deposits may “ring alarm bells” but I guess if both sides explain that it is to limit credit card charges and allow a shop to give a discount, it may make the banks see cash still has a place.

I think it’s outrageous that anything as simple as taking your own money out of the bank as cash is regarded as if someone is “money laundering” or “tax avoidance” and that a customer may be asked to “justify” why they want a large amount of cash in one go!

My bank (The Co-op) only allows non-prerequested withdrawals of up to £2,000. A very young, so probably very junior, teller told me it was because they didn’t actually keep very much cash on the premises… 😀