Haggling with retailers and service providers could save you £477 a year on bills

Published by Stephen Little on 27 February 2019.
Last updated on 27 February 2019

Save £100s haggling over your mobile bill

While haggling might feel a little bit awkward, British consumers are increasingly using it to get a better price.

According to the TopCashback Haggling Index, consumers are saving on average £477 each year by haggling – a £20 increase compared to 2018 and a £62 increase compared to 2016.

TopCashback interviewed more than 2,000 people and found that there has been an 11% increase in the number of consumers who feel determined to haggle and a 15% fall in the number who feel awkward while haggling compared to 2018.

Most people (94%) were able to haggle a lower price, while nearly half (48%) got something for free.

Adam Bullock, UK director of TopCashback, says: “A sale at a lower price is still a sale for retailers. And with brands finding it harder to attract shoppers to the high-street, and therefore must offer better deals, 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.”

The survey found that the easiest retailers to haggle with were Carphone Warehouse, John Lewis and Tesco. The top service providers to haggle with were Sky, Virgin Media and BT Broadband.

The easiest service providers and retailers to haggle with  
Top retailers to haggle with Top service providers to haggle with
1. Carphone Warehouse 1. Sky
2. John Lewis 2. Virgin Media
3.Tesco 3. BT Broadband
4. Debenhams 4. EE
5. DFS 5. Vodaphone
6. Sainsbury's 6. British Gas
7. Asda 7. TalkTalk
8. TKMaxx 8. EDF Energy
9. Boots 9. SSE Energy
10. Marks and Spencer 10. Scottish Power

Source: TopCashback

Haggling with service providers

The survey found that haggling was most successful with service providers, saving consumers £235 each year – up £29 compared to 2018.

Nine in 10 (87%) consumers now haggle with their service providers – 9% more than last year – and a fifth (20%) say over 90% of their attempts over the last year were successful.

Mr Bullock says: “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.

“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.”

Top five haggling tips

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 interested – 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
Speaking to a service agent on a web chat box can help get you a discount. 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. 

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