John Lewis and Carphone Warehouse are among the top names on the high street to haggle with, new research from MoneySavingExpert.com reveals.
We asked people who try to haggle to report whether they've succeeded in the last year at over 44 high street stores. The results prove that haggling isn't just reserved for exotic fly-swarmed bazaars, it's alive and kicking on UK high streets.
Here's what we found:
|Retail chain||Success rate (of those who tried)||Retail chain||Success rate (of those who tried)|
|1. Carphone Warehouse||61%||6. Tesco||41%|
|2. Currys / PC World||59%||7. M&S||40%|
|=3. Homebase||54%||8. Debenhams||34%|
|=3. John Lewis||54%||=9. Clarks||32%|
|=3. B&Q||54%||=9. Asda||32%|
|2,518 people were polled – only retailers where at least 100 people attempted to haggle included. Figures are rounded but order is correct. Note that it's likely supermarket haggling is on non-food, big-tickets items, eg, garden furniture and electrical.|
'Don't ask, don't get'
Martin Lewis, founder and editor of MoneySavingExpert.com, says: "The evidence is plain if you're buying digital or DIY products it's always worth seeing if you can knock the prices down – with Carphone Warehouse, Currys, B&Q and Homebase topping the poll.
"Yet even at John Lewis, the pin-up store for middle England – over 50% of people who try to haggle report winning. In some ways, that's not surprising. After all, if you promise "never knowingly undersold", that is virtually an invitation to haggle in the first place.
"So overall, we know many people are throwing cash away by not haggling. It's a 'don't ask, don't get' situation. After all, if a store yesterday offered a 20% off voucher, it can still afford to sell to you at that discounted price today – and may well do so if you have the charm and chutzpah to ask."
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Doing your research is key to haggling – you need to know what a really good value price is before you start. Here are our top tips:
- Pick your time. An empty Wednesday will be more successful than the Saturday before Christmas.
- Don't go for someone too junior – they've no discretion – or someone too senior, as they've no time. A mid-level supervisor is great.
- If it's already discounted, even just on sale, the door is open to reductions, so why not ask to push it further?
- If it's the last one left, offer to "help them clear their shelves for restocking".
- If it was on sale, but that's ended, you know they're willing to accept that price.
- Buy counter-seasonally. Barbecues are often easier to haggle on in November.
- If you're buying more than one product, a bulk-buy haggle is often easier – make a discount a condition of increasing the volume of your purchase.
- If you spot a flaw in a product (eg, loose button) this is a red flag to massively boost haggle power.
- Print internet prices out first, and talk to more than one store, then play them against each other – asking them to beat prices.
- If they're trying to flog you a warranty with a product, even though most are ridiculously overpriced, ask for a discount on the main product and then agree. After that, as warranties have a cooling-off period – just cancel it and keep the discount.
- If you're buying anything that has accessories (eg, a floor lamp) then ask them to throw those in for free (eg, the light bulbs). It's an easy haggle.
See our Haggle on the high street guide for more top tips and tricks.