More than three quarters of those who've tried to haggle with 10 big-name providers have managed to agree a better deal, with the AA and Sky the companies most open to negotiation, according to a poll of almost 4,000 MoneySavingExpert users.
We asked who you've tried to haggle with in the past year and whether you had a big success, small success or no success at all. Some 3,847 MoneySavers told us how they got on with 54 firms across five different sectors – from broadband providers to banks (see the Haggle with Sky, AA & more guide for full tips).
A massive 88% of AA and Sky customers managed to barter their way to a better deal, with around 60% securing big savings. Both companies have been voted in the top three for haggling in our last four consecutive haggling polls.
Strikingly at least three out of four customers reported success with all 10 of the top service providers – showing the power of haggling no matter what sector the company you're dealing with is in.
Top 10 service providers to haggle with
|PROVIDER||SMALL SUCCESS||BIG SUCCESS||TOTAL SUCCESS RATE|
|4. Virgin Media||42%||41%||83%|
|7. Hastings Direct||39%||41%||80%|
|8. Direct Line||43%||35%||78%|
Only firms with 100+ votes included. Figures are percentages of those who tried to haggle. Poll carried out in Dec 2015 – see full results.
'I saved £50 a month'
We're always hearing haggling success stories from MoneySavers, such as the following.
Forumite Cheekyspeaky said: "Spoke to the AA after my renewal came through at a whopping £346. Without too much effort I got the bill down to £230 – not bad for 5 minutes' work!"
@HoopsmanBrian tweeted: "Rang Sky & asked it to match Virgin's Big Kahuna movies and sport – now £50/mth, down from £100/mth."
Forumite Alan the Anonymous said: "The price of my cover kept going through the roof until it hit £240+, so I phoned RAC and said it was way too expensive and might leave. After rejecting the revised offer the price was finally slashed to £100, and the package was upgraded too."
'Never auto-renew – if you want to stay, haggle'
Steve Nowottny, news and features editor at MoneySavingExpert.com, says: "The art of haggling can be practised from the comfort of your armchair, but it can save you £100s a year. Many service providers operate in mature markets, meaning there's hot competition for customers – and they're often willing to cut a deal if it means you'll stay.
"Sometimes there's a perception that haggling 'just isn't British', or has to be incredibly awkward, but asking for a discount isn't rude, it's just playing the game. Do your research, call up and remember a little charm can go a long way. The results of this poll show the odds are very much in your favour."
Top haggling tips
Haggling's an art not a science, but to get you started, here are five top tips.
- Timing is crucial – near the end of your contract is when you wield the most power, so be ready to act.
- Even if you don't really want to leave, bluff. If you're not happy with the price tell them you want out; you'll be put through to 'disconnections', whose job it is to keep you as a customer.
- Know your stuff by researching prices in advance so you understand what a good deal is – see the Cheap Broadband, Cheap Breakdown Cover, Cheap Digital TV and Cheap Mobiles guides for our best buys.
- Don't feel pressured into agreeing a price or cancelling your service. If you want more time to think about it, just say "I need to talk to my wife/husband/dog".
- Finally, if the firm won't budge, switch provider – that's what competition's for.
For full info see the Haggling with Service Providers guide, and for guides featuring specific help with different providers see Broadband Haggling, Mobile Haggling, Breakdown Haggling, Insurance Haggling, and haggling with Sky, BT, TalkTalk, Virgin and Plusnet.