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10 Tips for Haggling with A/V Retailers
10 Tips for Haggling Retailers
July 08, 2008 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Haggling isn’t just for car lots and garage sales. It can also help you get a better deal from the big box electronics retailers.
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Posted by Gordon Jones  on  07/07  at  12:33 PM

here’s a couple more:
11. if the salesperson isn’t budging on price, have an accessory or two in mind that they can throw in, or discount.

12. while dealing with the floor salesperson agree to buy the extended warranty if they lower the unit price. then, when your in line to pay at the front of the store, tell the cashier you’ve changed your mind and remove the warranty. not really haggling i guess, just cheap ;)

Posted by Allan  on  07/08  at  10:23 AM

Another tactic that I have used to great success when dealing with chain stores is to negotiate at one store and if I don’t get the price then go to one of their other stores. I’ve actually walked out of the second store with a better deal than I was willing to give the first one.

Posted by Dave  on  07/08  at  10:47 AM

Do not say well i’ll have to go to XXX if the store your in does not give you the right price at first. Saying your going to a competitor only makes some of us chuckle and we will let you walk. Also being nice does go a long way, and we are not suppose to discount the tv so you can buy the service plan so that one doesnt work either. the more things you plan on buying at once the more likely you are to get a deal PERIOD.

Posted by Eric  on  07/08  at  01:29 PM

Dave, you’re only half right.

I bought my TV using a similar tactic.  I found the sale price at Best Buy, it was lower than circuit city.  I asked for the 110% match, but with Best Buy’s financing and rewards they still had the edge.  I was confident (and polite) and said, I want the TV for $xxxx and I’ll buy it right now.  I ended up giving Circuit city my business for the deal they gave me and for the helpful service they had (better than BB).

Anyway, I there’s no way to be a grad student an A/V enthusiast without haggling big box stores.  I’m glad this blog confirmed my actions.

Posted by Loran Harding  on  07/08  at  02:59 PM

Just a tip, folks. NO NOT EVER get between a salesperson and their customer, telling the customer how to get it cheaper. You won’t like what happens when the customer leaves if you are still there.

Posted by Todd  on  07/08  at  03:14 PM

Dave you’re a loser. Don’t bully us potential buyers! Salesmen like you are one reason I shop at specialty shops. That and arguably better stuff and way better customer service. They appreciate my business.

Posted by Joe  on  07/08  at  04:49 PM

Do these tactics work when I am using a gift card as partial payment? Suppose I want to purchase a $300 dvd player & have a $200 gift card in hand. Will the salesperson still be willing to negotiate on the price or not?

Posted by Jason  on  07/08  at  05:15 PM


As with car purchases, always negotiate the price of the car prior to talking about a trade-in, so negotiate the price of the item first then use the G.C. to pay.  No big deal, plastic G.C.‘s are worth the same money that paper cash is.

Posted by blake  on  07/08  at  07:23 PM

i think alot has to do with the particular salesperson and timing. if i’m having a hard time getting the price down, i usually come back another day at a different time and try someone else. some salespeople are just more flexible (or desperate). this seems fairly obvious but i’ve seen customers spin there wheels with the same associate for an eternity. the more experienced salespeople are also more familiar with what they can get away with, but that can work both ways when it comes to getting a good deal. none of this is rocket science, but the article gives some good tips, though somewhat generic.

Posted by Todd  on  07/08  at  10:55 PM

A salesperson will not drop their pants when it comes to a “deal” if there’s nothing in it for them.  Every dollar they discount affects their earnings too. So I wouldn’t expect a deal of the century if you don’t plan on buying the cabling,warranties, etc from them.  Some big box chains are no longer allowed to carry certain lines of TVs because the TV company feels their excessive discounting will devalue their product.

Gordon…#12 I can guarantee 99.999999999% of the time will not work unless you’ve got the chump salesman of the year.  The price is adjusted for warranty.  If you reconsider the price goes back up.  The TV won’t go up front without the salesman so I doubt that tactic would ever work.

Work a smart deal but don’t expect a steal.  Shop the competition and give them your quotes.  See if there is anything more they can do to get your business.  The worst thing you can do is to first ask what kind of a deal you can get.  You will not be taken seriously.

Posted by Mark Weusten  on  07/09  at  02:38 AM

Hey! Also remember that once you have settle on your special “deal” price, tell the associate that you are paying CASH, not by creditcard, and you want the extra 3% off for a cash purchase. Reason being that any creditcard purchase automatically loses money for the store and they wait longer to get it - with cash the store gets its money immediately and no % goes to visa/mastercard, etc.,

Oh, and absolutely haggle even if you have a giftcard… but this is a good question, when we use giftcards, does the value on the GC go to the store where the GC was purchased or to the store where it was spent? Depending, this would influence the sales person, I think.

Posted by Steven  on  07/09  at  07:18 AM

Ok my response to Mark about asking for the extra 3% off if paying cash. In theory yes it’s true but in reality the salesperson a big store doesn’t care how you pay and he cannot get the extra % off, if it was on my shift and you asked i’d probably kick you in the junk if you tried that after i’d negotiated my BEST price :-)

So guys, as someone who works in these shops i’ll let you know how it works for me…. I earn an hourly rate + 10% of the gross profit from the deal. I am not penalised if i don’t make my budget, I still get my pay and commission. So I may take skinny deals if you are nice about it or have great cleavage but I won’t care if i lose a deal because we can’t agree on a reasonable price.

I also get a little annoyed when customers ask a million questions, trusting my expertise and opinions of a product yet won’t trust me to work out a fair price for them. If my opinion on product suitability and the like is not important than don’t ask me, waste my time and then get annoyed you couldn’t get 50% of a TV or something similarly absurd.

It’s really amusing to me that the other day in my hometown a gas station lowered their price by 10c a litre for 2 hours and people waited in their cars to save how much? $6-10 on a full tank, yet if i do the right thing and give a discount more is expected. It blows my mind! maybe i should take $10 off your 52” Bravia LCD and give you a free tank of fuel?

Posted by Gordon Jones  on  07/09  at  09:05 AM

Todd, agreed it’s a longshot, but i’ve seen that tactic work twice at different big box stores. however, i think the best method for getting a good price is watching the sales (and of course my deals) and being smart about the numbers - coupons, 12mos no interest, etc..

Posted by Bruce  on  07/09  at  09:46 AM

I’ve been successful in the past by saying “I’m ready to buy this TV today, but I’d like you to throw in [something extra].” I got a free 4-head VCR when I tried this many years ago. I wish I had asked for something more useful, but that was then.

Posted by DSM  on  07/11  at  04:35 PM

There is no point on dropping trou for a deal as a salesperson.  Everyone in it for the long haul knows that more money is made on the repeat side, not the one-off.  If all you want is price than that tells me instantly that you are not concerned about a long-term relationship, either with me or my company.  That said, there is little incentive.  If you want a great price, roll those dice online.

Posted by Brandon  on  07/12  at  06:57 PM

Honestly, the best way to get a deal is to go in around clearance time.  Most retailers will have crazy sales for new in box products and even better deals for the shelf displays.  If you get in during that time, you are going to be doing them a big favor by getting it off of their hands and they will usually return it - I’ve gotten some good deals that way!

Never underestimate the power and bonding ability of clearance.

Posted by Joe  on  07/17  at  11:32 PM

EH - you will not be getting another cent from us for a dealer listing. It’s astonishing that you would endorse this type of behavior by printing this article.

Posted by rick  on  07/18  at  01:37 PM

Legally speaking a lot of the stuff you are talking about is illegal; giving away or discounting TVs to sell warranties is considered inboarding and is highly illegal.  Giving away installs on the other hand is not only against most company policies at any retail store but is also a bad idea for the consumer a free installation would not be covered by any of the warranties or liabilities normally associated with such things.  As a long time retail employee I can tell you the best way to haggle and the only useful tip from this article is to do your homework, and be polite.  If you bring in a competitors ad or a printoff from their website, hell even something from amazon, and have a smile on your face or at least a decent human composure, me or any of my counterparts at any store will probably take something off. 
    A very helpful tip would also be to use in house financing if you say you’ll pay cash it doesn’t help but the in store cards usually make the stores money so apply for the card, use it, pay it off and have one more bargaining chip in your bag.  Key is DON’T USE MAJOR CREDIT CARDS they cost retail store often 6-10% of those sales you are trying to get deals on, with razor thin margins as is 6-10% makes a difference.
    Finally realize that that brick and mortar store you go into has bills to pay and those employees are not volunteers.  A store is a business and everyone in there knows that, adding cables and accesories can often add to the margin that a sales person has to work with.  Rarely expect a deal on products by themselves.
  Next time I read an electronic house article I really hope there is some research done before just throwing stuff down on a page.  From experience though I can tell you, my tips will definetly help you get the best deal.

Posted by Chris  on  07/18  at  08:12 PM

6-10% discount rate on credit cards?  You guys might want to negotiate those fees down.  We’re currently at 1.7% for qualified retail transactions for visa/mc.

Posted by AV consumer  on  07/25  at  08:22 PM

Joe and DSM:

Joe you are mad the site is telling people how to be more educated consumer?  Tell me you pay sticker price for everything in your house, garage, boat slip etc?

DSM, I’ll roll the dice online, save 500-600 on the new TV I buy every year and not have to deal with the bullspit in the reatail store.  The online shops - crutchfield, vanns, onecall have people with much more product knowledge than most stores do, and actually frequent AV enthusiasts website. Also, I won’t be pressured into some crappy third party warranty or be told how great monster cables are.

You are a dying breed and so are the big box stores.  Wake up and learn from your competition instead of belittling it.  Guess who gets my repeat business?  I dropped over ten grand when I built my last house at the local sound advice, but when my new home is outfitted next year, it will be done
in a couple of phonecalls to the above websites.

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