Haggling often pays off, but you have to ask

Live chat feature online eases awkwardness

SAN ANTONIO – Ask and you may receive. That's the reality when it comes to haggling, according to Consumer Reports. The problem is, many people don't ask and end up paying more than they have to.

"A lot of people are actually really uncomfortable bargaining a price in store because they think it's rude. They think they're being cheap," said Consumer Reports' Tercius Bufete.

He recommends using the live chat feature on a retailer's website. Not only does it help with the awkwardness, it may boost your odds of getting a bargain. Consumer Reports readers  who haggled online reported greater success than those who did so face to face.

Even major retailers like Amazon may be willing to work  with you. While Amazon doesn't officially offer price matching, Consumer Reports found their customer service team very accommodating in terms of adjusting price or offering a credit.

"At the end of the day, they just want your business and they want you to keep buying things from them," Bufete said.

If you're not sure how to start, Bufete says first show the seller you are really interested in the item and engage the customer service representative by asking specific questions.

"When you ask these types of questions it really makes it look like you are ready to buy  the product and that makes it more likely for the retailer to offer you a discount," said Bufete.

Even if the rep won't lower the price, he may be able to sweeten the deal with something like free expedited shipping.

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