How to Negotiate Discounts on Uncovered Repairs
Consider This: "Companies don't always charge for repairs after the warranty has expired," says Patrick Griffin, a service manager for Dell. Common problems might not require a recall but may be so prevalent that a company will fix the glitch for free.
Try This: Enter the full name of the product ("Brand X digital camera M16") and the problem ("cracked view screen") into a search engine to find chat rooms where people have discussed similar troubles and learn what the company has done for them. Call the returns department, not customer service, to talk to someone who can authorize a free repair or a replacement. Tell them you're loyal to the brand, but that you've seen online evidence of widespread issues with the product. (Related: Extend the Life of Electronic Gagdets)
How to Negotiate Discounts on Home Repairs and Improvements
Consider This: Comparing bids from several contractors will give you some leverage with the one you'd like to hire.
Try This: Get three to five bids, and be clear about the products you want to use. If your preferred contractor is at the high end, say so and offer to show him the other bids. He may adjust his price. When hiring a plumber or a tradesman for a small job, ask him to break down his price into labor and materials. About 35 percent should be materials and 65 percent labor, says construction estimator Al Paxton. If the ratio seems wrong, say so. But be diplomatic. "If you squeeze him too hard, he might give you less than first-class workmanship and use less expensive materials," Paxton says. Or do it yourself with these Easy DIY Home Repairs.
How to Negotiate Discounts on Online Purchases
Consider This: You can't haggle online. But there are websites (such as www.shopzilla.com, www.froogle.com, and www.nextag.com that track and compare Internet prices for products and direct you to the best bargains. They also rate the sellers based on customer reviews.
Try This: To squeeze the price even further, call a regular store that stocks the product and ask that store to match the best price you saw advertised online. "We are very likely going to drop our price to beat another reputable dealer," says Abe Brown of J&R Music and Computer World. (You can find a list of authorized dealers by contacting the product's manufacturer or, in many cases, just going to its website.)