Frugal Hack #18: Call Customer Service and Haggle a Deal
In case you missed it, I was featured in The New York Times yesterday!
The story I was interviewed for is titled More Retailers See Haggling as a Price of Doing Business and it documents the idea of never accepting the price listed at retail stores. The story was actually on the front page of the print edition. Crazy, huh? A dude working in his pajamas from a home office makes the front page of the NY Times. Gotta love this country!
So today I wanted to continue with the topic of haggling for a better price. If you are an old friend to Rather-Be-Shopping.com you already know how to use Live Chat to score an online coupon as well as using stores price matching policies to your advantage when asking for a better price.
Believe it or not, I have yet another way to haggle for a better price with online stores that you probably NEVER considered. Here is the skinny behind this Frugal Hack:
Call Customer Service and Haggle
Real life example: The next time you are shopping at Kohl’s.com and find that perfect KitchenAid Stand Mixer to bake all your Christmas cookies, don’t just accept the online price given to you.
Always do some research yo! Within seconds you can find it at Amazon.com for only $323.26, over $25 less than what Kohl’s is selling it for.
At this point just call the Kohl’s customer service number, tell them you’re a loyal customer, and politely ask if they’ll match the Amazon.com price.
I think you’ll be pleasantly surprised with the willingness of many retailers to price match items directly over the phone.
After all, they know you have the items in your virtual shopping cart and you are just 1-click away from finalizing your transaction.
They don’t want to lose your business at that point. If the customer service rep refuses to match the price at the very least ask if they’ll knock off the shipping charges.
Instead of Haggling, Why Not Just Buy From the Cheapest Online Retailer?
Good question. Why wouldn’t I just buy the KitchenAid mixer from Amazon.com? Many consumers, perhaps you as well, are members of certain online retailer reward programs and get cash back and reward points on purchases.
So it makes sense to try and buy from only them so you can collect your member reward points. For example, members of Kohl’s reward program get $5 back on every $100 they spend.
So it makes total sense to call the Kohl’s customer service line and ask them politely if they’ll price match online prices from their competition.
Also, make sure to add a Kohl’s coupon code to your online order to get even more savings.
Speaking of coupons, some online stores may have better coupons available making them the store you want to buy from. You got nothing to lose and bundles of cash to potentially save by only spending a few minutes on the phone.
When This Frugal Hack Won’t Work
Like most unique ways to save money this hack won’t work with every store and every situation. Here are some caveats to be aware of:
- Most, if not all major retailers, will not honor coupon codes from online competitors. So you won’t be able to call up Best Buy.com and say, “Hey, I just a coupon code from NewEgg.com in my email for 10% off all digital cameras. Can you honor their coupon code?”
- Walmart, the biggest retailer in the world, has a written policy that they will not match Internet pricing.
- Macy’s won’t match online pricing but they have been known to offer consumers free shipping if you call customer service and try to negotiate.
Ask the Reader: Would you consider spending 5 minutes calling customer service to haggle for a better price? Maybe you have already done this. If so, were you successful in getting the price lowered?
By Kyle James