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ABC7 On Your Side: Bargain shopping

May 28, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
ABC7 is on your side helping you find ways to save money. And if there's something you just have to buy, now is the time to negotiate. In fact, Consumer Specialist Ric Romero says, there's never been a better time to haggle over everything from electronics and clothes to furniture -- even medical bills. Heather Ferrari has racked up lots of savings on all these things. She isn't shy about asking for a better price.

"Just do it. You have nothing to lose. You don't have to be aggressive and mean about it," said Heather Ferrari.

Consumer Reports' money expert Mandy Walker says your approach is critical.

"Demanding a discount will get you nowhere. And trying to work a deal in front of other customers is a bad idea, too. You want to find the person in charge, be polite, and be discreet," said Walker.

Consumer Reports' latest special money issue says in order to negotiate the best deal, you've got to do your homework.

"If you have proof an item is being sold for less elsewhere, ask the store to match it. But if you can't get a break on price, ask for free shipping, delivery, or installation," said Walker.

Another opportunity to haggle, floor models at furniture and appliance stores. Electronics stores, too. Consumer Reports finds more than 90 percent of those who've asked for a discount in the last few years got it on at least one purchase. Also, like Heather, keep an eye out for minor flaws.

"This bag was originally $20, but I got it for $3 because there was a rip in the lining," said Ferrari.

And paying with cash is another way to sweeten the deal. Finally, Consumer Reports says be prepared to walk away, as Heather has learned.

"It's when you start walking away. If you're not aggressive with them and you just start walking away I think it works better," said Ferrari.

You can bargain for just about anything these days. And as we learned when we teamed up with Consumer Reports, there are some winning strategies for getting the best deals.

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