High street haggling - could you be paying less?

High street haggling - could you be paying less?

author: Emily

By Emily

Haggling isn’t just for the markets of Morocco – it’s alive and well in British high streets. Here’s how you can talk yourself into a better deal.

Despite haggling overseas, we Brits rarely try to work the price down in our own high street shops. You might be surprised to know that, according to UK law, there’s no set price until money changes hands.

And here at Ocean, we’re strong believers in getting more for your money – so we’ve put together these top tips to help you haggle on the high street.

Haggle online

If you’re an online shopper, there are ways you could work down the cost of your electronic basket. When you put together a basket and head to check out, you could hold off before you complete the purchase. If you leave it hanging for a little while, you may find that they’ll come back to you offering a discount code to redeem on your ‘abandoned’ shopping cart.

Alternatively, many shops have a live chat pop up on their site. If you’re feeling bold, you could try using the chat to ask for a discount code. You could be pleasantly surprised!

Play it cool

Whether it’s a sofa or an engagement ring, if you’re gushing over something, the salesperson will likely feel confident they’re about to make a sale. However, if you’re umming and ahhing over an item like you’re not fully convinced, they could offer you a discount to sweeten the deal.

Shop independent

You could seek out the independent stores for good haggling opportunities. Because independent shop owners might not need to answer to any sales targets from HQ, they could be free to engage in a bit of haggling. They’ll be keen for your custom, too, so you could find they’ll want to beat the prices of the high street giants.

Go direct

On a similar note, by avoiding price-comparison sites or booking sites, you could strike a better deal if you go straight to the source.

Take hotels for example. The prices you see on sites like Trivago will be fixed, whereas the actual hotel could have the freedom to offer you a lower price if you ask them. And by doing a direct deal with you, they won't have to split their profit with any other third party - so it could be in their interest to haggle with you! 

Talk about switching

Here’s an old classic… if you’re a loyal customer of a utility provider, you could save yourself some pennies by looking to switch providers. If you shop around for some competitive deals, be sure to tell your current supplier. It's likely that they might price-match the deal you’ve found, especially if it’s a phone or television package.

Look for flaws

If an item’s a bit tattered or has a slight stain, it might not sell. If you don’t mind your purchases looking a little less than perfect, you could shave some money off the item. Some shops might mark down the costs themselves, but if you find a flaw yourself the salesperson might knock money off the total cost – if you ask them nicely!

Time it right

Timing is essential when it comes to bagging bargains. In terms of picking the right time of day, you could pick a more peaceful shopping time, like a weekday afternoon. This’ll mean that many shop owners or assistants could have more time to think and discuss prices with you.

Think about the time of year or month, too. Many salespeople have daily, monthly and yearly targets to hit, which means they’re focused on selling as many products as possible to reach their goal. However, a good rule of thumb is to head to the shops at the end of the day or month – or towards the end of the tax year – as they may be trying to flog their remaining stock to meet their targets.

Throw in a…

If you’ve got your eye on a new car, or a fancy gadget, you could try asking the salesperson to throw in something on top before agreeing to the deal. After all, you’re already planning on parting ways with your money – if free car servicing or gadget insurance means you’ll buy the product, you may find that some stores could be open to throwing these in at no extra cost.   


It’s always worth an ask, even if they say no. And don’t forget to wear your best smile!

Let us know your own top tips on Facebook or Twitter.

Disclaimer: All information and links are correct at the time of publishing.

author: Emily

By Emily

High street haggling - could you be paying less? High street haggling - could you be paying less?