Haggle online and get lowest price

FRESNO, Calif.

Gene Menzies saved more than $400 on this computer and $150 on this audio system. When he bought his new TV, he got a $100 gift certificate thrown in. And he got all that by bargaining – online!

"When I buy online and do some of this bargaining, I'll be saving 10 to 20 percent over what I find in the store."

Gene's one of more than 26,000 subscribers Consumer Reports surveyed on buying electronics.

"We found that people who bargained online were just as successful as those who bargained inside the stores themselves," Tod Marks said.

Whether you're online or in the store, people had the most success haggling for prices on TVs, saving an average of $165. And computer buyers saved an average of $105 in another survey.

So how do you get the prices down? First, check online for the lowest price. Then print out what you've found and take it to the store. Or if you're bargaining online like gene, call the website's customer-service number.

"I say, 'I've found it at XYZ store for this amount, can you beat it?'" Menzies said.

Not all websites make it easy to find a phone number. If you don't see one on the home page, look under "contact," "help," or "customer service." and consumer reports says it may work to try to bargain online by sending an e-mail or using live chat, if the website offers it.

And if you're buying more than one item, Gene's got another bargaining trick.

"I said, 'Look, I want two of these things. What can you do?' And they gave me ten percent off."

Those negotiating techniques work in stores, too. And if you can't get the price down, ask for free accessories or free shipping.

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