The power of negotiation when shopping

FRESNO, Calif.

A national survey of 2,000 shoppers reveals that only about half tried negotiating in the last few years. When Kaitlin Deane goes shopping, she never pays full price.

"I love to haggle. It's nice to bargain down people on certain things that you want to get for yourself," Deane said.

Like Kaitlin, most shoppers who haggle get a better deal.

"Eighty-nine percent of those who tried haggling for all sorts of goods and services were successful at it. Men, well, they enjoyed haggling slightly more than women did, but women were equally as effective when they tried haggling," Tod Marks of Consumer Reports said.

What can you save? Consumer Reports survey found furniture shoppers saved a lot, $300 on average.

Doctor and dentist bills also came down $300 when people negotiated, though fewer people tried. And people who haggled for appliances saved an average of $200.

One secret to Kaitlin's success, she is not afraid to speak up

"Recently, on a shirt I just purchased there was a little stain on it, so I asked them for a percentage off, and they gave me 10 percent off," Deane said.

Consumer reports' shopping whiz Tod Marks has other winning strategies.

"The most popular tactic consumers told us that they used to get a discount was to simply tell the salesperson that they're going to check a competitor's prices," Marks said.

Marks say also effective: researching to find a competitive price before you negotiate.

"The only way you find out what a fair price is, is to check online forums, to check fliers, to check web versus in-the-store prices," said Marks.

And a Consumer Report says it pays to be polite.

"Remember, you can catch more flies, and discounts, with honey than you can with vinegar," said Marks

Another area where you should consider negotiating is over bank and credit-card fees. Consumer Reports says people who did, saved an average of $100. Interesting to note, people are less likely to negotiate than they were five years ago - that's the last time consumer reports checked.

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