By: Revanche

November: It never hurts to ask

December 8, 2009

I’ve always been an advocate of just asking for a discount, negotiating, or requesting fee waivers.  Negotiating and haggling take a lot of practice, but you can always start small with requests for refunds, discounts and waivers.  It’s a simple question, and worded politely, can save you a bundle! 

November’s forays:

Success!  Requesting a little stand to go with the piece I’d picked out as a gift from Little Dipper Castings.  I knew my giftee would never wear the piece as jewelry, but would love to display it. The seller was nice enough to throw in the requested display block, free. [saved $9 on the chain]

Success! Chase charged me an incoming wire transfer fee of $15.  As I’d called 4 times in the past verifying that I would not be charged, and been assured that I wouldn’t be, I called them back and the CSR immediately reversed the charge. [recouped $15]

Success! My wireless optical mouse rolled over and died.  I love this thing and desperately needed it to keep my hands from seizing up with cramps from using the [I think] mildly insane touchpad.  It’s got a few bats in the belfry.  A call to Logitech, and five minutes on hold, and voila!  A new mouse will be shipped out [via slowest ground shipping possible] without my having to return Defecto Mouse. [saved ~$45]


Work in progress!  That pesky rebate:  Those guys aren’t keeping my money! I called and pestered them, and tried to point out that they’re idiots for recording the shipping date as the order date nicely, and the guy acknowledged it, but couldn’t get them to process the rebate without sending in a second resubmission.  It’s been sent in, and I’ll follow up again until they send my check. 

Success!  AT&T hasn’t been applying the FAN (15%) discount to my account since my contract started 19 months ago despite my verified eligibility. Three phone calls later, the last of which was more than a little frustrating, yielded both the $6 discount from now on, and a credit on my account for the entire contract period.  [recouped $114] 

This set was about small wins for me, but Oil and Garlic recently had a great fat honkin’ win!

It’s kind of fun keeping track of these wins, big and small.  If anyone wants to join in the fun, or submit their own for inclusion, please email me!

10 Responses to “November: It never hurts to ask”

  1. That’s awesome! It’s all about the little steps.

  2. SS4BC says:

    Here is my story about asking for a discount.

    I was shopping at REI for some shoes. I had a $50 giftcard that needed to be used (this was a rebate giftcard from buying merchandise from them the year before).

    I found a beautiful pair of Merrells that I wanted. With my $50 GC, I would pay around $36 out of pocket for them. Not too bad.

    I went up the the cashier and smiled. Then I said “Hi, I would like to buy these shoes, but I don’t want to pay full price.”

    To which he replied (I kid you not): “How about a 20% discount?”

    Me (astonished that this actually worked): “Sure! That sounds great!”

    He rings them up – $86 with a 20% discount, we’re down to $63. I hand him my $50 giftcard. I pay $13 for my $86 pair of shoes. And could not have been happier.

    All because I ASKED.

    My dad was right: “If you don’t ask, the answer is no”

  3. Regarding rebates I like to have them processed in one phone call. So I ask to speak to the manager when the CSR doesn’t budge. The manager always takes care of the customer especially if you’re polite and patient. Managers are the gatekeepers to getting those pesky rebates validated.

  4. BF always teases me for being the discount/rebate asker

    I ALWAYS ask for something in restaurants and in stores, with no shame

    He loves it and keeps teasing me about it because he couldn’t even imagine asking for what I ask for sometimes.. 😛

    With that being said you know my little Forever 21 story too 😉

  5. oilandgarlic says:

    Congrats on all your successes! Although I’ve been documenting my bigger successes, I have yet to call back the dreaded cable company. I finally called my phone company yesterday and got a $5 discount. I was actually planning to cancel service (and still might) but I couldn’t decide on the spot. It wasn’t a horrible customer service experience and I’m happy to save, even if it’s only $5/month!

  6. Thanks for the ideas – I’m planning to implement this as soon as I buy anything in a real store. I was really blown away by the REI shoes – I’ve never even considered asking for a discount in big chains before. I’ll let you know if when I get my first win!

  7. I have yet to try the “asking” for a discount in retail stores — but that’s usually because I go shopping armed with coupons for the stores I plan to go to that day. But it works in other ways, too, such as by just making conversation. Today alone, I got a free cupcake because it was my birthday and had a jeweler take links out of my too-big watch for free.

  8. Sense says:

    The best I can think of in the past year for me is detailed here:

    http://sensetodollars.blogspot.com/2009/03/complaining-pays-off-in-more-ways-than.html

    thanks for the opportunity! and congrats on all of your little and big wins!

  9. Love it! The answer is always “no” if you don’t ask!

  10. Revanche says:

    @me in millions: Absolutely.

    @SS4BC: How cool is that, huh??
    I’ve heard a gal do almost the same thing once, at a regular store, and it worked for her, too.

    @sfordinarygirl: Usually that works for me too. Not this time, though.

    @FB: And who’s the winner? YOU ARE. 😀 Mock away, BF, mock away.

    @oilandgarlic: Like me in millions says, small steps! Even if you haven’t gotten everything done, at least you have gotten the big ones out of the way.

    @The Lost Goat: You’re very welcome, and I look forward to highlighting your first venture!

    @RainyDaySaver: Excellent point. I’ve posted before about freebies for being nice, somewhere around here.

    @Sense: The best you can do is good enough for me 🙂

    @ThirtySomething: Exactly. It’s easy to say, though, since a lot of us think: yeah, but I don’t want to actually ask and HEAR “no” either. Something we have to work on, really.

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