Tag Archive for 'resellerratings'

The art of negotiating the lowest price

This is not my favorite topic to write about since I am not good at bargaining the lowest price. It is a very psychological process and I don’t feel comfortable doing it face to face.

Thanks to the internet I don’t have to. I can do most of my shopping online in the comfort of my home. Even with such things like new cars, while I still have to come to inspect the purchase in person, I don’t have to negotiate the car price at the dealership.

Prices on all big-ticket items are usually negotiable and price negotiating skills can be very helpful when there is no choice but to buy something in a brick and mortar store. This is why when I stumbled upon this Readers Digest article full of haggling tips I couldn’t resist not to comment on it. Here are the 5 skills outlined in it with my own comments and examples from my shopping experience.

Remember that prices on big-ticket items are negotiable

We often forget that if the price is above $100 it almost always means it is negotiable. I was negotiating prices for the washer and drier when we bought our house 4 years ago. I bargained last year when we had the storm door installed. And I never skip the chance to haggle when we buy a new mattress.

Not all of sales assistants have the power to cut the price and some can only do a very limited reduction. If you don’t seem to be having success with a particular sales person, don’t be afraid to ask for the manager.

Don’t be afraid of silence, it almost always works in your favor

People who are in the retail shopping business are usually pros in their niche and know exactly what the price should be. With rare exceptions (Black Friday door busters?), the price will be average and will have a built in margin to account for the case when you start bargaining and the seller has to give up some. My biggest problem is that when I see something I like for the price that I think is right, I get attached to it and feel afraid to lose it.

The art of getting the best price is to remain flexible. Don’t concentrate on one thing. Play uncertainty. Hesitate. Stay silent at the negotiation. The sales assistant may just snap off and offer you a better deal to secure you as a customer.

If your competitors can do it for less, you guys probably can too

Price matching is a very effective negotiating technique. This is why it is important to do your home work before you head for the store. Call a few places, get the quotes, and go to the place of your choice. It doesn’t necessarily have to be the one with the lowest price. For example when I was buying our TV I got a quote from ABS and Sears. The price was lower at ABS but Sears was closer to my house and had better warranty terms so I drove over there and bought the TV for the price ABS offered.

Don’t start with the details — talk first about how you feel as a customer

This part of price negotiation is the most difficult for me as I am not good at showing my emotions in open. Nevertheless it worked for me a few times in the past. Once I bought a vacuum cleaner that I thought was on sale. When I came home I realized the price was higher than I thought I paid. I felt I was tricked.

It is hard to say what exactly happened, maybe the assistant’s broken English was partially the reason. Anyway, I called the store and explained the situation. I didn’t go into any details, I just poured my feelings about how upset I was. The sales person who sold me the vacuum cleaner wasn’t available to remedy the problem and I said I am returning it back. As I was already on my way to the store, a manager called and said they will credit the difference.

Request a compensation when a store breaks its contract

When the repairs you order are not done on time, when the construction materials you purchase are not delivered the next day as promised, you have every right to expect something in return. The fittest and slimmest businesses survive, this is the foundation of our capitalistic economy. Who else but you as a consumer can enforce this rule?

Unfortunately you can’t always expect a positive result. I am still puzzled how scam shops survive in our time of open source, collaboration, and social networking. This however happens here in there and I am sure you know what to do if you are not treated fairly. BBB, Yelp, and ResellerRatings are just a few places to go when in trouble.

Rating ResellerRatings

This post continues the weekly series of website reviews. My last review of FatWallet and their Store Ratings page tipped me to the next website I wanted to review, that is ResellerRatings. It is currently number 10 in my popular bargain hunting sites list and has been holding this position for a few months now.

The two previous websites I reviewed, FatWallet and SlickDeals, attract visitors with their busy Hot Deals forums. ResellerRatings operates in a different market niche.

Rating merchants

I think I will not break news by saying that ResellerRatings biggest asset is the huge number of store reviews they amassed over the 8 years they have been in the business. This is what they are known for and this is why many shoppers keep coming back to them. The feature proved to be so useful that one of the users developed a FireFox plugin which adds an item to the right-click menu that will open a review page for the merchant you are browsing.

ResellerRatings do not just collect and display merchant reviews, they offer a number solutions for merchants to help them better understand what their customers think about them. Have you ever seen those customer feedback surveys that pop up after you make a purchase? That is how ResellerRatings collect the information that they then sell back to the merchants.

Merchants holding a Premium Account ($59 a month as of writing this) gain extra powers. ResellerRatings will notify them about a negative review which in turn may prompt the merchant to settle the dispute and have the customer correct the review. A lesson for us? It does pay to complain in open, the merchants are more willing to correct the problem. Some even pay to be able to do it faster!

Ratings are skewed

I tend to think that merchants that don’t solicit their customers with feedback surveys happen to get lower ratings. It is in human nature to come to places like ResellerRatings only when in trouble. Here is for example CompUSA rating:

CompUSA ResellerRatings reviews

Could this really be the case that only 1 out of 10 customers were happy with their shopping experience in the past 6 months? I very doubt so. You will find a similar picture for Circuit City and Best Buy. On the other hand, MeritLine has a 9 out of 10 rating, just as do many of the other premium ResellerRatings merchants.

Comparison shopping

ResellerRatings has a powered comparison engine integrated with their in-house store ratings and merchandise reviews from Epinions. It is nothing special and I would suggest you to take a look at other alternatives if comparing prices is what you are looking for.

Hot deals

The Hot Deals section is clearly underdeveloped. Not surprisingly it is listed the last in the main menu. One thing worth mentioning. Late last year ResellerRatings launched a deals aggregator which I reviewed in December. I don’t quite understand why they did it. I would rather spend the time and effort improving the current Hot Deals section instead.


ResellerRatings is a great resource for merchant reviews. I can only think of one other place that may challenge them by the number of reviews, and that is Epinions. Be aware though that merchants who do not solicit ResellerRatings customer feedback surveys at checkout often have their rating skewed.

If you came to ResellerRatings looking for hot shopping deals, don’t waste your time, there is plenty of other sources with many of them offering larger number of deals and better user interface.

SlickDeals popularity — a case study

This post starts a weekly series of website reviews. Just as I promised I will review one bargain site a week. With rare exceptions, the website needs to be in my popular websites list. The websites that offers something unique will be given a priority over the rest.

The bargain site of this week is SlickDeals. It is a very popular website, in fact they just bypassed their archi-rival FatWallet for the first time since I started tracking both in September 2006. So what makes SlickDeals “the number one” bargain site in the entire web?

Some not so slick pages

For starters they hand pick the hottest deals and post them on the front page which perfectly works for the “lazy” majority. The collection of coupons looks pretty impressive as well. The Price Comparison is powered by PriceGrabber and doesn’t present anything special just as the Store Ratings page which is co-branded with ResellerRatings, the leader in this niche. SlickDeals has a very nice home grown Amazon Fillers tool. Use it when you need to add a buck or two to qualify for Amazon’s free shipping on orders of $25 or more. However I bet none of these pages get much use.

Coupons Bug

Here is a proof. Browse to Store Ratings page and from there try clicking on the Coupons menu. You will notice that the link is broken and redirects to a domain squatter, “”. It is hard to believe that something like this would go unnoticed for long on a website that gets many thousands of visitors a day. The only explanation I can think of is that all of the visitors don’t browse to these parts of the website. They all go straight to the forums which is where all of the action happens. (Update: the team fixed the bug after this article was published)

Where all the action happens

SlickDeals user forums are arguably the most popular bargain hunting web forums on the net. Hot Deals, the most popular of them, produces hundreds of posts and thousands of user comments daily. This is the place where I go if I need details on a certain promotion or discount. Since there are so many people participating there is a good chance someone has already attempted to use it and posted their feedback. The community behind these forums is SlickDeals’ most valuable asset.

SlickDeals forum posts

SlickDeals is doing a great job keeping the posters rewarded for digging out bargains. Reputation based voting system is the cornerstone of the SlickDeals forums community. As users gain reputation they obtain certain profile attributes and other perks such as ability to give negative reputation to other users and access to closed areas of the forums.

Forums openness is another important factor that attracts people to SlickDeals. Life stories like this (Title: Another case of hurt feelings on FW) produce flame posts like this (Title: Oh why does Fatwallet suck?) and the ball just keeps rolling. “Corporate shills” is how SlickDeal’ers commonly refer to FatWallet forum moderators in The Lounge, the second popular forum where there is absolutely no inappropriate topic to discuss.

New features improve the site

SlickDeals keep adding features, and maybe not as aggressively as they should, they make the website easier to use with each upgrade. The recent addition includes Post Tags, First Post Preview and Deal Alerts (right now in closed beta testing). The preview lets you read the first post of a forum thread without opening the thread page. The alerts allow you to set up instant email notifications on forum new posts by keywords and/or thread rating.

SlickDeals New Features

This long overdue functionality is exactly what prompted me to start WiredDeals back in summer of 2006. Thank you Mr. SlickDeals! What took you so long? Now how about a more advanced search and threads filtering? ;-)


As with any social website an active community is ultimately the best way to build an even bigger community. As the web expands small sites get bigger but big established sites get bigger even faster. SlickDeals benefited from an early start and firmly established itself as the leader among the younger part of population.

If customizable avatars, long signatures, and fancy smile icons is what important for you — head for SlickDeals and you will feel yourself home. If you think you are too grown up for this childish stuff, wait a week until I review a SlickDeals alternative for conservative type — FatWallet. Until then, so long!

So long!

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