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Monday, 14 October 2013

Haggling

 First, let me get one thing clear. Haggling is the act of getting a better price than the first offer; bartering is the act of swapping one good or service for another, without money changing hands. Some people use the word "barter" when they mean "haggle". I don't.

One of our family domain names came up for renewal. I asked ladysolly if we were still using it, and she was, so I have to renew it.

Network Solutions want £115.59, plus VAT = £138.71 for a five year renewal.  VAT? They're a US company. If I'm paying VAT, it should be to a VAT-registered company. Are they registered? I don't know.

So I had a look at Godaddy. They want £47.75 for five years if it were a new registration, but it isn't, it's a transfer, so that's £26.45. They say nothing about VAT. And, by the way, that tells me that they should be willing to go for £26.45 if it's a renewal. Noted for future reference.

Network Solutions did make me an emailed offer when they reminded me about the renewal, though.  The renewal would be cheaper if I renewed for only one year. But it's still £138.71 for a five year renewal. Plus VAT.

So I set the transfer in motion. It isn't easy, nor should it be! I had to unlock the domain name at Network Solutions and request a code. Then I had to tell Godaddy that I wanted to transfer, and paid them, and got a code from them. Then I waited three days and got the code from Network Solutions. Then I tried to use it, and got refused because I changed my fax number a few weeks ago. So I had to call tech support. They give the number as 1-888-642-0209, but from the UK (I found out after some googling) that's 001-888-642-020.

I got through to Howard. I asked him to remove the block, and he asked me why I was changing registrar. I told him "You're too expensive". He came back with an immediate offer of $9.99 per year, that's £31. A far cry from £115.59,

I told him that wasn't cheap enough. So he offered $8.99. I asked him if he could do $7.99, he asked his boss, and boss said yes. So now they're at $39.95 = £25, so I said, "OK then." Then he said "Plus VAT", which brings it up to £30.

So I said "No", because I felt that I was being treated like a muggins.

The fact is, the service that they provide is entirely automated. OK, they do need staff; programmers and support staff. But their marginal cost of providing this service is near-zero, and that's why A) they were so willing to come down from £138 to £30, and B) why they have competitors that are so much cheaper.

I've had this domain name for 15 years or so.  Loyal customers get rewarded with higher prices; that's standard in this world, it's called the "Loyalty premium". Unless they threaten to move, in which case they get offered more reasonable prices. Howard gave me a number to call in future because I have a few other domain names with them, that's 877 307 1435, and you probably put 01 in front it if, but I'm not sure. He says that will get me lower prices.

Wouldn't it be nice if they offered me those lower prices without me having to haggle? But it won't happen. So that's the message -  haggle. Ask for a lower price.

So when is it right to haggle? Not in Tesco, for example. But it's very much worth haggling if what you're buying has a very small cost to the vendor (as in this case) compared to the price they're asking. And if you can easily take your business elsewhere.

And how far can you go with the haggle? That's an art; you need to think about the cost to the vendor, the price from his competitors, and how important the last few pennies are to you, compared to the time you're spending in the haggle. Also, I don't bother giving detailed reasons for wanting a lower price.

I haggle because in such cases when I don't, I feel that I've been ripped off with my own connivance.

5 comments:

  1. Interesting...

    Why not haggle in Tescos, many a time i have offered to pay a rounded down price, it doesnt work in Tescos, but I have found you can do it successfully in the high street!

    Re Transfers etc, I have a .co.uk site hosted by FVS, it was a free one and had a 100MB limit, as I have been blogging for about 10 years now i have reached my limit!! Been blagging a lot longer tho! So, I also have a paid for hosting at Hostgator, with unlimited domains etc etc. I asked them if I could transfer my .co.uk account to them, and (this is where I think we or rather i misunderstood things) they said it would cost £50, even tho from what I could see on the site it says the first one is free!! Result, I moved all my .com sites to FVS, for free and started paying them £9 a month rather than the Americans! But, I am thinking it gets confusing, when you think about the Domain registration and the hosting and I wonder if they thought I wanted to transfer the registration to them. I moved the wordpress blog totally on my own, and reset the nameservers to the new site without getting any codes, so I am thinking perhaps Hostgator lost my business over a total misunderstanding ??

    One day i will get around to reading your book Hosting, Nameservers and Domains.

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  2. Let me know what it says.

    £9 per month sounds like a lot for hosting a mostly text site.

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  3. ok, thanks, Next month I will HAGGLE!! :)

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  4. For example, godaddy.com offer $3.49/month, "unlimited bandwidth"

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  5. Namecheap is low cost and ethical (unlike GoDaddy). Google "GoDaddy boycott". I switched to Namecheap and have been very satisfied.

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