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.