How I Saved an Extra $20 on a Purchase I'd Already Made ... Just By Asking

The other day, I bought a parka from the online retailer Sierra Trading Post. The site showed a list price of $179, but had it marked down to $95. As an added bonus, there was a 20 percent off coupon code that knocked the price down to $76. With $10 for shipping, my total came to $86. I felt like I'd gotten a pretty good deal.

Until the next day, that is. I went back to the site to take another look at my soon-to-arrive coat, and found to my dismay that the price had been lowered to $80. Even worse, a new code now appeared on the site offering 30 percent off. If I'd just waited one more day, I would have saved an extra $20.

So I brought up the site's customer service chat feature, and immediately got to talking with a nice woman named Bridget. I explained my situation, and asked if I could have the new, lower price.

After quickly checking on my order, she came back with good news: "This will take just one moment to adjust this price." My new total: $80, minus 30 percent, plus $10 for shipping, equaling $66. I'd saved $20 in less than five minutes, and I hadn't even needed to pick up the phone.

As deal-hunters like to say, your mileage may vary. In my case, I was helped by the fact that my order hadn't shipped yet; Bridget may have figured that if she didn't offer me a price adjustment, I would just cancel my order before it shipped, and then re-order it at the new price.

Or maybe I'm wrong, and she would have processed the price adjustment even if it had already shipped. It's hard to say, because as far as I can tell, Sierra Trading Post doesn't seem to have a formal, public policy about post-purchase price adjustments. Most retailers don't publicly state their policy on such matters. You just need to ask, and cross your fingers.
And that's a good lesson for any transaction: You never know how much money you can save unless you ask. Amazon is known for giving post-purchase price adjustments to customers who don't even ask, but it's the exception, not the rule: If you want to get something extra, you need to be willing to ask for it.

And this doesn't just apply to price adjustments. If you can't find a free shipping code, for instance, you can use that online chat tool to ask if they'd be willing to throw in free shipping to close the deal. And when you're in a store, you might be able to get an extra, unpublished discount if you're willing to haggle your way up the managerial food chain.

If they can offer 20 percent-off, maybe they'll be willing to offer 30 percent-off. If they're willing to ship a $75 order for free, maybe they'd be willing to do the same for a $50 order. And if they were willing to offer a discount on Tuesday, maybe they'll still be willing to offer it on Wednesday.

You never know if you don't ask.

Matt Brownell is the consumer and retail reporter for DailyFinance. You can reach him at, and follow him on Twitter at @Brownellorama.

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Bought a new Chevy a couple months ago. Got a really nice price for it. I visited the Chevrolet web site to get more familiar with how the new car worked and low and behold a voucher showed up for $1000.00 off if I bought a new car. This was two days after I had already bought it. I called the dealer and asked if they could still honor it. They looked into it and found it was Ok to still use it. I gave them the coupon and about a month later I received a check in the mail for $1000.00

November 03 2013 at 3:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

don't try and get your 15-30 dollars back from msi video graphics cards they don't honor their rebates.

November 03 2013 at 2:10 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

just a few clicks of the buttons and do a internet search and you can drop 20+ dollars on just about any purchase except if your counting on the rebate from msi on their video graphics cards they don't honor their rebates. especially if you try to get it from their rebate processing center in texas.

November 03 2013 at 2:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Attention Senior Citizens! Being a Senior Citizen, I ALWAYS ask everywhere I am making a purchase for a Senior Citizen discount. Many, many times I have been surprised that the vendor I am talking to does in fact have such a discount, usually NOT available unless you ASK!

So I strongly advise every Senior to ASK!
You may be plasently surprised!

November 02 2013 at 3:38 PM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to gjterranov's comment

So true Just the other day I got my mom the senior discount with the plumber that she called. They did not offer it so I asked and lo and behold it was there. Saved her a few dollars at least.

November 03 2013 at 1:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Almost everything is negotiable, just make sure you are talking to the person who can make the decision.

November 02 2013 at 1:53 PM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply