Get Better Deals Online By Breaking The Seller’s Confidence

Get Better Deals Online By Breaking The Seller’s Confidence

There are good deals to be had online, but when you’re buying using a site like Craigslist you can often encounter a stubborn seller who just won’t budge from a price that’s just too high. You can always give up, but you can also be a little bit evil.

This tip comes from reader Nitesh, who’s discovered that with a little manipulative negotiating you can often get a seller to lower their price on a given item:

If you see something you like on Kijiji, Craigslist, or whatever equivalent, try using two (or more, if you have the patience) email accounts to make the poster think their item is worth less. Make a really low-ball with the first account, and if they decline shrug it off and respond saying it isn’t worth it. Then, offer a better but still low-ball price with the second account. It has worked for a few things for me, I just got a Arc Touch for 15 bucks nearly new.

With this trick you’re essentially fooling someone into believing their item is worth less than they are asking, and this can be a hard thing to justify for legitimate reasons. Perhaps they’re the only one selling the item and it’s ridiculously overpriced, or maybe you’re just getting them to lower their item to the lowest amount they’re willing to accept without the ongoing hassle of bargaining and waiting around. Whatever the case may be, this might be one you only want to use under the right circumstances. What those are, however, is something you’ll have to decide for yourself.


  • All’s fair in love and sales 🙂

    Seriously I can’t see it being too evil, as Angus points out – in a buy/sell, the seller can always say no.

    Probably comes down to what else you know/have over the seller.

    • Great until you get others bidding on your non-existent items, someone wins and then you have to find an item to give them. Even if you manage to get the other guy’s listed item, you’ll have to give it to someone else!

  • I like to think there’s a touch of altruism in most people; I certainly wouldn’t do this, on principle. If everyone did this, how would your economic system of choice be sustainable?

  • I do this when buying a car

    Do a lowball offer. They will probably refuse. If not you got yourself a deal.

    If they refuse make a offer halfway between their price and lowball. If they sell it for that price, great

    If not, tell a friend to seem interested and offer a slightly lower price than yours.

    Wait for the guy to accept your offer.

  • I’d class this technique with dummy bidding to create artificial demand and push up the price at an auction – Legally probably okay, morally tricky.

    If you’re not prepared to pay their price, you’re welcome to go for any other product. If they’re the only one available and you really need the product…well, they’ve kind of cornered the market and can set whatever price they think it’s worth.

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