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Score hidden discounts by bidding on products with PriceWaiter

Don't want to pay full price? Maybe you don't have to. Use PriceWaiter to place a bid and you might just walk away with a discount.

Don't want to pay $300 for a PlayStation 4? Make an offer! You never know, another seller might just take it (or make you a counteroffer).

Screenshot by Rick Broida/CNET

The art of haggling is all but lost nowadays. On the internet, the price is the price -- take it or leave it.

Maybe not. PriceWaiter is a Chrome plug-in that lets you bid on items from various online stores. In other words, instead of paying the listed price, you can offer to pay, well, less.

It works like this: Install the plug-in, then shop around like you normally would. At times you'll see the PriceWaiter toolbar appear at the top of your browser, giving you the option to "make an offer." Type in the amount you're willing to pay, then sit back and wait.

(Side note: If you're concerned, like I was, about the plug-in's requirement to "read and change all your data on the websites you visit," it turns out that's pretty common among Chrome extensions -- and necessary for PriceWaiter to do its thing. There's a great article here that explains more.)

For example, I found a pair of RayBan Wayfarer sunglasses on Amazon. Price: $143. Well, there's no way I'm paying that much for a pair of sunglasses, so I made a super lowball offer via PriceWaiter: $50.

The next day, a vendor called Gaffos responded with its counter-offer: $85, a savings of 40 percent. Then I checked the Gaffos website, assuming that was just its everyday price. Nope! I'd normally have paid $143 there as well.

That's pretty amazing, though this is definitely a your-mileage-may-vary proposition. I also bid on a laptop and never got a response. The good news is that even if a seller replies with an acceptance of your offer or a counteroffer, you're not obligated to make the purchase.

If you're tempted to buy, though, remember that the seller is probably different than where you actually placed your bid -- meaning store protections and policies are likely to be different as well. (In the aforementioned RayBan example, I bid via Amazon, but my purchase would have gone directly through Gaffos.)

Indeed, make sure you're getting the exact same item you bid on (color, size, style) and do your due diligence on the seller: check the return policy and so on.

To my thinking, using PriceWaiter is like using a cashback service: You're crazy not to. There are no strings attached and you stand to save money you wouldn't have saved otherwise.

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