I am looking to buy used car components on eBay from the UK, I found a good deal, the seller put together a nice kit but I feel a 15% discount would better align the item to the market price. I might still be willing to pay the full price.

Is it polite by UK standard to gently make a (reasonable) counter-offer?
Where I live it wouldn't be very well received, but in the USA I did it all the time.

  • 5
    I'm voting to close this question as off-topic because it asks about selling price negotiation in the internet marketplace, not a specific interpersonal skill. Business negotiations have many factors not related to interpersonal skills.
    – user3169
    Sep 29, 2017 at 0:15
  • 3
    I asked IF NEGOTIATING A PRICE IN THE UNITED KINGDOM is acceptable, if it is something that is rude in that specific culture. I will now rollback the edit to the questions to make it clearer. Sep 29, 2017 at 7:08
  • By "Is it polite by UK standard", do you mean the seller is from UK?
    – Vylix
    Sep 29, 2017 at 8:50
  • 1
    @user3169 why do you think so? It is asking whether haggling is acceptable in UK (if the seller is from U. Haggling is interpersonal skill, the fact that it depends on other factors does not make this question off-topic here. See related question on meta (not about haggling): interpersonal.meta.stackexchange.com/questions/184/…
    – Vylix
    Sep 29, 2017 at 9:04
  • 1
    It seems to me that the question need no clarification, anyway the question is specific to an online transaction where the seller is UK based, still a nice answer involves maybe an overview on the uk approach to the thing. Sep 29, 2017 at 9:37

2 Answers 2


On ebay, as you're probably aware, some items are on "best offer" - those you can put in a counter offer - although generally you will find this only works for buying in bulk.

You have nothing to lose messaging the seller to negotiate a lower price, as if they are having trouble selling an item, they might relist at a lower price. I find a good way of determining what the market price is by searching completed listings - an appeal that all similar items sell for cheaper or don't sell at that price might help a seller budge. Of course if the current market price on ebay for the thing you want is 15% less why not buy it from someone selling it at market price already?

One word of warning, if they do agree to lower price. Either pick it up and pay for it in person or get them to relist at the lower price. If you try to mail order outside the ebay eco-system the possibility of being ripped off is too high, you lose all buyer protection.

In the UK as a general rule people are not fans of haggling. It can come across as rude and make people uncomfortable, we generally don't/can't do it in most shops. However we do haggle on private sales all the time, such as buying off gumtree, used car sales, etc. - haggling is also more common in service industry roles, especially when negotiating a service.

  • :-) so it is not offensive in english culture. Here someone may flip off on the lines of "do ya think im scamming yaaaa?" Sep 28, 2017 at 12:50
  • 1
    As a side note, English people are generally not fans of haggling. It can come across as rude and make people uncomfortable, we generally don't/can't do it in most shops. However we do haggle on private sales all the time, such as buying off gumtree, used car sales etc.
    – Tim
    Sep 28, 2017 at 13:14
  • 1
    Great, I`m haggling on a gumtree thing for car parts. I feel super British now! :) Sep 28, 2017 at 13:38

I'm the UK haggling is rare in shops, but not rude. In other contexts it is common, e.g. buying a car or a house, private sales between individuals and on financial products like loans.

In fact with houses and cars if you don't haggle you will be paying well over the odds. They build in extra margin for haggling.

As long as you are polite it should be fine to make a lower offer.

  • There is also a difference between making a counter offer and haggling. In some situations, "haggling" is a dance that the seller and the buyer knowingly engage in. The buyer starts with a low-ball offer, the seller pretends to be outraged, offers a higher price, the and so on. If you want a fictional example look up Daenerys transactions in the marketplace in the Song of Ice and Fire series. Whereas making a counter offer is a more low key exchange of signaling market data. I would say that between private sellers, haggling is rare and counteroffers common. Oct 11, 2017 at 3:21

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.