Prices: haggling and discounts

March 20, 2007 | By More

There are negotiable and non-negotiable prices in Brazil. It only makes sense to haggle (pechinchar) where there’s room for it.

With very few exceptions, prices at the following places are non-negotiable:

  • supermarkets, bookstores, record shops; in general, shops that sell products with a price tag on them. However, there are exceptions to this rule that will probably surprise a few foreigners. Take big electrical appliances, for instance. If you pay cash (à vista) there is a good chance of getting a discount (anything between 5 and 10%). The bigger the value, the bigger the discount. This applies to travel agents as well.
  • hairdresser, manicurist and the likes
  • taxis equipped with a meter unless you negotiate the price in advance
  • buses, planes
  • petrol/gas stations
  • cafés, restaurants, ice-cream parlours

Places where prices might be negotiable (not 100% proof):

  • hotels, pousadas and other kinds of accommodation. The price list is just for reference. Even in top-class hotels, if the occupation rate is low, there is always the chance of getting a discount. The longer you plan to stay, the likelier the discount is. If a pousada where you plan to stay for five days, during the week (lower occupation rate), doesn’t give you a discount, go somewhere else.
  • car rental. The longer the rental period, the higher the chances of negotiating a discount.
  • all sorts of services catering for the tourist. Do you want a guide to take you around the place? The price is negotiable. Do you want a boatman to take you for a trip around the river? The price is negotiable.
  • street sellers, crafstmen and the likes. If you are buying five collars, you should get a discount.

Remember:

  • the more you spend, the better the discount
  • paying cash should earn you a discount – discount lost if you pay with a credit card
  • the real is the only official currency in Brazil. In the very few places that will accept them, dollars or euros will not place you in a better position to bargain

A couple of useful sentences:

  • não tem desconto? (could you give us a discount?)
  • tem desconto para pagamento à vista? (is there a discount if we pay in cash?)

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Category: Money, Typical Brazilian

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