Nobody likes to discover that they have been manipulated by a negotiation tactic.
Once burned, do you feel like telling the world about it?
I am about to “tell the world” about how I allowed myself to be manipulated by a negotiation tactic, one I ought to have been prepared for because it is regularly used on my clients by ICBC and other insurance companies.
This is my second of a series of columns exposing tactics used by insurance companies when negotiating personal injury claims.
By learning about these tactics, I am hopeful that you might avoid being manipulated by them in any negotiation you might encounter.
A number of displays had been set up one evening at the all-inclusive resort in Mexico where we had been staying. A beautiful, stone, chess set caught my eye.
My father had hand crafted a wooden set, which got me interested in playing chess when I was a boy.
Even though I had never become a master chess player, I liked the idea of having a beautiful set in our home so that perhaps my own children would show an interest.
I was new to holidaying in Mexico, but knew enough that you never pay the sticker price.
It was a handsome sticker price. I didn’t expect it to be so expensive.
I really had no idea, though. Each piece had to be hand carved, and then there’s all the stone tiling on the board. Really a piece of art.
But you get what you pay for, right? This was nothing like the multitude of mass produced trinkets that crowded all the other shelves.
I actually felt a little guilty dickering on the price of such a beautiful piece of art, but haggling is what it’s all about when you’re wheeling and dealing in Mexico.
I got a really good deal at the end of it all, convincing the seller to let the set go at a significant discount.
The sick feeling in my stomach, when I realized I had grossly overpaid, came when following my wife around a nearby town a couple days later.
The exact same style and quality of chess set was on display by the dozen, the sticker price even less than the “deal” I got from the vendor at the resort.
How did I, someone who negotiates millions of dollars of claims every year, get “taken” in a negotiation?
I entered into the negotiation without having a clue about the value of the item I was negotiating for.
The grossly inflated sticker price set the stage of the negotiation.
The vendor was able to suck me in to paying much more than I should have by giving me what felt like a great deal because he reduced his price so much.
It’s a classic ICBC negotiation tactic.
They’ll start negotiations at $5,000 or less for claims where fair compensation for injuries and losses is $40,000 or more.
By doing so, they set the stage of the negotiation.
The unsuspecting injury victim knows enough to not accept ICBC’s first offer, and feels like they got a good deal when ICBC goes up to $15,000.
The most “fun” example of this in my practice was where a client retained me after ICBC had offered $8,000 to settle a soft tissue injury claim that ended up settling for fair financial compensation of over $800,000.
How do you protect yourself from this negotiation tactic?
Do what I should have done in Mexico.
Find out the true value of the item you are negotiating for, so that an unfairly high (or low in the case of a personal injury negotiation) sticker price doesn’t manipulate you into an unfair result.
If negotiating for a house, consult an appraiser or real estate agent; if negotiating for a vehicle, consult a vehicle appraiser; if negotiating a personal injury claim, ask a personal injury lawyer for a free claim evaluation.