Home >> Precedent Ploy
The vendor can’t agree to your terms because it would set a precedent ploy:
Basically the vendor representative argues that granting a customer’s request, regarding a specific term in the negotiation, would set a precedent and would force the carrier to make the same concession to all or at least some of its customers.
This ploy is used mostly by incumbent providers, like Qwest, AT&T and Verizon, that operate under tariffs filed with state regulatory commissions. They do file rates with the regulatory commissions, but because every situation and customer is different, they can almost always make exceptions.
Because the customer is operating with a lack of information, they are not sure if carrier representative’s claim is accurate and the customer ends up conceding on their request.
How to beat the precedent ploy:
If it’s true that every concession that sets a precedent must be offered to the vendor’s other customers, then the vendor would need to keep track of such concessions.
If there is such a list than the vendor representative should be able to produce it.
If the vendor representative cannot produce the list then they’re either misinformed or not telling the truth.
Either way, the customer should halt negotiations until a more informed vendor rep can be brought in or the vendor agrees to make the concession.
In the meantime, the customer should conduct their own research to determine if indeed the concession would set a precedent.
This can be accomplished through consumer groups or the use of professional negotiators or consultants.
If the vendor representative insists that the vendor has never granted a similar concession then the customer should ask that a “most favored nation” provision be included in their agreement. Such a provision would state that should the vendor grant any customer a better price or broader concession during a set period of time, the same price or concession would be offered to the customer.
In summary, battling the precedent ploy could very well result in receiving more than just the concession originally requested. It’s only successful because the customer is uninformed. Research completed before entering a negotiation or the use of professional negotiators and consultants can only work in your favor.