Amazon patents online haggling system that keeps buyers, sellers on the up and up

Haggling is so popular that it's virtually mandatory in some parts of the world, and yet it's rarely an option in the online space outside of informal auctions. If Amazon ever puts its newly granted patent into practice, however, we could soon be trying for a better price without the mock drama of a face-to-face encounter. The retailer's proposed haggling system lets buyers and sellers make offers and counteroffers until they reach a happy medium, but with the kind of honesty check we only wish we could have in person. Both buyers and sellers get ratings that would account for their flexibility, typical closing prices and how likely they are to drop a deal before it's done -- a combination that hopefully excludes the cheapskates and those who'd simply keep our wheels spinning. Even if Amazon pulls the trigger on negotiated sales, though, it's a fairly safe bet that there won't be any leeway on that Kindle Fire HD.

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