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Secrets of Power Negotiating by Roger Dawson

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Chapter 41The Fait Accompli

Fait accompli is a French expression meaning, “it is done.” If you have ever sent someone a check for less than they’re asking and marked the back of the check “Payment in full is acknowledged,” you have used the Fait accompli Gambit. It’s when one negotiator simply assumes the other will accept the assumed settlement rather than go to the trouble of reopening the negotiations. It works on the principle that it’s a lot easier to beg forgiveness than it is to get permission.

In California and other states, Fait Accompli became so common in the auto repair industry that we passed laws against it. It was common for service stations to fix your car without getting your approval of the estimate, figuring that there wasn’t ...

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