Consumer champion Martin Lewis has hit back at travel agents who objected after he advised customers to haggle to get the best holiday prices.


Agents claimed the advice could cause them to go out of business as potential customers played them off against each other and forced them to offer unsustainable discounts.


But writing on his Moneysavingexpert.com website, Lewis said he would not apologise for advising clients how to save money.


“Sadly, travel agents are up in arms at me again for suggesting people haggle down the price of package holidays,” he said.


“I have no axe to grind against travel agents, but I can’t and won’t apologise for the fact that my job is to show consumers how to get the cheapest deals.”


Lewis insisted agents had failed to properly grasp the points he had made in the guide which prompted the criticism, and said that those who offered excellent service should be confident in their ability to retain customers.


Referencing a story in last week’s print edition of Travel Weekly, he added: “Let me be plain. Asking me to shut up about haggling doesn’t wash. The only way to shut me up about it is to stop it working.”


While some agents continued to blast Lewis on his site, others said they recognised that his advice was designed purely to save consumers money.


Cruise.co.uk agent Danielle Meenan said she would be a hypocrite for objecting to Lewis’s advice, having saved money by changing mobile, electricity and TV provider based on his recommendations.


“What I can do is offer my customers the best possible service I can and keep in touch with them on a regular basis,” she added. “Then they, hopefully, will come back to me anyway, even if it is to match another offer they have seen.”


To read Lewis’s response in full, click here.