Keeping the festive cheer in Christmas shopping

Keeping the festive cheer in Christmas shopping

10 top tips for getting the best Xmas bargains! on Xmas paper background

 

Black Friday (week) and Cyber Monday are now over. How do we get the best prices for our Christmas gifts this year?

 

Here are my top ten tips to help you save money and make sure you are getting the cheapest deal when shopping either online or in stores this Christmas!

 

 

  • Make sure you have a list, even if it is just a list of names, budget and possible ideas. This will stop you panicking, over spending and buying unnecessary items!
  • If you know you will definitely be buying from certain stores or before you shop online check out Zeek* where you can buy and sell gift cards. You could literally get free money! Discounts usually range from 2 – 10% off, depending on popularity of the store.
  • Look out for discount vouchers and codes. There are numerous websites out there, just search for the store you are shopping from with the words “discount” or “voucher code” and look through a few. For the bigger stores there’s usually something, even if it’s just a free delivery code!
  • Use cashback sites such as Topcashback*, Quidco*, and Kidstart (Kidstart cashback goes to your nominated child’s bank account).  Sign up for free and use which ever one gives the biggest cashback! (Be aware that some may not work with additional discounts so don’t rely on this).
  • Install Pouch which is a browser extension which was shown on Dragon’s Den. It claims to notify you any time you are on an online store for which there is a discount code.
  • Use price comparison sites which aren’t just for financial products, such as Pricerunner and Idealo. These will cover the well-known and less known online stores for the price on the same item.
  • Sign up for emails to get the best offers first, many will email you early with discount codes, so you can use before they go out of stock!
  • Don’t be tempted to buy the accessories with the item from the same place! When the pop up flashes “buy the batteries” don’t do it just for ease. Any saving you make will get spent on the batteries, so buy them from somewhere else. Unless they are cheap!
  • Remember you are always covered by the Consumer Rights Act 2015, where goods must be of satisfactory quality, be fit for purpose and match the description, whatever price you paid for the item!

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

 

Don’t forget How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS! makes a great present!

 

 

 

*referral links which means when you sign up (for free) you’ll get a few quid and so will I. then generate your own referral code and share on social media and you’ll make a bit more!

Looking a Gift Card in the mouth?

Gift cards all you need to know

How big is the gift card business?

Many of us will be buying and receiving gift cards this Christmas 2016. They have become big business since the first book token was issued in 1932. Whether you think it shows lack of thought (why not give cash instead of restricting the recipient?) or shows more thought by showing that they have chosen a particular store, it is now big business.  The voucher and gift card industry has grown into a £5.6bn a year operation in the UK according to the latest figures from the UK Gift Card & Voucher Association (UKGCVA). This up from 4bn in the previous year and is continually growing year on year.

Gail Cohen, Director General from the UKGCVA, says, “Research from The UK Gift Card and Voucher Association shows that 60% of members saw a growth in sales during H1 [first half of] 2016, and 4.44% growth compared to the same period in 2015.” This analysis is based on data provided by UKGCVA’s retail issuer members that agree to share their data.

The figure for the amount of unspent gift cards in the UK is £300 million, which accounts for just over 5% of the entire value of gift cards and vouchers in the UK. The UKGCVA says it is working with its members to increase consumer awareness around gift cards, with the aim of further decreasing this figure in the future.

What to do with unwanted gift cards

Now that consumers can sell their gift cards they believe they will never use, this unspent figure may reduce. Zeek* is a marketplace website/app where gift cards can be bought and sold.  Sellers can set their own price and the bigger the discount, the faster the voucher sells. Typical discounts right now are between 5% and 25%. Zeek takes 7% of the selling price (£3 minimum). This compares favourably with auction sites, such as eBay, which which takes 10%. Zeek verifies the balance and expiry date of every card that is listed for sale.  Digital vouchers, which tend to be redeemed immediately, must be valid for at least a month. Physical vouchers, where you need time to get to the store, must be valid for at least 3 months.

A spokesperson for Zeek said that it sees thousands of new buyers and sellers join Zeek every day. November 2016 was their biggest ever month. 94% of vouchers sell within 24 hours. Department stores, supermarkets, Amazon and fashion always sell very quickly.

Zeek’s CEO and co-founder Daniel Zelkind said “Shopping with discounted gift vouchers is a simple way to cut the cost of the festive period and if Santa gives you a gift voucher you’ll never use, it’s easy to turn it into cash and buy something you actually want.”

What should you be aware of when buying or receiving gift cards?

1) Always check the expiry date and spend quickly if you can so that you don’t forget it!

2) Make a note of the number. If you lose the card, the store should be able to trace the card, stop the amount and issue you with a new one.

3) If you return the item, whether you change your mind and the store allows it, or even if the item is faulty, the refund will be put back on a gift card.

4) It is unlikely that you will be able to use the card in store concessions but do check as this varies from store to store.

5) If the store goes bust it will be up to the administrators as to whether they will accept gift cards, so keep hold of them as it is unlikely but possible that they will be accepted. The purchaser may be able to get money back using Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act if it was for more than a £100 and paid for on a credit card or using Chargeback if less than a £100 from your bank. The latter is a voluntary signed up to scheme rather than law. See Retailer in administration – your rights for more about this.

6) When giving a gift card, also give the receipt which the recipient can keep in a separate place in case the card gets lost or stolen.

7) Check that you can use the card online.

8) Your consumer rights when buying goods or services are the same as when purchasing items with a gift card.

9) If your card has expired ask for an extension. There’s a chance the store may allow it.

10) Check the terms and conditions. Sometimes the expiry date is from when it is bought, last used or just checking the balance so you may be able to extend the gift card’s life time!

Further help and advice

Will your Gift Cards keep on giving? for more details about gift cards and individual companies.

Don’t forget to use sites like Topcashback when you use the gift card online to save even more money!

Been given something other than  a gift card but still unwanted? See What to do with the ghost of Christmas Present?

How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results!

 

 

Any problems with your purchases GET THE BOOK! How To Complain: The ESSENTIAL Consumer Guide to Getting REFUNDS, Redress and RESULTS!

 

 

*refer a friend link