Black Friday started in America in the early 2000s, found its way over here through Amazon and is now everywhere. However, last year saw near riots in some British supermarkets as people fought over items that they often felt later they didn’t even want or need!
So how can you ensure that you don’t get sucked in to things just because of the discount and be stuck with it, or make sure that you do get the best discount on what you do actually want? Helen Dewdney, The Complaining Cow, blogger and author of the bestseller How to Complain: The Essential Consumer Guide to Getting Refunds, Redress and Results! has some tips.
1) Make a list
Start a list of things you want and/or would consider buying and add to it as you think of things. Have a list of likely stockists and current prices. Use comparison websites to find these. Then do it again on Black Friday and find out if anyone has it in the Black Friday deal. Remember that some stores may be cheaper than another’s Black Friday deal. This preparation will stand you in good stead when you come to shop when the day comes as it will be quicker to go through stores.
2) A promise is a promise?
Remember that some stores have a price promise but this doesn’t always mean online as well, it could be just in store. For example, John Lewis will not price match online only retailers or mail order companies.
3) Not just one day
Don’t look for bargains just on Black Friday, many retailers are spreading their deals and have been running them throughout November such as Amazon.
4) Know your rights
Under the Consumer Rights Act (CRA) 2015, the item must be of satisfactory quality, match the description be fit for purpose and last a reasonable length of time. This is the same for goods in sales, flash or otherwise.
5) Get a gift receipt
Under the CRA, you have 30 days to get a refund if the item is in breach of the Act after this time the retailer can insist on repair or replacement but you have up to 6 years to claim if considered reasonable. So if the item is for a gift, get a gift receipt or let the recipient know that you have the receipt should anything go wrong.
6) You can change your mind online
You are not entitled to a refund if you simply change your mind so buy wisely! However, when buying off premises (such as online) you have 14 days from when you receive the item(s) in which to change your mind under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. Check the terms and conditions for returns though as you may have to pay return postage if the item is not in breach of the CRA.
7) Spread your risk
Sometimes shopping early will get you some fantastic deals, but as some stores start, other companies may follow suit and match price or reduce prices further so there is no ideal time to buy!
8) Budget carefully
Have a price in mind for the amount(s) you are prepared to spend on an individual or total items. It is easy to get carried away especially in store as retailers put out items to entice you to spend more and that’s when you are most likely to buy things you don’t want or need! Keep an eye on your list of items and prices!
9) Cyber Monday follows Black Friday
Don’t forget Cyber Monday! There will be more bargains to be had. Also remember that bargains won’t stop after this time, in fact as retailers reassess sales there will be many reductions on a wider variety of goods over a longer period of time.
10) Watch out for extras
Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 retailers are not allowed to charge you for items they put in your online shopping basket or that you have bought as a result of a pre-ticked box. It is still happening, so keep an eye out for this and report them when and if you see it!