Black Friday is a massive American import that’s now flagged up both sides of the Atlantic as an annual shopping bonanza, with stores eager to lure us in with the promise of deals and discounts in the hope we’ll splash the cash.
Before you dash out in the hope of bargain hunting, here’s my five easy ways to stay smart on Black Friday!
Use a price tracker
Most important message first – Black Friday isn’t the last day on earth to ever bag a bargain! So don’t get carried away and give yourself a financial hangover by overspending and racking up a massive credit card bill.
You know the old saying ‘all that glitters’ and all that? Yes many Black Friday deals aren’t all they’re cracked up to be.
In fact well over 90% of last year’s Black Friday deals were actually cheaper in the six months before the much hyped sales event last year according to consumer group Which?
So if you’re buying on Amazon always use its exclusive price tracker tool that number crunches prices all year round to check if today’s deal really is the best one.
Watch out for scams
Fraudsters are jumping aboard the Black Friday bandwagon, eager to rip us off and relieve us of our hard earned cash, so be on your guard for random emails with links to ‘special offers’. And if you’re expecting parcels to be delivered, don’t fall for any of the spoof texts claiming to be from the likes of DPD and Royal Mail needing payment before delivery.
Shopping online? Always make sure online sites have a padlock in the address bar and the website starts with ‘https’ to ensure they’re super secure for payment.
Comparison sites are your best friend
Saves trekking round the shops comparing prices, just pop in what you want and see who’s got the best deal with price comparison sites like Idealo and Pricespy
Remember to factor in any delivery charges, or check the minimum spend for free delivery, and check model numbers carefully on gadgets and tech. One wrong letter or number and you can be comparing prices on last year’s model instead of the newest one!
Check returns rights
You’ve more rights buying online than in bricks and mortar stores, as you get 14 days to change your mind, plus another 14 to send stuff back.
Unless stuff’s faulty, you may be liable for return postage if you change your mind, so always check returns rules on the website before buying.
On the high street, many stores have generous ‘goodwill’ returns policies, so you may still be able to get a refund or exchange if you change your mind on an impulse purchase, but check before you buy. So hang on to that receipt – just in case!
Best way to pay
Pay by credit card if what you’re buying costs over £100.
Means instant legal protection under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, so if the company you buy from goes bust, or goods arrive faulty and the company won’t play ball, you can tap up your credit card company for a refund as ‘Section 75’ makes both the ‘supplier’ and your card company jointly liable!
Debit card payment also offers protection under the Chargeback scheme but it’s not legally binding and PayPal has its own refund scheme too.
Just make sure you never ever pay by bank transfer whatever the seller’s excuse!