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The Dark Side to Black Friday

The Dark Side to Black Friday

Black Friday has arrived. Lots of people will spend the day scouring the internet or the high street for the best deals, determined to get their Christmas shopping done early and as cheaply as possible. But underneath all the glitz and dazzle of offer after offer, are the deals actually as good as all the hype, or are the retailers hiding the truth from us?

Shoppers are expected to spend £8.57 billion this weekend, between Black Friday and Cyber Monday - which is an increase of 3.4% on last year, according to research done for VoucherCodes. But are these offers really all they seem to be?

In 2016, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued a warning to retailers in the lead up to Black Friday, to remind them of their legal obligations under Competition Law to not deny consumers the best deals, and to not price fix. Research conducted by Which? and reported by the Guardian reveals that only 1 in 20 deals are actually the lowest price that item has had throughout the year.

While this may not be illegal, it is misleading to those of us who feel under pressure to buy that much desired gift before the offer ‘runs out’. This pressure can be especially strong if we’ve collected a pot of money from our friends or family for a big present for that special someone.

So how can we make the most of the deals available to us while not getting caught out by less-than-genuine offers? Here are three things you can try to win this Black Friday and Cyber Monday:

1. Create a List

Before you start splurging, make a list of things you want to buy. If you’re not sure exactly what to buy, make a list of who you need to buy for. A list will help you only buy things that you actually need.

2. Set a budget

Once you have your list, work out what you would like / can afford to spend on each person. Knowing your budget means you won’t be tempted by that amazing deal that you can’t afford or don’t need.

3. Do a price comparison

Armed with a list and a budget, don’t be tempted to jump at the first deal you see. Do your research. Use a site like CamelCamelCamel - which price checks Amazon products and lets you know if/when they’ve been on sale at different prices - or Idealo, a general price comparison site.

Whatever you think of them, Black Friday and Cyber Monday herald the beginning of the festive period. Just make sure you make the most of the deals on offer by making them work for you. Happy shopping!

Photo by Ashkan Forouzani on Unsplash
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