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Nov 06

Is Black Friday a con? 5 reasons to beware of Black Friday sales

Reading Time: 6 mins

Since its introduction to the UK in 2010, Black Friday has caught the attention of consumers and retailers all over the UK.

it tends to be the online bargains that get everyone excited, not the high street ones.

For a start, a couple of years ago Curry’s reported that 30 TVs were selling every minute on their website, following the release of Black Friday deals at 6am (note: if you want to get deals on the day it’s worth getting up early to check the websites you’re interested in!).

But really, are Black Friday deals really that amazing?

Although we love a good bargain, we also want to make sure you’re getting the best deal possible so, before you head out shopping, read our 5 reasons to beware of Black Friday below.



1. Beware of scams and fraudsters

Black Friday sale tag with Scam stamp and question mark

Black Friday is a great day for fraudsters and scammers to take advantage of shoppers so make sure you’re extra cautious when looking for deals.

Just because someone uses the words ‘cheap’ or ‘discount’ doesn’t mean that it’s always a good deal. Usually, where the prices seem too good to be true, it means the goods may also be fake or faulty.

This also means you MUST make sure you know the returns policy on what you are buying, especially electrical and other expensive items. Reputable sites and retailers will have no problem being upfront about the ins and outs of their policies so check before you buy.

Read here about guarantees and warranties – what you need to know.


2. Beware of dangerous crowds

Women fighting over top in shop

This is just for the high street bargains, but be aware that when there’s money to be saved, one in ten Brits are prepared to squabble over Black Friday bargains. So beware of a Black Friday black eye!

We all saw the madness that took place in 2014 at ASDA stores on Black Friday when shoppers physically fought aggressively over cut price TVs.

ASDA learnt from that experience and refused to do any Black Friday deals after that.

The chaos from that year has resulted in many other big retailers turning their backs on Black Friday too, including: Primark, Oasis, John Lewis and Mothercare who have either cancelled the day of sales, or are reducing their participation in the day.

We suggest you avoid the overcrowded and potentially dangerous Black Friday crowds elsewhere and stick to shopping online. However, if you plan on going out be careful because despite stores’ best safety efforts, people still get hurt during Black Friday fights!

Have you heard? Couponing is huge. See our top tips for couponing here.


3. Beware of impulse buying

Couple window shopping

Black Friday can offer significant savings on really good products, so make a list of what you know you need or want to buy as gifts, and scope out the costs and where the goods are available beforehand.

It’s easy to get lost in the excitement of the sales on Black Friday, so carefully consider if you are making a sensible purchase that you’re going to get use from. This is important even if you don’t go into the shops but just go online. It’s still too easy to be sucked into buying something you don’t need or want.

A survey by TopCashBack has found that nearly half of UK consumers are waiting for Black Friday sales to buy big ticket items they’ve been wanting for a while and more than a quarter have been holding-off since August. On average, consumers are planning to spend around £421 in the sales but hope to save £228, i.e. they’re hoping to get a 35% discount on their purchases.

Of course, they might get some good discounts if they have researched the items beforehand and know how much they should be. But it’s all too easy to be made to think you’re getting a bargain when you’re not.

The Black Friday gimmick panics customers into unnecessary purchases with FOMO (fear of missing out) kicking in and it creates the irrational urge to buy things that aren’t needed just in case.

Just remember, despite adverts promising amazing deals and one-off discounts, shops will still want to stretch out their sales over the Christmas period, so there will be sales that last through December and there will be other chances to get a bargain.

Learn the art of haggling on the high street here.


4. Beware of losing money

Empty pockets

Finally, if you’re a small (or big) business taking part in the Black Friday frenzy, you could actually end up losing money.

In the last few years, customers have gone into serious spending mode online with bargain buying and as a result many businesses failed to cope as their websites struggled to handle the demand of traffic.

An example of this is Argos which saw its website go down for two hours in the 2014 Black Friday sales because it simply wasn’t prepared for the high quantities of traffic. Research by Six Degrees Group estimate that this website fault could have cost them around £5m.

So it’s important if you’re a small business to prepare properly in order to avoid losing out on revenue on this day. Take a look at this useful guide on how to prepare your website for the Black Friday frenzy…or just decide to ignore the day and do your own flash sale in December to pull in the crowds!

Take a look at our tips for small businesses in this section


5. Beware of ‘independent’ retailers

Woman looking at laptop screen suspiciously

The best offers aren’t always provided by the big brands. Small retailers often jump in on the act too and provide some really good deals.

If you do get tempted by an offer on a site you don’t recognise, though, you should check their authenticity before you buy.

Impartial reviews are available to read on sites such as Reevoo where you can run a background company check online, which includes their credit score. If you are buying online, always pay with credit card or Paypal to make sure that your transaction is protected.

Also remember that Black Friday products do not guarantee extended return policies either so if you’re buying for Christmas check in advance.

One thing to keep in mind, though, is that major card providers such as MasterCard and Visa will reimburse you the cost difference if an advertised Black Friday price is lower than the price you recently paid for the same item.

You need to send your receipt, the ad and a claim form within 60 days of the ad’s publication.


So is it a con?

Black Friday

Overall we think Black Friday is a great chance to get a hold of brilliant bargains if you know what you’re looking for and don’t get sidetracked. Just keep in mind the points we’ve mentioned above.

Remember, don’t go crazy and stay within your budget! With Christmas around the corner and New Year approaching fast, we want you to avoid starting 2018 off with a heap of unnecessary debts.

If you are planning on shopping in the sales this year take a look at our 15 tips for getting the most out of Black Friday here.


Have you had a nightmare with Black Friday ‘bargains’ or did you do rather well at the sales? Tell us about it in the comments below.


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11 months ago

I was brought up never to be sucked in by the sales. But – and I was trying to work it out how many years ago it was recently – I did acquire a Kindle on a Black Friday deal. In fact due to my innocence with all things internet- I nearly didn’t get it but it has served me well for the purpose that I bought it. Long may it live!

1 year ago

I would be very wary of black Friday so called deals and I would hate to be in the scrum in a physical shop.

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