To many, Black Friday and Cyber Monday are the annual shopping frenzies synonymous with jaw-dropping discounts and incredible bargains. However, amidst the excitement, it's essential to remain vigilant to ensure you're truly getting a deal and not falling for deceptive pricing tricks. In this article, we'll explore practical ways to safeguard your wallet and make sure you're not being ripped off during the Black Friday shopping extravaganza.
Do Your Pre-Shopping Research & Watch For False Discounts Before diving into the Black Friday sales, do your homework. Research the products you intend to buy, their regular retail prices, and their specifications. Please beware of false discounts. Some retailers use deceptive pricing strategies, such as artificially inflating the original price to make the discount appear more significant. Keep a record of the product's regular price and compare it to the Black Friday offer. Price comparison websites and apps like Honey can help you track historical prices, so you can spot genuine discounts from inflated ones.
Look for Price Matching Many retailers offer price-matching policies, which can be particularly useful during Black Friday. If you find a lower price for an identical product at a competitor, some stores will match or even beat that price. This way, you can shop with confidence, knowing you're getting the best deal available.
Read Reviews and Ratings Don't rely solely on the price tag. Check product reviews and ratings from reputable sources and other consumers. A great deal on a product with poor performance or durability is no deal at all. Reading reviews can help you make informed decisions about the product's quality.
Check the Return Policy Before making a purchase, review the retailer's return policy, especially for electronics and higher-priced items. Ensure that you have the option to return or exchange the product if it doesn't meet your expectations. Some Black Friday sales may have stricter return policies, so be aware of the terms.
Set a Budget One of the most effective ways to avoid overspending and ensure you're getting real deals is to set a budget. Determine how much you're willing to spend on Black Friday, and stick to it. Avoid the temptation of impulse purchases that can lead to regret later.
Avoid Impulse Buys Retailers use a variety of tactics to encourage impulse purchases, from flashy displays to limited-time offers. Stay focused on your shopping list and avoid buying items just because they appear to be on sale. If it wasn't on your list, consider whether it's a genuine need or a "want" fueled by the excitement of the moment.
Consider the Timing While Black Friday is renowned for its deals, it's not the only opportunity to save money. Cyber Monday and the weeks leading up to Christmas often offer competitive discounts. If you're unsure about a Black Friday deal, take a moment to compare it with upcoming promotions to ensure you're getting the best price.
Shop at Reputable Retailers Be cautious of pop-ups or lesser-known online stores that may not have a track record of trustworthiness. Stick to well-known, reputable retailers, whether you're shopping in-store or online. Established stores are less likely to engage in deceptive practices, as they value their long-term reputation. For instance, LifeSong Milestones is a reputable store that rarely offers discounts throughout the year, if at all. However, for Black Friday, they offer a 25% sitewide discount starting November 29th, along with free shipping on orders over $150. This discount alone can save you a significant amount, especially if you plan to give several personalized gifts for Christmas.
Check for Additional Costs Sometimes, what seems like a great deal can turn sour when you factor in additional costs. Pay attention to shipping fees, taxes, and any extra charges that may be associated with your purchase. These can significantly impact the overall cost and value of the deal.
Use Secure Payment Methods When shopping online, prioritize secure payment methods, such as credit cards or trusted payment processors like PayPal. These options offer additional protection against fraud and unauthorized charges. Be cautious of retailers asking for unusual payment methods or excessive personal information.
Beware of Fake Shopping Websites and Fake Deals In Your Email Check Point Research found a sharp increase in fake shopping-related websites in the run-up to Black Friday sales. They also found that 17% of all malicious files distributed by email in November were related to orders/deliveries and shipping. So if you receive order confirmation emails in regards to items you never bought, don’t download anything from them. If there are no charges on your bank or credit card accounts, then just delete the emails.
Trust Your Instincts Lastly, trust your instincts. If a deal seems too good to be true or you're feeling pressured to make a quick decision, take a step back. Take your time to evaluate the offer and make an informed choice rather than succumbing to pressure tactics.
What to Do If You Got Scammed Remember that time is of the essence when dealing with a potential scam. Acting promptly can increase your chances of resolving the issue, recovering your funds, and preventing further harm. For detailed information on how to contact the seller or credit card company and get your funds back, read, “What Can You Do If You Got Scammed on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, or The Holidays.”
Black Friday is undoubtedly a thrilling time for shoppers seeking incredible deals. However, the excitement can sometimes cloud judgment, making it crucial to approach the event with a critical eye. By doing your research, setting a budget, avoiding impulse buys, and following the tips mentioned above, you can navigate Black Friday confidently, ensuring that you're genuinely getting a deal and not falling for deceptive pricing practices. Happy shopping!