It's so easy to be lured in...
Somehow, we're on the home stretch of 2021, which means Christmas is just around the corner. But before that, there's Black Friday and Cyber Monday to contend with - the perfect chance to snap up all your festive gifts for a fraction of the price. Well at least, we hope the products are being sold at a fraction of the price...
You see, not every Black Friday deal is as appealing as it sounds. And with so many discounts flying around, it can be really hard to tell the genuinely good deals from the ones that are just masquerading as such.
If you're anything like me, all it takes to lure you in to a deal is to see a scrawled line through one price, and a shiny, new, lower cost listed underneath. But the thing is, it could be worth exercising a little more caution - and a little more cynicism - with these kinds of deals. Because in actual fact, it's not uncommon for prices to be manipulated in order to make the discount look far greater than it actually is.
Let me allow Kalpana Fitzpatrick, Editor of The Money Edit, to explain. "Black Friday can be great for deals if you have your eye on something and are hoping to bag it at a discounted price. But make sure the deal you’re getting is in fact genuine," she urges.
"To make sure you’re not being tricked, there are steps you can take to make sure you’re paying the best price and not being pressured into parting with your cash in the name of Black Friday."
Tips to make sure you're getting a real deal on Black Friday:
✔ "Check the price of your item with other retailers to see if the one you are planning to buy from is truly giving you a ‘special’ price," advises Kalpana. And she's right; don't be hurried by any countdowns until deals expire - it's always worth spending time on a bit of research first.
✔ "If you want to check the price history for a product (and compare prices), go to pricespy, or pricerunner. To track Amazon prices, take a look at camelcamelcamel." These tools will be really helpful in decoding whether the price has actually been dropped just for Black Friday, or whether it was actually increased in the run up so it just looks like a good saving. More on that below...
✔ "If the ‘was’ price is displayed, don’t be fooled into thinking there has been an instant reduction for Black Friday - often the item has been selling at that reduced price for months, and the retailer is tricking you into thinking it is a price just for Black Friday - and it may not even be a deal," notes Kalpana.
✔ "It’s also worth checking the RRP price on a manufacturer's site - so, if you’ve got your eye on that coffee machine, see what the manufacturer’s suggested price is first to see if what you’re buying is actually discounted," suggests the expert. Again, it's worth spending time on a brief bit of research.
✔ "Finally, it is important to remember the golden rule: if something looks too good to be true, then it probably is. Scammers are working super hard to steal your cash, so keep your wits about you," says Kalpana.
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Cat is a Senior Editor at Marie Claire, covering news and features across the brand's key purpose pillars, including women's issues, politics, career, mental health, female empowerment and equality, as well as books.