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14 November 2022

Beware of Black Friday ‘bargains'

Bargain hunters: beware of Black Friday sales.

We share the top tips to help savvy shoppers prepare for the advertising deluge to come.

Beware of Black Friday sales. It’s the time of year when retailers work extra hard to entice consumers to part with their hard-earned dollars.

“The savings advertised are rarely as good as they seem,” Consumer spokesperson Jessica Walker said.

We previously found many big-box retailers play fast and loose with ‘sale’ pricing, which makes it hard to judge whether you’re making genuinely great savings.

“A sale must be a genuine opportunity for consumers to buy a product at a discounted price for a short period,” Walker said.

“Price comparisons must be based on actual market prices – so if retailers compare the sale price to the recommended retail price (RRP) but usually sell the product below the RRP, it’s misleading.” 

Black friday sale

As part of its Right to Repair tracking investigation, we needed to purchase a benchtop mixer.

“Our test manager was thrilled to find a Kenwood model in a Farmers sale for $520, rather than the RRP of $730,” she said.

“However, a quick retrospective check on PriceSpy showed that during the three months prior to purchase, it was being sold for $520 more often than the RRP of $730.

“At the time the mixer was purchased, the same model could be bought at Moore Wilson’s for $450, or for $500 at 100% Appliances. Those weren’t even sale prices.”

Price tracking, with PriceSpy, lets a consumer choose a date range and particular store(s) to track the price of a particular item. PriceMe offers a similar service, and a quick search on Google will display current prices at different stores.

“Price tracking shows when a product goes on sale at one retailer, usually other retailers will soon follow suit,” Walker said. “It’s worth noting some stores will price match competitors.”

Rules to stop you getting fleeced

1. Do your research

Don’t fall for a massive discount on a ‘usual’ price without confirming what the ‘usual’ price is. The actual savings could be vastly different from the advertised offering. Different stores will have varying ‘usual’ prices too. Check out PriceSpy and PriceMe to gauge the real value of any items which catch your eye.

2. Ask for a better discount

If your research shows the item you want is cheaper elsewhere or has recently been discounted at the store you’re shopping in, ask them to price match. It might not work, but then again, it might.

3. Be prepared to wait

When an item you desire has a seductively pitched sale price, it can be hard to walk away. Take some time to think about whether you really want or need the item. Stores love impulse buyers.

Black Friday discount tag.

Black Friday

Which deals are really worth your money? With big sales being promoted this Black Friday, it can be easy to get caught up in the hype. Check out our tips, advice and product tests to help you get what you bargain for.

Find out more

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