Top Tips for Shopping in the Pre-Christmas / Black Friday Sales

Aerial, satellite dish, installation, home entertainment, TV hanging, TV mounting, TV wall hanging, smart home, smart home automation, smart home security, security, security devices, home security, home security camera, house alarm, business alarm, business security, home automation, environmental control, smart lighting, smart lights, smart home system, cable installation, fibre optic installation, fibre installation, fibre repair, fibre optic repair, fibre data, fibre broadband, wireless data, wireless broadband, internet service provider, isp, wireless internet service provider, wisp, worthing, arundel, angmering, hove, littlehampton, south coast, sussex, UK,Because an actual ‘Black Friday’ isn’t really a thing in the UK many shops and online retailers are currently engaging in “Black Friday Month” with ongoing discounts on many selected lines. Unfortunately many of those lines were previously available at the same low price before the promotion began, they’re selling unpopular products which won’t move otherwise, or in the case of some tech goods, they are so old that there is little or no software support left.

So, before you rush out onto the high street, or start prefixing all your searches with ‘Black Friday’ hoping to get all your Christmas shopping done on the cheap, check out these top tips for finding the real bargains, and avoiding spending good money on bad products.

*1* Research the products before you buy.

Buying something just because it looks handy, and it’s cheap doesn’t necessarily make it a bargain. Would you want it at full price? A low price might be mitigation, but look at product reviews, customer reviews and feedback on sites like Amazon and Ebay before making your decision.

*2* Never heard of it? Don’t touch it!

Generic brands aren’t market leaders for a reason. Cheap copies of established technology are likely to be made from inferior materials, lack the performance, or cut corners on security or software. You might think you’re going in with your eyes open, it’s dead cheap so you don’t expect it to last for ever, but if you’re looking at IoT connected goods, as so many are today, you could be bringing a Pandora’s box into your home, plugging it in, and switching it on before opening it.

*3* Are your durables all that durable?

We all know by now that any product which needs access to the internet will need OS, software, and security updates. If a retailer has a bunch of old Androids in a warehouse somewhere they could use the sales to offload them with only a year or so of tech support left to run. Your device might keep working, but it’ll get slower and slower, the latest apps won’t work and malware will become ever more problematic.

*4* Is that deal really such a bargain in reality?

It used to be an urban legend, but trading standards and consumer rights groups have now proven that unscrupulous retailers will put their goods ‘on sale’ at the same price it’s been for ages leading up to the start of the promotion. They may even put the price UP in the weeks leading up to the promotion in order to justify slapping a sticker with the legend “50% OFF!” on it. Pricerunner offers a service which lets you look at price history, just type in the product you’re interested in and look at the ’stats’ tab.

*5* Don’t buy anything in the first place you find it.

You could find it selling for a better deal elsewhere, or you could find that it’s unavailable when you actually try to check out if you’re buying online depending on how high the demand is. If you find that a high street store has the same item at a higher price than their online deal, ask! Sometimes it pays to be cheeky, and the worst they can do is say ‘no’. And while you’re being cheeky, see if the retailer will price-match on their Black Friday deals. Some high street retailers (such as Currys)will match any like-for-like offer while others (including John Lewis) are offering price matching, but excluding online retailers. Most shops don’t have an official policy of price matching but it’s worth asking. It’s also worth bearing in mind that if you buy goods which then go on sale later you don’t have any right to a discount, no matter how galling that is. However, if you bought it online less than 14 days before the price dropped you can send it back, claim your refund and then buy it again at the discounted price.

*6* Make sure you get money back on offers.

Despite the goods you’re buying being cheaper than normal, you’re still probably going to be spending a lot of money. If that’s the case, make sure you’re being savvy by claiming back all the rewards you can. If you’re shopping at a store that offers loyalty points, sign up! Plenty of credit and debit cards offer money back and reward points as well. They usually offer sweeteners for new customers, so now would be the perfect time to shop around for a new credit card too.

*7* Start an Account with your favourite shops.

If you’ve planned your shopping properly you should know exactly which stores you’ll be using, and any back-ups if they run out of stock by the time you get to them. If you set up accounts with your address, payment details etc. before you start shopping you’ll be able to check out that much quicker. Also, sign up for newsletters and (let’s be honest) junk mail. The spam is annoying if you get it year round, but at this time of year you can be the first to know about seasonal offers and any deals which may only apply to subscribers. You can always use a specially created email account for those subscriptions, or just unsubscribe as soon as you’re done with getting the predictable deluge of mail.

*8* The amount you ‘save’ can be deceptive.

Don’t assume that just because a product is on sale at ‘X% off’ you’re actually saving money. There are plenty of unscrupulous retailers out there who will sell goods at a ‘sale’ price which is actually more than it cost weeks or months before. I randomly typed ‘Samsung’ into Pricerunner’s search bar and found that this series 5 washing machine’s Black Friday sale price is more than it cost in sales which took place four times earlier on this year. The price even hiked a week before the Black Friday sales started, only to drop by a couple of pounds as the ‘sale’ progressed. Best advice is to keep Pricerunner or PriceSpy open on your phone as you shop the high street to make sure you’re not being fleeced.

price history, black friday, sales

*9* Many happy returns.

Most shops offer an extended returns policy for good which are bought in the run-up to Christmas, and offer gift receipts so the recipient doesn’t know how much you spent. The returns policy may include an exchange, or credit note, but it won’t offer cash back. This differs hugely from what is actually required by law, which states that you are only entitled to a exchange or refund on goods which aren’t fit for sale, not just because they are unwanted. Goods which are bought online are covered differently as you had no chance to inspect the product before you bought it, meaning that you get 14 days to return it after the date of delivery so long as it’s unused. If you used it and found it to be faulty, check here.

*10* Avoid the Black Friday rush by using Click and Collect.

Thanks to several factors including Covid lockdowns, the proliferation of online shopping hurting high street retailers, along with other market forces, many shops are offering ‘Click and Collect’ where you can shop online, have your order filled, and be ready for you to go and collect it in person anywhere from next day to an hour or two later. What this means is you’re able to get the best deals without having to take part in any opening rushes or fights which seem to symbolise Black Friday sales in the states. Some retailers are offering local delivery as well, but this isn’t standard.

Briant Communications doesn’t do Black Friday sales, but we do provide good value recognised brand name goods, including Smart CCTV cameras and Smart doorbells. We offer an installation service as well, so we can mount your TV on the wall or install your smart home devices safely and securely. To find out more call us on 01273 465377 or email us on enquiries@briantcomms.com

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