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10 tips to help you safely bag a Black Friday and Cyber Monday deal

Paloma Kubiak
Written By:
Paloma Kubiak

Many will be waiting to buy Christmas presents in the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales later this week.

With so many retailers, websites and apps all offering goods and services at special prices, it can be difficult to see whether a deal is actually a bargain.

Reena Sewraz, Which? Money expert, said: “No matter what you are in the market for this Black Friday and Cyber Monday, there are ways to keep costs down and even earn money as you shop.

“Take time to identify the products you really want and check that the ‘deal’ you’re seeing represents a genuine saving. That way, you can beat the hype and be confident that you’ll emerge from the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales with quality products that will last for years to come – and all for a bargain price.”

Below, Which? shares 10 tips to make the sales work for you…

1) Don’t buy what you don’t need

Work out what you need or want to buy and how much you’re prepared to spend before you start shopping in the sales. Which? found that the hype around Black Friday and Cyber Monday can lead some shoppers to make impulse buys they later regret – with many using credit or borrowing from friends and family to fund their purchases.

And with Buy Now, Pay Later (BNPL) schemes, such as Klarna and Clearpay helping you spread the cost of your purchases at the checkout, many may well be encouraged to spend more than they were initially expecting. The BNPL sector is not currently regulated, but be warned, using them incorrectly could impact your credit score.

2) Research to ensure you get the best price

Don’t assume a deal is worth it just because it claims to offer a big saving. Offers such as ‘was £100, now £50’ often exaggerate the discount you’re actually getting, according to Which?. It looked at products on special offer across major retailers and found that several items were actually listed at their lower price for longer than they were at their full price over the course of a year.

It is worth keeping a note of the price of the item you’re interested in, in advance of the sale, to make sure you’re getting a genuine bargain. These useful web tools can help you see how much a product has actually been sold for previously so you can work out whether the ‘sale’ price really represents good value. For example, CamelCamelCamel provides price history for products sold on Amazon, whereas PriceRunner has wider market coverage.

3) Will retailers match prices?

Some retailers will match prices on Black Friday and Cyber Monday deals. Some, including Currys, will match almost any price you see. Most shops don’t have price-matching policies, but they may agree to refund the difference if you challenge them about a price drop soon after you’ve bought something.

4) Make a list of different retailers selling the same product

The rush in activity on Black Friday and Cyber Monday can cause websites to crash and retailers to run out of stock. If this happens while you’re trying to buy a product, having a pre-prepared list of stockists will mean you can try others so you don’t miss out.

5) Set up online accounts in advance

Open online accounts with your favourite retailers, pre-enter your payment and shipping details and save them to your account so you can complete purchases quickly once deals are live. It’s also worth signing up for your favourite retailers’ newsletters and following them on social media as this may give you early access to deals.

6) Create a wish list

Some websites let you set up a wish list for all the things you want to buy. Having a pre-created list makes it easier to see when prices drop. Rather than trawling through every product on sale, you can click into your list to see whether anything you have your eye on is on offer.

7) Earn as you spend

You can earn cashback on your buys via sites such as Quidco and TopCashback. Retailers may also offer cashback as a fixed amount (up to £50 on fridges, for example) or a percentage of the purchase – anything from 0.5% to more than 20%. However, be aware that you’ll need to use the cashback site’s link for your purchase to be counted and just know that cashback is not guaranteed. Further, it could take months to reach your account. It’s still important to compare upfront costs first, as even the most generous cashback offers may not compensate for a high headline price. Cashback is an added bonus if you’re set on buying an item anyway.

8) Start your Black Friday shopping early

If you’re waiting for Black Friday itself to search for bargains, remember the best deals are likely to be snapped up quickly, especially big-ticket items, and some products may already have sold out. Keep an eye out for deals throughout the week. Which? also has a Black Friday insider’s guide to help you find genuine bargains.

9) Save on delivery fees

Shoppers who don’t want to brave the high street on Black Friday and Cyber Monday can order items to a local store to collect at a quieter time. Shopping in this way can also help you save on delivery fees with many not charging for pick-ups.

10) Check the returns policy

For online shopping, the Consumer Contracts Regulations give you 14 days from when you receive most purchases to decide whether to keep them or return them for a full purchase price refund. You then have a further 14 days to send the items back. There are exceptions, including personalised items and products bought from some non-UK sites. Even where the regulations apply, you may not get delivery charges refunded and returns may not be free.

If an item is faulty or not as described, under the Consumer Rights Act you’re entitled to a full refund within 30 days of receipt, including delivery or return costs. See the Which? Faulty Goods Tool if you’re unsure of your rights.