Black Friday is terrifying. There's literally a death count every year.
But in addition to posing a safety risk, the major discount day is also a financial gamble. As popular companies promote their sale details, scammers and illegal vendors also prepare to take advantage of eager shoppers.
TL;DR Below are 10 tips to help you avoid scams and rip-offs during this major sale week.
Though major corporations don't have the best reputation, either, when it comes to honesty with their customers.
Across Canada and the internet this week and next, vendors and companies will compete for the attention of consumers with misleading information and inflated promotional material.
To help you protect yourself and avoid scams and rip-offs, we've compiled this list of tips for Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
Stay safe, Canada!
Don't believe sale posters in store windows
Window posters that promise huge sales within can be pretty eye-catching. But often, these stickers are nothing more than a sneaky trick. Stores will purposefully only keep a small supply of the items that their posters advertise, sell out quickly, and keep the signs up to lure customers inside. Then, employees will try to tempt you with "comparable" deals that offer nowhere near the savings of the first sale.
These posters will also probably have finer print below with confusing or misleading language. It's best to just ignore sale posters, altogether.
Don't take less than 30-40% off
That's according to Forbes. 40% is the threshold for a good deal on clothes and accessories, which are usually cheaper in months of seasonal change, like August-September and April-May. 30% off or more is the marker of a good deal on most other products, especially for brands that don't have regular sales. Often, companies will disguise only slight discounts as major Black Friday events. Don't waste time on anything less than 30% off.
Do research on vendors and beware of knock-offs
The black market also thrives on Black Friday. Online shopping platforms will be flooded with fake products from sketchy vendors. Avoid impulsive buys. Do research on sellers before making a purchase. Most vendors will have customer reviews and/or legitimate websites. Explore those before doing anything you'll regret. Once you pay, there's no getting your money back.
Shop at reduced-price department stores
Before buying something that seems to be well-priced, search for the same product on the website of stores like Winners and Marshalls. They may have the same product at an even lower price. Such department stores may not have the most attractive Black Friday sales, but remember that they have reduced prices year-round.
Plan exactly where you're going to shop
Committing to a Black Friday shopping plan can minimize the chances of getting lured by promises of great deals from other stores. Black Friday frenzy and crowd mentality are real phenomena! Also be sure to make a schedule, since sales can change by the hour or as supplies last. This is a trick stores use to keep customers coming all day long.
Have flyers ready and demand discounts
How many times have you spotted an incredible coupon online only to discover that employees in store have never even heard of the deal. Some people even suspect that this is an intentional tactic to get customers in stores. But that would be fraud. Still, keep tabs open on your phone and event print out Black Friday flyers to hold stores accountable to their promises.
Scrutinize sales that are too good to be true
They probably are. Or there will likely be at least some major catch. This is especially true for trendy toys and gifts, according to Global News. Vendors will sell counterfeit products once they sell out in stores and on accredited websites.
Shop on Thursday or Saturday
While everyone aniticipates Black Friday, some deals also extend to the days around it. Sometimes, these deals will be even better than those on Friday. Shoppers will just have to search a little harder.
Or just wait until mid-December to shop
According to Clark, the lowest prices of the holiday season actually appear in the week before Christmas. Black Friday prices may be marked as discounts when there is only a slight difference between sale and regular price. Avoid the mess altogether and outsmart other gullible shoppers.