Black Friday is just around the corner, and it’s the perfect time to snag some great deals from the comfort of your home. But before you dive into the world of online shopping, let’s take a moment to talk about consumer rights and how to make sure you’re getting the best value for your money.
Research Before You Buy
Whether it is countdown timers, ‘x people are looking at this product’ or ‘final few items’ labels, websites use high-pressure tactics to push you to click that “Add to Cart” button.
But wait! Take a deep breath and remember these tips that might save you money. You will thank us later…
Is it Worth the Hype?
While purchasing discounted items can save you money, one trick will save you more money than any other: not buying anything you don’t need. With his Money Mantras, Money saving expert Martin Lewis suggests asking yourself:
If you’re skint: Do I Need it? Can I Afford it? Have You Checked Prices Elsewhere? If the answer is no, DON’T BUY IT!
If you’re not skint: Will I Use it? Is it Worth it? Have You Checked Prices Elsewhere? If the answer is no, DON’T BUY IT!
Read the Reviews
Make sure you read the reviews from other shoppers. It’s worth checking both the site you plan to buy from and other sites selling the same product. Look for reviews that mention the product’s quality, durability, and whether it met the buyer’s expectations. Remember, reviews are your best friend when it comes to online shopping.
Is It Really a Deal?
During Black Friday, it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement of discounts. But some deals are not all they seem. For example, it is not unusual for shops to artificially raise the price of a product a few weeks beforehand, only to reduce it back down to the original price and pretend it’s a discount.
The best way to confirm that a deal is worth it is to compare prices across different websites. Sometimes, the same item may be available at a better price elsewhere, so try not to get caught up in the rush to buy.
Understand Your Return and Refund Rights
One of the advantages of online shopping is the convenience of changing your mind later. You have certain rights when it comes to returning or refunding items purchased online. The Consumer Contracts Regulations guarantee the following:
- You have the legal right to return most items bought online if you notify the seller within 14 days and send them back within another 14 days.
- There is no legal right to return items bought in-store (unless faulty). But in reality, most stores have more generous policies which allow you to change your mind and return the item, no questions asked. This varies from company to company. For example, Asda have a 100-day return policy on clothes and shoes.
- If the item is faulty, you have 30 days to return it for a full refund.
- If the item doesn’t arrive or is damaged during delivery, you have the right to a replacement or refund.
Read the Fine Print
It may not be the most fun thing, but it is worth reading the seller’s terms and conditions. This will give you a clear idea of the return policy, shipping costs, and delivery times. Knowing these details can save you and stop you from being surprised later on.
Product descriptions are important, too. Don’t forget the story about someone who thought they were buying a cheap game console online – only to be sent just a photo of one.
Shop from Reputable Retailers
Nobody wants to buy knock-off or low-quality products, especially when they think they are buying stylish Adidas shoes but receive ‘Abibas’ instead!
To reduce the risk, stick to well-known retailers. Be especially careful of branded goods being sold by independent sellers on Facebook, Gumtree and similar sites. Remember that if a deal seems too good to be true from an unknown seller, it might be a scam.
Black Friday can be a great opportunity to score some amazing online deals. Remember to take your time, research, and be aware of your consumer rights. At the end of the day, if you end up worse off – what’s the point?