Bargain hunters warned to be beware of fake Black Friday sales

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Nov 16, 2022 |

Consumer NZ is warning bargain hunters to 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 watchdog is sharing top tips to help savvy shoppers prepare for the advertising deluge to come. 

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

Team Consumer 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.” 

As part of its Right to Repair tracking investigation, Consumer 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

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.

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.

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.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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