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Black Friday warning: Consumers must use ‘common sense’ as scams emerge – guidance issued

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Black Friday officially launches on November 27 but, up until that date, many retailers may launch early deals to entice shoppers. With Christmas approaching, many consumers are likely to lap up as many deals as they can and with so few physical shops open, the demand for online service may never be higher.

This demand can be evidenced by examining research conducted by Pink Casino for the Bargain Hunters Study.

Their research revealed searches for online sales rose substantially throughout the lockdown period in the UK and as such, experts are urging shoppers to look out for “too good to be true” sales in the run-up to Black Friday.

The study found that searches for online offers spiked during lockdown, with ‘free shipping’ seeing a 22 percent increase, ‘free trial’ up 32 percent, and ‘cheap clothes’ queries seeing a massive 46 percent rise in interest.

According to the study, shoppers are seeking the best deals from some of the biggest online names which include Amazon, Next, Debenhams, ASOS and Matalan.

It is likely this demand will rise in the coming weeks as coronavirus restrictions continue to impact lives and the threat of additional limits continues to loom.

As such, several experts have stepped forward to ensure consumers are not taken advantage of in the current environment.

Ethan Taub, the CEO of Loary, highlighted the key things that determine what makes a good, legitimate deal: “The sign of a good online deal is if the sale markdown clearly shows you how much you’re saving, and you’re able to double-check the saving via online comparison sites.”

David Baddeley, a Director at Scottish Trust Deed, added to this: “a good online sale will cover a lot of the store and offer a blanket discount on everything.”

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Unfortunately, as online retailers are expected to see a rise in demand over Black Friday, the likelihood of scammers setting up a fake site to take advantage of vulnerable shoppers is also set to rise.

James Lewin, a Marketing Manager at Bring Me Drink, laid out what should be looked out for to determine legitimacy: “first, make sure that the website you’re buying from is secure.

“You can usually do this by looking for the padlock symbol in your browser.

“Similarly, a lot of it is common sense. If something worth £100 is being sold for £20 (and is in mint condition), you should be wary about that.

“While some circumstances will justify a discount like that, like the company shutting down, it could also be too good to be true.”

Petra Odadk the Chief Marketing Officer at Better Proposals, agreed with this and reiterated: “A sale is too good to be true if you’re getting something virtually for free or with a minimum amount of money spent in exchange for a big reward.”

Ethan also warned shoppers to be wary about pushy timescales: “if a retailer offers a sale on an item for 24 hours, it can sometimes mean shop owners are trying to get rid of stock and sell them as fast as they can – and you might not even be getting a better price.”

These warnings could prove vital as additional research from money.co.uk revealed right out of 10 shoppers plan to “splash out” on Black Friday sales.

Of those surveyed, Four in 10 said they will spend £200 – £300 more this year than they did last year on Black Friday, with one in 10 spending £500 more.

A further 15 percent admitted they will splash out between £600 to £2,000.

Salman Haqqi, a personal finance expert at money.co.uk, welcomed this demand but urged shoppers to utilise credit cards where they can for extra protection: “For added protection on Black Friday and Cyber Monday purchases, online or in-store, consider using your credit card.

“Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, if you pay for an item using your credit card, then you have rights to claim a refund from your credit card provider as well as the seller if something goes wrong.

“This extra protection applies when you buy an item that costs between £100 and £30,000 and means if the seller goes bust or fails to deliver your item you can approach your credit card company to get your money back.”

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