Don’t make Black Friday blacker than it needs to be

David Jinks, head of consumer research at logistics specialist Parcelhero, gives his views on  Black Friday deals that are not all they seem and reminds retailers of online buyers’ right to demand a refund if they are dissatisfied

So, the Which? report has revealed half of all Black Friday Bargains were in fact cheaper in the months before and after Black Friday last year. Why are we not exactly surprised?

The Which? findings serve only to reinforce our feeling that it pays bargain-hunters to research and buy their Black Friday bargains online rather than in-store.

It also supports what many of us have noticed for some time – that not every Black Friday deal that glisters is really gold.

It has become increasingly obvious this year that the whole of November, at least from Singles’ Day (November 11) – the world’s biggest single trading day – is awash with online bargains. Some sites are trailing what products will be cheapest and when throughout November.

It really doesn’t pay shoppers to fall for an in-shop ‘bargain’ they haven’t researched previously. And there’s absolutely no need for consumers to take part in the now traditional, unseemly scrummage that still takes place in some stores on the day.

Retailers should be aware that consumers who buy online, rather than in-store, are protected against any misleading price claims – and many other issues. The vast majority of products can be sent back within 14 days – without having to give a reason, except for products such as CDs and software where the packaging seal has been broken.

Retailers should also take note that any consumer who finds that a product they bought on Black Friday is cheaper still on Cyber Monday, can return it with no questions asked. That’s because it’s covered by the UK’s Consumer Contracts Regulations.

In contrast, shop-bought items only have to conform to the Consumer Rights Act and UK bricks-and-mortar shops only need take back an item if it’s faulty. Of course if a shop has any additional and more customer-friendly returns policies, it is legally obliged to stick to them.