Is your January sales bargain a fake?Which? experts tell you how to spot a genuine deal

08 January 2016

Red sales labels

If you're shopping in the January sales, make sure you're actually getting a bargain

Despite consuming our own body weight in mince pies and chocolate over Christmas, many of us will be planning on heading out to the January sales, or hunkering down for some online sales shopping. Read on to make sure you know how to spot genuine January deals.

You might have been planning your January sales strategy pre-Christmas and know exactly what you're looking for, or you may be looking for an opportunist buy. Whichever it is, before you dive into buying, check out our advice to help you decide if you're getting a genuine deal. 

We've found that all January sales are not made equal and sometimes you're not really getting a bargain at all. 

You'll also want to know that what you're buying is worth paying for, rather than a substandard model that the shop's trying to offload. So make sure you check out our reviews of products that are likely to be hot property in the sales, including coffee machines, bullet blenders and cordless vacuums.

Top five tips for grabbing a January sales bargain 

1. Don't assume a January offer price is special. When we've looked at offers on electricals, we've found they're not necessarily any cheaper in January than they are at any other time of the year - even when they're on offer. 

That means you should check price histories where you can. Some sites, such as Pricerunner and CamelCamelCamel, show graphs of the historic prices of products. Pricerunner gives an average across shops and CamelCamelCamel shows Amazon prices.

2. Look out for footnotes or notices explaining offers. We've seen notes that said the product was actually only at the higher price for a really short amount of time, months before the current offer. These notes can be well hidden, so do scroll down or read the small print.

3. Look at the launch date (especially on tech). Many products get cheaper over time as they’re replaced by newer models. So just because an item’s been reduced from a higher price, it doesn’t mean it’s a bargain - as the higher price may be outdated. 

Buying an older model can be a good way to get a cheaper product if you're not fussed about the latest gadgets. But take the higher price or claimed RRP with a pinch of salt.

4. Check the price in different shops. We sometimes find that more than one shop has a product at a similar price, but there's only one that's claiming that specific price is a special offer, indicating it's not that good a deal.

5. Try to find out what the real RRP or cost is. Not all manufacturers have RRPs, but some do and some sell directly on their own websites. If you have products in mind, this can be another way of finding out what the true cost is.

Making sure you chose the right product

There's no point getting a bargain on a bad product, whether it's a washing machine that leaves your clothes soapy or an iron that's little more than a paperweight. We've listed some of our popular reviews below so you can do your research and make sure you don't end up with a post Christmas turkey:

More on this...

  • Discover the best shops and websites for buying electricals
  • Need to return something? Know your shopping rights
  • Looking for January sales inspiration? See our January sales hub