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It’s two weeks until Black Friday

Here's how to prepare for the biggest sale season of the year

It’s two weeks until Black Friday

On 23 November, shops around the country will be hosting their Black Friday sales. But is it worth buying things in the sales, and how do you know if you’re really getting a good deal?

It may have a long history in the USA, but Black Friday is a relative newcomer in the UK but is becoming increasingly popular among shoppers.

In fact, a report published this week by consumer insight group McKinsey revealed that 54% of its UK survey respondents had shopped in Black Friday sales in 2017, and 36% were excited for the 2018 sales period.

But more than 80% of those UK shoppers admitted to doing little or no research ahead of their Black Friday shopping. While it can be a good time to find online and in-store deals, it’s also common for retailers to promote their less popular products and overemphasise questionable offers.

The key to finding a true bargain is preparing in advance and only buying products that you know are good value, so you don’t end up with Black Friday regrets.

Our Black Friday guide explains everything you need to know

Preparing for Black Friday 2018

Whether you’re heading out on foot or facing the shopping frenzy online, preparation is important if you’re looking for the best deals:

  • Set an alarm Sales will start early on Friday morning so get up in time to grab your deal.
  • Sign up to mailing lists Find out what’s on offer as soon as it’s announced. Some retailers may even offer advance viewing to people on the mailing list.
  • Know what you’re looking for Avoid sales regrets by only buying products you know you’ll love. Make a shortlist using our product reviews, to make sure you’re getting the best products.
  • Check for price-matching schemes Some retailers, such as John Lewis, will honour price matching on Black Friday deals and so could be good places to get started.
crowded street of shoppers

How to make sure you’re getting a good deal

Which? research into Black Friday deals has found that some products are not actually their best prices on Black Friday. Cut through the hype with our price checking advice:

  • Note the price history When you’re making your shortlist ahead of Black Friday, make a note of what each item costs. You may find that retailers quote inaccurate ‘before’ prices to overhype their deals, so you’ll be able to check whether they match up to the real recent selling price.
  • Be wary of price comparisons In our experience, offers such as ‘was £100, now £50’ tend to exaggerate the discount you’re getting.
  • Check the price of the product across multiple shops Rather than rely on ‘was’ prices, compare online prices at different retailers so you know you’re getting the best price.
  • Try to find the real RRP Not all manufacturers have RRPs (recommended retail prices) but some display them on their websites. In 2015, we found a Black Friday ‘offer’ in which Argos was advertising a discount that was more than the product’s RRP.
  • Read the reviews Even a great discount is no use if the product’s not worth buying. Discover our Which? Best Buys to find the best products.

Don’t fall for advertising tricks: five misleading pricing tactics to avoid in sales.

Your right to return if you change your mind

  • Returning to a store Each shop will have its own returns policy, so find out what this is before you buy so you know how long you have to return it. Some will extend the returns period over Christmas, and some will reduce it for sales. If something you’ve bought is faulty, you have particular rights. Find out more in our guide to faulty products.
  • Online returns If you change your mind about something you’ve bought online, you do have a right to return it. You have 14 days from the day you receive your order to tell the company you want to return it and then another 14 days to post the item back. Learn more about your rights when online shopping.
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