Matt Jackson

When Black Friday Sales Are Too Good to be True

Hard to believe the holidays are on the horizon - again! Which means so, too, are Black Friday price-drops and Cyber Monday specials! But do sales like these truly offer the discounts they suggest?

“I feel like I’m getting better deals, so I’m going buy more than I usually would if I went and was getting no deals,” said shopper Rachel Barer.

That ‘feeling’ is exactly what retailers are banking on, according to the financial team at Consumer Reports.

“Just the ‘idea’ that you’re getting a bargain, can affect a center of your brain that can cloud your reasoning and make you open your wallet. Of course, retailers know this and play on it, by offering deals that really might not be such good bargains,” said Margot Gilman, Consumer Reports Money Editor.

So how do shoppers know when they’re getting a real steal?

“Go in with your eyes wide open and with a healthy sense of skepticism –– and take advantage of tools that exist, many apps, that will help you track prices –– so you know when a deal is really a bargain,” said Gilman.

Before you buy, browser extensions such as The Camelizer, Invisible-Hand or PriceBlink –– scour the web for the best deals.

Price Alerts, such as CamelCamelCamel, Price-Tracker, Shop it to Me and Slick-Deals, tell you when prices for the items have dropped.

And, price comparison apps like Buy-Via, Now-Discount, Scan-Life and ShopSavvy –– can tell you if there’s a better deal out there –– online or even at a local store.

While you’re shopping, coupon apps such as Coupon Sherpa or Snip-Snap –– offer discounts to use at check out.

“What do you think about this for grandma,” said Barer.

Resources to help shoppers like Amy and Rachel really get all that they bargained for.

Want price protection even after you’ve shopped? Price adjustment apps continue to search the web after you charge something –– and initiate a refund if prices drop on something you’ve already bought. But you may have to expose your bank and credit card information, for the apps to work.

Copyright CR - Consumer Reports
Contact Us