The National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) have issued guidance designed to help consumers isolated at home or working from home protect themselves from malware attacks and phishing scams delivered by email.
Black Friday may officially kick off 29 November, but many retailers started their sales earlier.
But all may not be as it seems. Following an investigation into Black Friday, Natalie Hitchins, head of home products and services at consumer group, Which?, warned shoppers the event “is all hype with few genuine discounts.” Ouch.
How to shop smart and stay safe this Black Friday
So, before you plunge into the pandemonium of Black Friday, use our tips to shop like a pro without getting caught out.
Check the deal is genuine
The rush in activity on Black Friday can often mean shoppers purchase items they wouldn’t normally. This means you may get caught out on price.
Make sure you check the price history of a product on sites such as PriceRunner. By doing so, you can get a handle on whether the discount is worth it. In addition, take the time to check comparison sites as it is not uncommon for retailers to price match on certain items.
Shop on sites you are familiar with
Common-sense shopping can dissipate at the click of a mouse when you find yourself seduced by mega deals.
No matter the price cut, your security is more important than a cheap Apple iWatch. Avoid sites which look unprofessional with non-secure checkouts and too-good-to-be-true offers saturated with adverts. Stick to the retailers you know - such as Amazon, Argos and Debenhams – as they have the right infrastructure in place to ensure you have a safe online shopping experience.
Check the returns and exchange policies
Sometimes you buy a product which is the wrong size, not what you expected and sometimes even damaged, therefore, it’s a good idea to check the retailer’s rules on returns and exchanges.
Brands often place restrictions on returning sales items, so investigate the following:
- Is the sale item exchange only?
- Is the return process hassle-free?
- Is it a 14-day or 28-day return period?
- Is there a 14-day cooling-off cancellation period from the day you placed the order?
Be aware of ‘was’ and ‘now’ prices
Don’t be fooled by offers like ‘was £100, and now £50’ as this can exaggerate the discount you’re getting and trick you into thinking you’re getting a better deal than you are. Take your time, don’t be rushed and do your due diligence before you buy.
Wait and buy second-hand
The UK is obsessed with gadgets, therefore, it’s not uncommon for shoppers to purchase the latest model of their favourite electronic and then flog the ‘old’ items online. By hitting pause on Black Friday and opting for second-hand you could get your hands on a perfectly good product at a fraction of the cost. Once more, second-hand shopping is one of the best ways to have a more sustainable lifestyle – bonus!
And what about the cash savings you make…?
Be sure to keep it safe in your savings account of course!
If you have any questions about our savings accounts or would like to open one with us, pop in to your local branch or contact us by using our online form and one of our qualified savings advisers will be in touch.
A full list of our savings accounts can be found here.