With Black Friday around the corner, a consumer expert has warned people not to get carried away with so-called “bargains”.
The rush and chaos of Black Friday have become a core part of the Christmas – although Irish Times Consumer Affairs Correspondent Conor Popes reminded us it’s a relatively new invention in Ireland.
“Black Friday only came into this part of the world in 2013 – it's its 10th birthday,” he told The Anton Savage Show.
“It started out in America, and it has a reason to exist in America – Black Friday would have traditionally fallen on the day after Thanksgiving.
“It was the US equivalent of Stephen's Day when everyone was fed up with their family and wanted to go shopping.”
Mr Pope explained Asda in the UK was the first shop to bring Black Friday across the Atlantic.
“People went wild for it,” he said. “I mean literally wild.”
“There was blood in the aisle while people were fighting over cheaper tellies.
“The following year, a lot more retailers had Black Friday until it became a Christmas tradition.”
Sales across the year
Now, Mr Pope said, Irish people rush to shops for sales and bargains – even if they don’t necessarily need to.
“There's so many sales in the Irish retailer landscape that you don't need to panic if you miss the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales because there will be another one in six weeks,” he said.
“If you're in the market for something and miss out, don’t worry; it's coming down the tracks.”
Mr Pope pointed out the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) protects consumers from scams at the sales.
Retailers must to ensure, for example, that something advertised as “50% off" is 50% cheaper than the price it was for the last 30 days.
“The CCPC increases transparency and ensures that discounts are genuine,” Mr Pope said.
Black Friday red flags
There are still some red flags to look out for, however, to make sure you’re getting a genuine bargain.
“The RRP, for example, is the recommended retail price and it’s completely misleading,” Mr Pope said.
“It tells you how much a product might have been on sale for when it was launched.
“When the Apple iPhone 10 was launched it might have an RRP of €1,000 but it’s old now, so it would be sold for €300,” he gave as an example.
Mr Pope also noted that the CCPC can’t control the advertising of international online stores, such as Amazon, or advertising from other countries, such as the UK.
“It doesn’t matter if it’s Black Friday,” he said. “It's only a bargain if you want it, you need it and you can afford it.
“Otherwise, you're just wasting your money.”
He urged people to shop with a critical eye.
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