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BBB Trends: Be warned — is the Black Friday deal for real? Check it out before you spend your money


By Sandra Guile
Better Business Bureau

Dubbed Black Friday because of the traffic, crowds, and hostile behavior many shoppers have to deal with, the day after Thanksgiving is still expected to be exceptionally busy for both retailers and consumers across the United States.

Nearly 151 million shoppers hit the stores last year and spent approximately $300 each according to a National Retail Federation (NRF) survey. However, this year’s holiday spending is expected to surpass that number by 3.6 percent.

Many people use Black Friday deals as a way to cut down on their holiday shopping list without spending too much. Last year, most shoppers bought things like clothing, toys, electronics, and entertainment items to give as gifts during the holiday season.

If you’re in the process of planning your Black Friday shopping experience, be alert to deals on low-budget pieces that retailers are simply trying to unload quickly.

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Just because a product is positioned a certain way doesn’t mean that’s what you’re actually getting. Research the advertised company before adding them to your Black Friday plan; read the reviews of their products, look at their sales fliers, and compare their prices before making a decision. Consult bbb.org for additional information about their business practices.

When considering a major purchase like electronics, appliances, or furniture, carefully read the fine print to see if there are restrictions on the sale. Some stores may only honor a sale ad during a certain time frame, or they may limit the number of items people can purchase. Before buying an expensive piece, ask if there is a warranty included or if you need to purchase additional coverage. Make sure to keep all of your receipts related to the purchase in case there are any issues.

Because of the frenzy of shopping in stores on Black Friday, some shoppers may prefer to take advantage of online deals that are only available that day. BBB encourages online shoppers to be cautious and to verify that they are truly on the website of the retailer that is having the sale. It’s easy for a fake site to mimic a famous retailer’s website.

One way to save money from stores you where you regularly shop is to sign up for their email alerts. Many stores release their best Black Friday deals early to their email list, but it is important to check that emails you receive are in fact from the brick and mortar store where you typically shop. Phishing emails sent from scammers acting like a legitimate company are just one way they can gather your personal information and ruin your Black Friday experience.

Before braving Black Friday to complete your holiday shopping list, consult bbb.org to gather information on the businesses where you’re planning to shop and find tips on how to spot the real deal.

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Sandra Guile is the Community Outreach Specialist for BBB. She promotes BBB’s message of marketplace ethics through public speaking engagements, presentations, media relations, press releases, web content, and other written materials. Contact Sandra at (513) 639-9126 or sguile@cincinnati.bbb.org. Your BBB is located at 1 East 4th Street Suite 600 Cincinnati, Ohio 45202 – to reach the office, call (513) 421-3015.


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