An incredible nine out of 10 'deals' on Black Friday aren't deals at all, according to an investigation.
The probe, carried out by consumer group Which? found 92% of products on offer during the annual sales were the same price or cheaper in the six months prior.
Gadgets such as TVs, soundbars, and iPhones weren't really bargains at all across six major retailers, including John Lewis, Argos, Amazon, AO, Currys, and Richer Sounds.
Researchers looked at the prices of 201 products during the six months leading up to Black Friday as well as on the day itself.
In one case, a washing machine at John Lewis was 'discounted' to £309 on Black Friday, but cost £60 less at £249 just five months prior.
Which? claimed that, out of all of the retailers it analysed, Richer Sounds was the worst culprit when it came to 'deals' which were not cheaper before Black Friday, with four out of fourteen products on offer falling short of a bargain.
One in five people who bought tech goodies during the sales last year even said they did little or no research on reviews of products.
So if you're after the best bargains this Black Friday, it's important to compare prices across multiple retailers and make sure you're not being shortchanged.
"Take time to identify the products you really want and check that the 'deal' you're seeing represents a genuine saving," said Ele Clark, retail editor of Which?.
"That way, you can beat the hype and be confident that you'll emerge from the Black Friday sales with quality products that will last for years to come—and all for a bargain price."
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The retailers surveyed broadly downplayed the claims. Currys explained that, last year, 98% of its Black Friday products were equal to or at their cheapest price compared to the previous six months, while 54% were at their 'lowest ever' price.
Amazon told Which?: “We seek to offer our customers great value thanks to low prices all year round as well as a number of fantastic seasonal deals events.
“Our Black Friday sale is about thousands of deals on a huge selection of products from every category across the site, at a time of year when we know saving money is important to our customers. And the best thing about shopping online is that customers can easily compare prices, allowing them to make an informed purchase decision.”
Argos also denied the claims, saying: “We’re committed to offering our customers a wide range of products at great prices throughout the year and our Black Friday deals are no exception.”
A spokesperson for AO said: “Customers can get deals all year round at AO and Black Friday is the biggest opportunity to get genuine, great-value deals alongside our year-round price match guarantee.”
John Lewis said: “As a participating retailer in Black Friday, we offer fantastic deals across technology, home, beauty and fashion – these are just some of the many promotions our customers can take advantage of throughout the year.”
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Richer Sounds meanwhile explained that price fluctuations within the hi-fi industry affected prices year-round.
A spokesperson said: "This can mean that products (annoyingly for all) may be sold in the following Black Friday promotion at prices that are higher than during the preceding year, but rest assured that all the deals that we sell are at the keenest prices possible at the time of the Black Friday 'event' (which, please note, starts several days before the day itself)."
So, if you're after the best bargains this Black Friday, make sure you keep up to date with all of the latest deals throughout the week.
- Black Friday
- John Lewis
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