Black Friday is approaching fast (this year it falls on Friday 24 November) and bargain hunters are raring to go. But do you know the best ways to pay or what to do if your goods don’t turn up or are faulty?
Whether you’re shopping from the sofa or braving the crowds, follow these tips to get the best bargains and know your consumer rights.
1) Make a list and check it twice
Write down everything you want to buy. If you’re shopping for Christmas presents decide in advance who to buy for and how much you want to spend on each person.
Next write down some ideas of what to get them, check how much they cost and decide how much the price would have to drop for it to be a real bargain. This process should help you avoid overspending.
Paying for things is easier than ever, with services like paypal and contactless bank cards, but this also means it’s easy to overspend without realising it. A simple tap of your card and you’re £30 down, so don’t get caught out buying more than you can afford. Decide how much you want to spend before you hit the sales and don’t let yourself spend a penny more.
If you don’t have the money to pay upfront don’t buy it or use a 0% credit card to spread the cost without having to pay hefty interest fees.
Citizens Advice offer help on budgeting if you think you might overspend or get into financial trouble over the festive period.
3) Get extra protection when you pay
If the item you’re buying is £100 or more it’s worth paying for it with your credit card to get Section 75 protection. It covers items that cost between £100 and £30,000 so if something goes wrong with your order your credit card provider must help you get your money back. It only works for single purchases though not your trolley of 10 items that add up to £100 together.
If what you’re buying is under £100, there’s still help available through Chargeback. This isn’t as strong as Section 75 but it does cover debit and prepaid cards as well.
4) Avoid the morning after regret
We’ve all done it. Found a complete bargain, ordered it and realised the next day that we don’t need it – so know your refund rights.
If you shop online, you’ve got 14 days to change your mind and get your money back. If you shop instore you don’t have the same rights, unless goods are faulty, and the retailer can refuse you a refund. If it’s faulty, you’ve got 30 days to return it and get your money back.
Shops often have their own customer service rules on refunds. Ask about their policy when you’re buying as they will often let you exchange the item or give you a credit note.
5) How to handle delivery dilemmas
When ordering goods online, delivery is something everyone begrudges paying for, so check if there’s a voucher code for free delivery before you buy.
Decide how soon you need your items, if you can wait for a week, select the cheapest delivery option. Many stores offer click and collect which can save you loads on delivery.
Delivery costs are often the difference between a bargain and not. Check a few sites, even if the item’s more expensive, free delivery could make it cheaper. If your item doesn’t turn up at all, contact the seller to see where it is. If it still doesn’t arrive you’re entitled to a full refund or replacement. If you don’t get your money back from the seller you could be covered by Section 75 or Chargeback schemes.
6) Spread the festive cheer
When you’ve chosen your items, check if you can give a little back by using a cashback website. As Christmas is the time of giving, take a look at Give as you Live. It works like cashback sites Quidco and TopCashback, but gives the money to a charity of your choice instead.
7) Black Friday in Bath
If you decide to brave the crowds here’s your mini survival guide:
• Plan your parking – the city centre has lots of one way roads which will be congested and the carparks will fill quickly. Think about using the park and ride rather than trying to battle the queue for the carpark.
• The Christmas Market will already be up, so remember the streets will be full of tourists coming to see the beautiful chalets. Make a plan – it’ll be easy to get swept in by the lure of mulled wine and mince pies. Take the morning as prime shopping time to grab bargains, and lots of sizes will sell out quickly so get in early.
• Plan where you’re going to go. The central area holds the major retailers, but visit places like Milsom Street or Walcot Street to find independent shops who might also offer discounts.
Words by Hannah Maundrell, Editor in Chief of money.co.uk.