With Black Friday and Cyber Monday 2015 taking place this weekend (27 and 30 November), it’s quite possible that you’ll be thinking about snapping up some bargains.
The discount days are no longer just for US shoppers – it’s now a big event over here in the UK too.
Last year, Black Friday was the biggest shopping day in the year for many stores, and even more retailers are set to take part this year (although Asda has said it won’t be). It’s not just for gifts or big TVs either – B&Q and Halfords have both confirmed they’ll have deals this Black Friday – so if you’re looking to buy some essential items for your home or car, it might be worth waiting until the weekend.
But how can you make sure your purchases stay safe on Black Friday? Let’s take a look at what you can do to protect yourself.
Don’t get scammed
If you’ll be shopping online, it’s a good idea to follow some simple rules so you don’t get tripped up by fraudsters. Take a look at our tips for avoiding the scammers:
- Check the website address: even if a website looks like a familiar shopping site, check the URL in the address bar, as fraudsters can replicate sites and use a slightly different address. When you checkout make sure that the site is secure – you should see the https:// and a little padlock icon in the menu bar of your browser that tells you that the site is secure.
- Common sense on discounts: discounts on Black Friday are great, but if they seem too good to be true, they could be fake products. Trust your instincts – if you see branded goods selling for a tiny fraction of what they usually retail for, it’s possible that they’re counterfeit.
- Use sites you know: by sticking to reputable retailers you know are taking part in Black Friday this year, like Amazon, Tesco or B&Q, you’ll know that you’re buying from a trusted source, so your purchases are less likely to have any problems and you’ll easily be able to claim your money back if something does go wrong.
Credit card protection
One way you can give your shopping an extra layer of protection is by using a credit card to pay for goods. This is because purchases you make (subject to rules below) using your credit card are covered by Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act 1974, a handy piece of legislation for UK shoppers. This states that if you pay for something on your credit card and it never turns up, or it is delivered but there is a problem with it, you can claim the money back from your credit card provider.
Items costing between £100 and £30,000 bought with a credit card are covered by Section 75, so if the retailer you originally bought the goods from has shut down, goes bust or fails to deliver you shouldn’t be left out of pocket.
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However big the Black Friday and Cyber Monday bargains are it is important not to allow yourself to overspend. When you pay using a credit card, it’s important to make sure that you’ll be able to afford to make at least the minimum repayments. Missing payments can cause you serious credit problems for up to six years and it means you’ll have to pay extra fees and charges. If you do plan to spread the cost over a few months remember to factor in the interest that you’ll need to pay on your purchases – which could make a bargain seem less attractive.
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