Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, has become one of the busiest shopping days of the year. Enticed by price cuts on electronics, toys, and everything in between, consumers flock to stores in the hopes of completing their holiday shopping in one chaotic and savings-filled day.
Black Friday is always evolving – sales are starting earlier each year, especially online sales. Certain deals begin in early November and last throughout the month. Some stores are offering their Black Friday steals on Thanksgiving Day for customers willing to cut their turkey-fests short.
According the National Retail Federation’s annual consumer spending survey, consumers are planning on spending an average of $935.58 during this year’s holiday shopping season. With that much money on the table, businesses are doing all they can to attract customers and stand out from the competition.
Completing your holiday shopping while sticking to a budget is hard enough, so let your BBB help you navigate the complexities of Black Friday with these tips:
- Do your research. Before doing business anywhere, make sure to look up the company at org to see their BBB Business Profile, which includes information about the business, complaint records, and customer reviews. Check out BBB’s Accredited Business Directory to find a retailer that you can trust. It’s also smart to look up prices, find deals, and comparison shop online before the main event so that you can go in with a game plan. Make sure to read product reviews of potential purchases before heading out so that you don’t regret your buy.
- Protect your identity. Identity theft can happen at any time, and fraudsters might try to take advantage of the swell of shoppers on Black Friday. It’s ok to use public Wi-Fi to read product reviews and check out businesses on org, but be careful entering any personal information when connected. Steer clear of online banking and social media – your log-in information could be stolen. It’s also important to be aware of your surroundings and watch your wallet – someone might try to snatch it while you’re occupied comparing TVs. You may also want to use cash or pre-paid cards while shopping in stores in case of a point of sale data breach – hackers may target stores on Black Friday specifically because of the amount of transactions taking place.
- Watch out for deceptive advertising. You’re bound to see ads for deals that seem too good to be true. Unfortunately, some of these advertisements may be misleading at best and fraudulent at worst. Make sure to read the fine print, as ads often come with a multitude of restrictions. BBB’s AdTruth campaign can help you identify and avoid common schemes and highlights bad ads. If you see false advertising while out shopping you can report it at org/adtruth as well.
- Read up on return and exchange policies. Before you make a purchase, make sure you understand the return and exchange policies, and keep your receipts in one place in case you need to take something back. Some stores may not let you return specific “final sale” items, charge restocking fees, or only give store credit back. If you’re shopping for presents, get gift receipts and save all warranty information in case a problem occurs.
- Watch out for phishing. You might receive emails from brands advertising huge sales. But be careful, you might get phished. Some fraudsters create fake, look-alike business websites to trick you in to entering credit card information, so search for the company’s website independently instead of clicking on a link. Be careful clicking on links from unfamiliar senders, and look up businesses you don’t know on org before engaging with them.