EventsEventsPodcasts
Loader
Find Us
ADVERTISEMENT

Black Friday: Are you being ripped off? Here are the scams to avoid

Victims lost an average of £970 to purchase scams over last year's Black Friday period in the UK, according to Barclays.
Victims lost an average of £970 to purchase scams over last year's Black Friday period in the UK, according to Barclays. Copyright STRINGER/AFP or licensors
Copyright STRINGER/AFP or licensors
By Eva Kandoul
Published on Updated
Share this articleComments
Share this articleClose Button

There will be fewer good deals and more scams than you think. How can you avoid falling into the Black Friday traps? Euronews Business takes a look.

ADVERTISEMENT

Black Friday deals are in full swing but beware as "there will be more misleading sales than real discounts," Gregory Caret, the director of UFC-Que choisir, the consumer observatory of France’s leading consumer association, has warned.

UFC-Que choisir's recent investigation has shown that, as in previous years, false promotions are proliferating with experts telling Euronews Business that it is exceptional to find a real discount during the Black Friday sales.

Retailers have to display the lowest price within the last 30 days since the implementation of the European directive Omnibus, designed to improve consumer protection. A measure that some retailers bypass.

Manipulated reference price

The bigger the discount, the more vigilant you should be. "If you see a 50%, 40% discount, you need to understand that it’s probably a fake promotion: the retailer is manipulating the reference price to fool people into thinking they’re buying at the best selling price with a gigantic promotion," Caret added.

Retailers may increase the reference price before Black Friday.

Some retailers change their reference price before Black Friday to make you think you’re getting a good deal.
Some retailers change their reference price before Black Friday to make you think you’re getting a good deal.UFC-Que Choisir

Take this washing machine for example: "The €349.99 price was only applied from October 18, for a promotion that took place on November 13, not quite 30 days later. The merchant could therefore not take this price as a reference," UFC-Que Choisir said in its report.

Another deceptive practice used by retailers to make you think you’re getting a good deal is to display the highest comparison price of its competitors or the manufacturer’s suggested retail price rather than the original price. "Reference prices you never actually find in shops," Caret added.

Some references prices may have never been used before Black Friday.
Some references prices may have never been used before Black Friday.UFC-Que Choisir

And the devil is in the details. "It’s impossible to tell the difference: you have a crossed-out price, then a percentage in both cases. A higher reference price, a bigger discount and a higher incentive for people to shop," Olivier Gayraud, lawyer at the consumer association CLCV, commented.

"But these reference prices may have never been used before Black Friday," he added.

The consumer association found that prices were not significantly lower than those of the week before and the week after Black Friday. In the vast majority of cases, retailers have used a flattering comparison price for his selling price. "And all products are affected by deceptive practices," noted Gayraud.

Online scams: Don’t fall for the bait

Watch out for scammers seeking cash on Black Friday. It’s the perfect occasion for fraudsters to try to sell you products which don’t exist 

"There’s an overactivity of scams during Black Friday as scammers have a higher success rate," Jérôme Notin, head of Cybermalveillance.gouv.fr, the French platform that assists victims of cyber malware, observed.

Barclays issued an urgent warning, revealing a 22% increase in money lost to purchase scams during the Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales last year. Victims lost an average of £970.

One of the most common purchase scams is the fake parcel delivery text. You might receive text messages about a delivery you’ve never made with links leading to a fraudulent website that replicates a legitimate one. 

"The delivery of a parcel has been suspended due to additional charges" is another message you could get. To unblock the situation, the victim must enter his or her name, phone number and address, then provide bank details to pay an additional €1.99 for delivery.

ADVERTISEMENT

"You even have fake websites with very attractive offers," Notin added. "The aim remains the same: steal your personal and financial information," he explained.

Fake websites proliferate with the aim of stealing your financial information.
Fake websites proliferate with the aim of stealing your financial information.Cybermalveilance.gouv.fr

The rise of AI has eased pirates' access to your bank account. "They use this tool to make the perfect phishing message. Spelling mistakes are no longer a hallmark test to assess the legitimacy of a message." And banks rarely give you a refund if you fall into the trap, Notin also said.

Experts gave Euronews three tips to avoid getting ripped off and make the most of Black Friday.

1. Stay calm (before carrying on and clicking ‘pay’)

ADVERTISEMENT

Stay vigilant and take your time when you’re shopping: don’t rush into the payment. If we promise you an 80% discount on television, obviously there’s something wrong. Either the retailer has increased their reference price or it’s a fake website and your item will never make it to your doorstep.

A good deal may exist, but it’s not so easy to find so don’t take the retailer’s word for it when they promise you a big discount.

2. Don’t believe in false promises: use comparison sites

It’s up to you to assess whether you’re getting a discount: don’t believe there's a promotion unless you have checked for yourself. Copy the reference of the product and type it into a search engine to see how much this product is being sold by competitors. And use several comparison websites, sometimes they’ll show you the historical reference price.

ADVERTISEMENT

3. Don’t click a link to an unsolicited text or email

Never use a clickable link. If you receive a text or an email you’re unsure about, type the name of the site into a search engine and see if there are any comments or previous transactions. Be careful about how you access an internet link to avoid fraudulent sites.

And one last tip to go to become a smarter shopper during Black Friday:

Share this articleComments

You might also like