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Consumer groups warn shoppers not to buy into Black Friday ads

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Posted at 4:42 PM, Nov 09, 2021

Brands are launching Black Friday sales sooner than ever, in part because of supply chain issues. But the ads, sales and deals themselves are relatively the same.

Consumer groups are cautioning shoppers not to buy into the pressure.

“They're not really offering you a deal. They're just continually offering something and saying that they discounted it. So, do make sure you shop around. Don't assume that even if it says 60% off, 70% off that it's a big blowout sale for the holidays. Even if it says ‘Black Friday,’ don't assume it's a good price unless you shopped around to make sure it is indeed the lowest price, you can get for it,” said Kevin Brasler, Executive Editor of the nonprofit Consumers' Checkbook.

Brasler says often the discounts advertised aren't really a discount. It will say 70% off, but the companies never actually sell the product at what the full price would be.

Another important thing to read first are return policies. Some don't let you return discounted items.

“I think also, if you're dealing with a retailer that's not being reasonable, that's not being cooperative, they've sold you something that didn't work out, they won't take it back, I think at that point, it's OK to request a chargeback from your credit card company,” said Brasler.

Brasler says you can also likely skip that warranty or protection plan that costs extra.

“The problem is a lot of these plans that they offer, they're really just not worthwhile. There are so many exclusions that they're just not worth buying,” said Brasler.

Now could also be a great time to look at your spending habits before you splurge for the holidays.

“The average American is now spending more than $650 a year on these kinds of auto pay offers where they've signed up for something and then they just keep paying over and over again, often without even using the service,” said Brasler.

Go through your credit cards and look for any reoccurring charges and cancel any subscriptions you aren't using, like TV and music streaming services, as well as fitness memberships.

Brasler says even Amazon Prime may not be worth it if you're only using the free shipping.

“For those who have stuck with Prime for that reason, for the shipping reason, not because they get other things out of it – they get free, you know, cloud backup of their photos, which is a nice benefit they might get, they might get discounts on things, you might watch the streaming service – but if you're still with Prime for the shipping stuff, you know, that's a reason to quit it,” said Brasler.