Yorkshire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
12:16 PM 18th November 2023

2023’s Most Common Black Friday Sales Tricks Revealed

Image by Ondřej Šponiar from Pixabay
Image by Ondřej Šponiar from Pixabay
Last year, it was revealed that 98% of Black Friday deals didn’t actually save consumers money. To help shoppers identify dodgy deals and misleading claims, YouFibre has analysed this year’s advertised ‘deals’ and released a list of the most common tricks being used by retailers this November.

Black Friday red flags:

Scarcity sales tactics – Retailers will sometimes add messages like ‘only five left in stock’, or ‘this product was viewed by 800 other people today’. These messages are designed to pressure you into purchasing quickly, without considering if you really need a product and there’s no way of identifying if the claims are true.

Using low prices as bait – A common online sales tactic is to advertise one product at a low price to tempt shoppers in. However, once the consumer clicks through, the deal is no longer available, and instead, the retailer pushes you into buying a more expensive alternative. In reality, the lower-priced product may have never been available, it’s a trick designed to lure you in.

“In an ideal world, all brands would offer fair prices to their customers all year round
False reductions – Sometimes a product’s price will be inflated for a short while in the run up to Black Friday to trick consumers into thinking they’re making a saving. In reality, the product might have been available at the same price just days ago. So, don’t be immediately tempted by a heavy discount, do some research into the price at others retailers to find out if the deal is a true steal.

Hidden charges – Many brands are guilty of leaving extra costs out of the headline price they’re advertising. This could include installation costs, mid-contract price rises, or interest you need to pay on a monthly payment scheme. These costs all add up and can make a product or service far more expensive than you initially expected, so always be wary of the cost being advertised and check the fine print before checking out.

Subscription traps – Some subscription services tempt consumers in with huge initial savings, then tie you into an expensive contract that requires you to pay a cancellation fee in order to leave. So, before signing up for a subscription service, check what the cancellation terms are and whether the deal is actually good value in the long term.

Short-term discounts – Other subscription services will offer a heavily discounted rate for the first few months to tempt a shopper into signing up to a service, then increase the monthly cost for all future payments, meaning new customers don’t save any money in the long-run.

Confusing T&Cs – One common trick on Black Friday is misleading cashback or voucher offers, promising huge amounts of money. These offers can be great, but always read the terms and conditions. Sometimes the offers require you to use the product for a specific period of time, or spend more on additional extras before you can claim the cashback or voucher, meaning you’re more out of pocket than you’d originally anticipated.

Black Friday scammers- Whilst some online deals simply aren’t offering good values, others are just scams. An easy way to help identify whether a website is genuine is to check whether there is a padlock next to the URL at the top of your web browser. If there is, this means the website is encrypted and less likely to be a scam. To be safe, never pay for a product or service via bank transfer as it will be very hard to get your money back if it is a scam. Instead, aim to use a trusted payment source, like PayPal.

2023’s most misleading Black Friday deals

Image by Satheesh Sankaran from Pixabay
Image by Satheesh Sankaran from Pixabay
One major broadband provider this year is offering ‘Black Friday’ deals on a number of their packages, but YouFibre’s research revealed that the same prices were available just a few months ago. In fact, one of the deals is actually more expensive than those being advertised in July.

Another broadband provider is offering the first three months free on its 250 Mbps package. However, customers are then charged £32.50 a month for the remaining 15 months, meaning the deal offers worse value for money than other standard packages on the market.

It doesn’t end at subscription services. One speaker manufacturer is completely misleading consumers by promoting a saving of ‘up to £149.01’ which drops to ‘up to £109.91’ once the shopper clicks through to the products page. This is a classic example of a brand using mega savings as bait, but not actually delivering for their customers.

There are also a host of retailers guilty of advertising misleading cashback deals this year. One major high street brand is offering the opportunity to claim £200 cashback when buying a coffee machine, but to claim the full amount the buyer must purchase 80 bags of coffee on top of the price of the machine – a big ask!

Ryan Battle, Managing Director of YouFibre, comments on the research:
“With Christmas fast approaching, Black Friday is a time when many of us start to purchase gifts for our loved ones, often in the hope of bagging ourselves a saving. Unfortunately, in recent years, more and more brands are taking advantage of this and using the event as an opportunity to mislead shoppers into spending over the odds, or buying products and services they don’t need.

“In an ideal world, all brands would offer fair prices to their customers all year round. However, this isn’t the case and, with so many fake deals and misleading offers being advertised online this year, we hope that our list of red flags to look out for will go some way in helping protect consumers this Black Friday.

"At YouFibre, we’re committed to transparent pricing that is great value all year, with no in contract price rises, set-up fees or tricky catches. Plus, we've recently lowered our prices, which now start at just £19.99 - not just on Fridays.”