Watch out for these Black Friday pitfalls

Published: Nov. 19, 2018 at 4:26 PM EST
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CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Black Friday shopping is a holiday tradition for many people in the Tri-State. They map out a plan of attack in terms of stores, then head out with family and friends to try to score those door busters.

But part of that plan has to be an awareness of the Black Friday pitfalls retailers put in your path.

Sasha Parker-Cochran has been hitting the Black Friday sales with her mom for years. She says, for her family, it’s more about spending time together than saving money.

“We shop for a couple hours, go to Waffle House, just try to stay awake so we can shop for a couple hours more," she said.

But if Black Friday for you is about the discounts, doing your research ahead of time is important. That’s because retailers use some time-tested tricks to get you to spend more. Those flashy Black Friday deals are not always what they seem. Retailers will often list something as 50 percent off retail price, but the catch is that item never sold at that price point.

After you make that shopping list, use a price comparison site like Google Shopping or Shopzilla to figure out who’s offering the lowest prices. You can also download apps like Buy Via, which turn your smart phone into a scanner to check bar codes and compare prices at nearby stores and online.

Another favorite retail trick -- so-called “Derivatives," which are items (frequently electronics) made especially for Black Friday. Those often come with fewer features so stores can sell them at a lower price. But they can be tricky to spot and research. Consumer Reports says some of the derivative TV models it tested last year were good buys, even once they factored in those limited features, which included fewer HDMI inputs—and more basic remotes. So how can you spot a derivative? Well, look carefully at those Black Friday ads, and Google the brand and model number. If you can’t find any reviews online, it’s likely a derivative.

Another potential pitfall: Black Friday deals that include rebates. You’ll see a low price offered, but that deal includes a $30 or $40 mail in rebate.

Video of Black Friday ads featuring Rebates

Here’s the catch: retailers know about 70 percent of people forget to send those rebates in, which means they never get that money back.

One other Black Friday pitfall in stores is limited supply. It’s no secret stores often only stock a handful of items at that door buster price, so most people who try to claim that deal miss out. Free shipping offers this time of year and online door buster deals may mean you’ve got a better shot shopping from home.

But you need to be ready to buy as soon as those sales open, so make sure you know when each retailer’s Black Friday sale starts online.

And don’t blow your entire holiday budget on Black Friday. The Simply Money Point: Cyber Monday will bring big site-wide discounts from clothing retailers, low prices on toys come in early December, and Free Shipping Day is Friday, Dec. 14. That’s when thousands of retailers will offer free shipping and guarantee delivery by Christmas Eve.

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