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Insider Tips

How can we be of service? Let us count the ways. We actually mean service – unlike those who have promised it before and didn’t show up when it counted most. Consider these insider tips your key to consumer affairs.
Happy excited friends shopping on Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales

Sales season: Stay out of the red this Black Friday

The emails are lobbing into your inbox with increasing regularity. You may even be getting alerts on your phone. The flashing ads are all over websites. All of them promise you amazing deals and unprecedented discounts.

There is no escaping the fact we’re hurtling toward Black Friday. And peak spending season. This mad day of discounts traditionally marks the start of Christmas shopping in the United States, falling just after Thanksgiving.

While it didn’t come to Australia until much later - with Apple the first major retailer to offer Black Friday deals in 2013 - we’ve certainly jumped on board, with Australians spending almost $5 billion in last year’s sales. And let’s not forget Cyber Monday, which was created to promote online sales, though much of Black Friday’s deals are done on the web these days, too.


Beautiful woman snagging Black Friday deals online


But with the Reserve Bank raising interest rates again this month, more and more Australians are feeling the cost of living. So how will it impact our spending this Black Friday (November 24, in case you’ve been living off the grid), and are there ways to still make the most of the sales without breaking the bank?

What will Australians spend this Black Friday?

Between 2008 and 2023, Australians have steadily increased their spending each Black Friday. Overall, there's been a 38 percent rise in the average amount each person spends, even during the 2020 pandemic Black Friday.

Despite economic challenges, such as rising interest rates and inflation, Aussies are still keen on snagging those Black Friday deals. In fact, we're looking at a whopping $6.36 billion in sales this year - three percent more than 2022 Black Friday sales.

Yet, it's important to note that consumers are now more budget-conscious, carefully weighing their purchases against the backdrop of these economic factors.

In response, some retailers have started their sales early due to concerns about ongoing decreases in consumer spending. Woolworths and Samsung have already kicked off pre-Black Friday discounts.

Those looking to save on groceries can also expect deals on household staples such as toilet paper.

Where is the most value on Black Friday and Cyber Monday?

When finding the best value on Black Friday and Cyber Monday, savvy shoppers should focus on specific categories. Historically, the biggest discounts are often found in electronics, including TVs, laptops and smartphones, as well as in home appliances such as vacuum cleaners, kitchen gadgets, and large appliances. Clothing and footwear also often see significant markdowns.


A couple shopping for new phone


It's also worth keeping an eye on online services and subscriptions, including streaming services, software, and gaming platforms, which frequently offer special deals during this period.

If you’re looking to make bigger investments, furniture and home decor can also be great categories to explore, as retailers often slash prices to make room for new inventory.

Here are some standout deals across various categories:

Technology and electronics on Amazon
Home and fashion
Beauty products
Deals at Woolworths
    • 50 percent off selected items for Everyday Rewards members, including products such as Sorbent toilet paper, Kelloggs' cereals, Old El Paso Taco kits, Nescafe instant coffee, and McVitie's Biscuit range
    • Half-price annual subscription for new members ($35 instead of $70)
    • Monthly subscribers can upgrade to an annual membership at half price (current annual members are not eligible)
    • Benefits for Everyday Extra members include saving up to $100 a month on shopping, 10 percent off one shop at Woolworths and Big W per month, double points on every shop, and a free product each month
Miscellaneous deals

How to ensure you’re getting the best deals

Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be great opportunities to snag deals on items you've had your eye on. However, the excitement of the sale shouldn't overshadow the need for cautious shopping. The devil is often in the details, so do a thorough check before buying. This includes:

    • Reading the fine print - Often, attractive deals come with specific conditions. For instance, a discount might only apply if you spend a certain amount, or there might be hidden costs such as shipping fees.
    • Payment methods - Be aware of the terms if choosing the 'buy now, pay later' option. While they offer immediate gratification, they can be more expensive in the long run due to interest or fees.
    • Warranties and guarantees - Different products and retailers offer varying levels of warranty coverage. A longer or more comprehensive warranty can add significant value to your purchase, particularly for electronics and appliances.
    • Return and refund policies - This is particularly important for online purchases. Look for retailers that offer hassle-free returns without restocking fees. In the case of gifts, check if extended return periods are available. Also, remember that Australian Consumer Law does not cover merchandise bought from foreign sellers. This means these merchants can turn down your request for a refund or return, and you can’t do much about it.
    • Compatibility checks - Ensure the product is compatible with your existing devices or systems for tech purchases. This is especially important for accessories such as chargers, cases, or add-ons.
    • Sizing - Particularly important when shopping for clothes or shoes online, check the sizing guides provided by the retailer. Sizes can vary significantly between brands and regions, so it's important to measure yourself and compare it with the provided sizing charts to avoid the hassle of returns.

Avoiding dud purchases

Nobody wants to end up with a product that doesn't meet their expectations or needs. To avoid this:

    • Read customer reviews, which can provide invaluable insights. Look for review patterns – if multiple people mention the same issue, it’s likely a valid concern. But don’t fall for fake reviews. Know the telltale signs if the ones you’re reading are completely made up.
    • Compare similar products across different brands and retailers. This can include checking specifications, prices, and features.
    • For branded items, ensure you are buying from an authorised seller to avoid counterfeit products.

A woman shopping online during Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales


Staying safe from scams

With the increase in online shopping, particularly during sale events, the risk of scams also rises. To shop safely:

    • Look for “https” in the web address and a padlock icon. This indicates that the site is secure and your data is encrypted.
    • Beware of suspicious offers. Extremely low prices on high-value items can be a red flag for scams.
    • Use credit cards or payment services like PayPal that offer buyer protection. Avoid direct bank transfers or unsecured payment methods.
    • Be cautious with emails or texts offering exclusive deals. Phishing attempts often lure shoppers with fake offers to steal personal information. If in doubt, go directly to the retailer’s website instead of clicking on links in emails or texts.

Where can I get help if I have an issue with my Black Friday shopping?

The first step is to contact the retailer's customer service department where you bought the product or service. Any merchant worth its salt will resolve issues related to incorrect orders, returns, or product defects. If you don’t know how to contact the merchant, check their websites or consumer forums. They can offer advice on how to deal with specific retailers or products.

If you used a credit card or a service like PayPal, you might have additional protection. These providers can assist in disputes over unauthorised transactions or if you didn’t receive your goods.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) also offers guidance and can help resolve issues related to consumer rights and unfair business practices.

For serious issues, seeking legal advice might be necessary, especially if it involves significant amounts of money or breaches of consumer law.

We all love a bargain, and Black Friday and its close cousin Cyber Monday offer plenty - at least on the surface. Just take the time to do some homework first so that you ensure you get the best deal, and that you don’t overspend.

And if your bargain turns out to be a lemon, please get in touch with us and we’ll help you handle it.