Following last week’s Which? report revealing half of all Black Friday Bargains were in fact cheaper in the months before and after Black Friday last year; the e-delivery specialist Fastlane International has a further warning to shoppers buying gifts for Christmas: many return periods will be expired by Boxing Day.
Fastlane International’s head of consumer research, David Jinks, says: “Why are we not exactly surprised about Black Friday being less full of bargains than the shops would have us believe? TheWhich? findings reinforce our recommendation that it pays bargain hunters to research and buy their Black Friday deals online rather than buy on impulse in store. But read the returns deadline small print before you buy.”
- Consumers must examine retailers’ returns policies over Christmas. It’s no use your kids opening a Black Friday bargain present on Christmas day to find it won’t work – it is likely to be out of the returns period. Counting down from Black Friday, the 14 calendar days (NOT working days) online no quibbles guarantee will run out around 9 December; while shop buyers with a faulty product will have just one day of their 30 day return period to send back faulty items after Christmas. And that could be tricky on Boxing Day!
- Black Friday falls quite early this year. Don’t let the 14 day deadline catch you out!
- Savvy consumers should approach Black Friday with a strong idea of what they want to buy. Purchase online, rather than in store, and you are protected against any misleading price claims – and many other issues. The vast majority of products can be sent back within 14 days – without having to give a reason. It’s now law as part of the Government’s 2014 Consumer Contracts Regulations.
- In contrast, shop purchased items only have the right to be returned if they are faulty. Brick and mortar shops only have to conform to the Consumer Rights Act: so you may be stuck with your Black Friday non-bargain. Some shops do offer a more generous returns policy – and if they have one they are legally obliged to honour it – but these vary greatly; and by no means all shops do.
- Things may not quite so black with some retailers Friday deals. A number of stores offer extra no quibble returns, sometimes up to 28 days: check the small print before you buy. And some online retailers are offering extended returns periods to cover Black Friday/Cyber Monday sales. For example, Amazon says it will accept returns on all goods sold from 1 November onwards until 31 January 2017.
- Small and marketplace retailers should investigate returns options with their delivery partners: see https://www.wedelivertheworld.
co.uk/courier-services/ebay- delivery/ for more details.