This week is Black Friday, and in case you miss it, there’s always Cyber Monday on the 28th.
I’m not sure when either became a “thing,” but I do know that not every bargain is what it says it is.
This year there is a lot to consider before committing your money to an online deal.
Everyone is watching their dime and it makes sense to know what you are buying and more importantly where you are buying it.
Both shopping days now apply to everything from furniture to clothing, but the bigger focus has always been on tech.
According to research, electronic devices account for over a third of all purchases. New laptops, tablets and phones top the list, but shoppers will find it extremely difficult to find discounts on new top products.
There’s no incentive for Apple or Samsung to save money on the latest model of phone. If they don’t take off, there’s a better chance of snagging a bargain in the New Year’s sale.
But if you’re happy with last year’s model, or actually want to shop early for Christmas, chances are you’ll pick up a deal.
Sign up on your favorite store’s app or via email to get alerts (I always clear these on Saturdays) and you can get good deals from TV and broadband providers if you keep your eyes peeled.
When buying gadgets, pay attention to the model and capacity and that the version is exactly what you need.
If an online offer says ‘€100 off’, can you be sure?
You’ll also find heavy discounts on summer holiday bookings now as travel agents scramble to sell 2023 nights.
Doing your homework is really important. When something gets splattered with a 20s off label – how do you know? If an online offer says ‘€100 off’, can you be sure?
The Competition and Consumer Protection Commission (CCPC) says around 40 per cent of consumers plan to buy something on Black Friday, spending an average of €400 – 81 per cent will research in advance what is great and highest among older age groups where they maybe less are likely to buy spontaneously anyway.
There are customer and advertising rules under the Sale of Goods and Supply of Services Act 1980 and EU legislation but you will find it difficult to enforce them outside of faulty or damaged goods. The best thing to do is to find out the actual price of the items you want in-store or online now, and then check back on Friday when the deals drop.
Needless to say, if you don’t need it, didn’t plan to, or need to borrow for it, it’s never a bargain.
This year, more than ever, where you shop matters. You have very strong rights in Ireland and the EU, but the implementation of Brexit means you may not have any from UK retailers at all (see below).
Grainne Griffin, CCPC Director of Communications, says: “Consumers intending to make a purchase have stronger consumer rights when shopping on an EU website and a ‘.ie’ domain is no guarantee that a business is based in Ireland is.”
Instead, look for the company’s physical address or where orders ship from — usually on the “Deliveries” tab or in the Terms and Conditions. Check the return policy and shipping costs there.
If the site is outside the EU, you could unknowingly be charging extra fees, duties and taxes, not to mention a world of pain if you need to return something.
Although Ireland (and the EU) and the UK have had a trade deal since Brexit, some of the terms have changed since last year.
VAT is now charged on the total value of the goods, along with possible import charges, which vary by item.
You can check if the supplier has included Irish VAT in the final basket price. If not, you may end up with an invoice from An Post or the courier company. Northern Ireland is excluded.
VAT in Ireland is generally 23 per cent on most goods. It must be paid regardless of whether you have already paid UK VAT (usually less than 20 per cent) and you may need to apply for a refund from the supplier.
I’ve heard from so many people still stuffed with this rule and when they get a message from the delivery company they think it’s a scam. They don’t answer, the postman doesn’t deliver and emails follow.
It’s complicated to live in 2022!
If the item is not manufactured in the UK (even if shipped from there) you may be charged customs duties.
Where I find people coming is the definition of “madein” is a cropper. This means that most components of the product (50+ pieces) must be physically manufactured in the UK.
For example, if a tablet offered for sale in a UK store but actually made in China is delivered to you, IRS will assume it came from China. This will result in tariffs – and possibly countermeasures as well.
UK businesses are also not required to comply with our consumer protection laws and many do not. This complicates returns and dispute resolution.
Even when websites offer “goodwill gestures,” there is no way to enforce them.
Buyer’s regret could be very real next weekend.
You realize that Grandpa probably won’t even be able to turn on, let alone upload to, that new rotating digital photo frame you bought him.
The festive red sweater doesn’t suit your sister and you already hate your new shoes and they’re not even here yet.
The good news is that returns are easily and fully covered by consumer protection codes, but only within the EU. You can return any item purchased online within 14 days of receipt without giving a reason. While you get a full refund, a retailer may force you to pay postage to get it back.
There are exceptions to the rule, including personalized or perishable goods, tickets or subscriptions, and digital content.
You have no right of return for private sales through eBay or Donedeal, unless expressly stated otherwise.
Returns to UK businesses are not easy.
While some allow them under EU conditions, others do not. Amazon is good in this regard, but some stores that don’t have an Irish street presence are terrible. You don’t have to accept any returns at all. If this is the case, it means that you may need to claim a separate VAT refund in addition to the cost of the return postage.
Always keep proof that you have returned the item so you may have to pay for postage via registered or tracked post.
https://www.independent.ie/business/personal-finance/how-to-avoid-the-black-friday-sale-pitfalls-to-nab-a-bargain-42156132.html How to avoid the pitfalls of the Black Friday sale to grab a bargain