Ahead of Black Friday, the Cyprus Consumers Association on Monday urged the public to do their research before venturing out on a shopping spree.
Launched in the US in the 1960s, Black Friday signals the start of the Christmas shopping season and is held on the last Friday of November.
The association urged consumers to find the products they are interested in and make a note of the price so as to have a real picture of the extent of the discount. The aim is to buy products which are not offered at a discount at other times of the year, it added.
Consumers must stick to buying what they need, and not snap up something simply because it is on offer. “Study the characteristics of the product you are interested in so as to make sure it meets your needs. Look for reviews of the product. Look at the final price, not the discount,” it added.
The association also urged consumers to use the internet not just to make purchases but to look for alternative products, reviews of the products they are interested in as well as prices from other suppliers. Due care is recommended for products with large discounts which do not have all the required information such as the exact address of the seller or a full description of the characteristics of the product.
It also advised that price is not the only criterion, especially is consumers plan to buy a more valuable product such as a mobile phone or a computer. It is also important to evaluate the credibility and quality of service offered by the vendor and to ask other consumers about their experience with the specific vendor, for example their response on issues such as guarantees and after-sales service.
The association also urged consumers to set a budget so as not to get carried away on the day.
They are also advised to find out about the shop’s returns policy before making a purchase. Under EU law, there is no legal obligation to accept returns for purchases from shops and it is up to the policy of each shop to accept returns or exchange. This does not apply for online purchases where consumers have the right to change their minds up to 14 days after the product is delivered.
They must also find out whether the shop they are interested in making their purchase from implements the consumer code of conduct and participates in the mechanism for alternative resolution of consumer disputes, or similar mechanisms such as that offered by the consumer association, it concluded.