How to avoid Black Friday scams

Avoid buyer’s remorse with some careful research and planning.

Image courtesy: NYTimes.com

With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching we’re only a few days from the craziest shopping holiday of the year. Black Friday and Cyber Monday have always provided tech lovers an opportunity to save hundreds of dollars on amazing “doorbuster” deals. But don’t forget it’s also a holiday for the retailers and manufacturers.

Every year millions of shoppers eagerly wait with wallets in hand to score deals on things they didn’t even know they needed. Retailers are quick to take advantage of this by overstating the value in their deals. It’s also important to note that recommended and heavily marketed deals are often just paid advertising spots with only mediocre savings.

To ensure you don’t fall for any Black Friday trickery, take advantage of the many free price checker tools available online. Most major retailers print their ads a few days before the actual sales event. You can already find the ad scans from retailers like Target, Best Buy, Walmart and Micro Center.

Black Friday 2016

Check out our Black Friday hub for an ongoing list of the best deals this year.

If anything looks interesting to you, plug it into one of the many free price history tools available such as camelcamelcamel, Slickdeals Price Tracker or PCPartPicker if you’re shopping for components. You can also do some deeper research by doing a Slickdeals search on the product you’re interested in to see if there were any hot deals in the past.

For example, Target advertises a Fitbit Charge HR for $89.95 on the front page of its ad. With an MSRP of $129.95 this sounds like a great deal at first. However, a quick search into Slickdeals reveals the Charge HR has already hit this price and even lower multiple times this year.

While a large number of doorbuster deals do offer legitimate savings, keep in mind retailers create these to get you into the door. Unless you’re one of the eager campers that skipped out on Thanksgiving Dinner to get a spot in line, chances are you won’t score one of those dirt-cheap TVs. If there isn’t anything else you want posted in the ad, don’t be afraid to just walk away. Shopping for a consolation prize is only going to result in a disappointing deal.

Black Friday may have originated as a brick and mortar sales event but you can easily find just as many great deals online nowadays. Our biggest recommendation to save you from stress this weekend is to just avoid visiting physical retail stores altogether unless there’s something you absolutely cannot find elsewhere. Just spend a little more time researching this year and your wallet will surely thank you.

We'll be scouring the web for you as Black Friday comes closer and putting all the best PC gaming hardware deals for you right here on the site. The deals will be hand-picked so you'll know they'll be good!

Topics

We recommend