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Make sure you’re getting the best deal in the Christmas sales

Published 14 December 2015 by

Although Black Friday and Cyber Monday are now over, the savvy shoppers among you will be aware that this doesn’t necessarily mean that the sales themselves have ended. This year, a lot of retailers are extending their sales in the build up to the festive period.

With prices fluctuating all the time, it can be tricky to know whether the deal you’re getting is genuine. For example, a bag goes on sale for “half price” how do you know if that’s a good deal? What if the price had only been increased with the intention of it falling again in time for the sales? To help ensure that you’re getting the best deal possible in the sales, we’re going to take you through what to look out for.

What you should know

The first thing that you should know is that if a shop is advertising a sale, there are certain guidelines that it has to follow in order to make sure the sale is genuine. These include the following:

28 consecutive days: under Trading Standards rules, reduced goods must have been sold at the higher price for 28 consecutive days before the sale. The ‘reduced from’ price of goods before the price is cut should be the last price that the goods were offered at as well.

Clear prices: the original price of a sale item must be clearly displayed. For example, if a shirt has a tag that says ‘sale £15’ it should have the original price included like ‘was £30, now £15’.

Sale period: whatever’s on sale shouldn’t be on offer at the reduced price for any longer than it is being sold at the higher price. The only exception to this is if a shop displays a sign explaining how the sale differs to these rules e.g. if the product is going to expire.

Before you buy

To make sure you’re getting the best price for the product that you’re thinking about buying, always do your research beforehand. You can use sites like PriceRunner or Mysupermarket to compare prices and see which retailers are offering the best deal. The CamelCamelCamel website even lets you track Amazon prices for free, so you can see how prices have changed overtime and whether the current price is the lowest.

Arming yourself with this knowledge will give you a better idea of what you should be paying for the item and whether it’s within your budget. You shouldn’t feel pressured into buying an item just because it’s in the sales either. In fact, if it’s not a gift for someone you could always wait until the January sales for prices to be slashed further.

Your rights

If you change your mind about a product or find it cheaper elsewhere, you have the right to return it. Most retailers will provide you with 28 days to do this, although this is often extended for the Christmas period.

It’s always worth checking what the returns policy is before you pay, as some retailers have varying policies – for example, store credit or vouchers for the return of a non-faulty item. Returns policies for online orders can differ as well, you’ll usually have 14 days from the day you receive the goods to return them.

For added protection this shopping season, you could use your credit card to pay for your purchases, if you have one. Under Section 75 of the Consumer Credit Act, you’re covered on any purchases that you make using your credit card between the value of £100 and £30,000 if the retailer goes bust or fails to deliver, or if the product is faulty. To read more about this, click here.