Black Friday: savings or scam?
Black Friday, like every year, opens up the big question of whether it’s a scam or whether you really save. Many consumers look forward to this date to take advantage of the “big” discounts offered by most retailers and bring forward Christmas purchases, or high-end products.
However, many of these brands take advantage of this date to impact with advertising and discounts to obtain greater sales reach, which end up turning out to be false discounts. In this regard, the Organization of Consumers and Users (OCU) has been conducting studies since 2015, taking as a reference more than 18 thousand different prices.
According to these studies, the 99% of Black Friday sales are not real: these “rebates” or “discounts” of the final price on the products actually hide an average increase of 3% in the final price of the products.
This happens because the discounts are not applied on the lowest prices, which as established in Article 20 of Law 7/1996 of January 15, 1996, on Retail Trade Management, when brands decide to make offers, sales or promotions, they must use the cheapest price of the last 30 days as a reference price.
Likewise, there are numerous complaints to the OCU about a common practice in stores: several labels are placed at the same time without the consumer seeing from which price the discount starts, which makes it difficult to measure the real savings on the price of the product.
What other types of scams are common on Black Friday?
Retailers are not the only ones who take advantage of this day to raise money, as online purchases made by consumers on these dates are also an opportunity for online scams for cybercriminals and cyberfraudsters, commonly known as phishing.
Since most of the purchases during these dates are made via the Internet, cybercriminals take advantage to steal personal information of users, bank details, and other data where they can try to impersonate their identity, or to offer eye-catching items that do not exist or even redirect to fraudulent pages.
Therefore, among the most common forms of online scams, fraud and theft that these cybercriminals carry out are:
- Typosquatting: cybercriminals duplicate web pages, with very similar URL names, to deceive consumers into believing that purchases have been made on official pages.
- Improper credit card charges are made: they interfere to make unauthorized charges on the card.
- QRishing: fraudsters manipulate QR codes to make users download malicious software to infect the device and access their personal data.
- Sale of counterfeit products: they sell products similar to the originals with flashy discounts.
- Non-delivered products: where they even impersonate logistics companies to redirect users to malicious websites and access banking data through banking Trojans.
How to avoid this type of scams?
To avoid being scammed, we recommend paying attention to small details when making online purchases, such as, for example, identifying that the name in the URL is written in the same way as the name of the original website, checking the promotions that arrive in emails and verifying them with the official websites of the brands, confirming that browsing is secure by confirming that the website begins with “https”, or avoiding connecting to open and free WiFi networks, among others.
Likewise, one of the most effective ways to prevent these cybercriminals from accessing your personal or banking data is to pay through a secure payment gateway that acts as an intermediary between the Website and the user, where encrypted payments are made.
Finally, we recommend checking that there is a comparison between the original price and the discount in a clear and transparent way, and emphasize that, although they are discounted products, these must have the same quality and have the same guarantee as if they were purchased outside the promotional period.
In the same vein, the OCU recommends consulting price comparators and advisors that continuously monitor sales prices to avoid falling into this type of traps and not to be victims of deception and fraud.
At Letslaw by RSM our team of digital lawyers offers personalised advice on the matter, so do not hesitate to contact us.
Letslaw es una firma de abogados internacionales especializada en el derecho de los negocios.