South Africa

Black Friday shoppers search for the best deals


Retailers in Pretoria have not yet seen alarming numbers to the start of Black Friday as experienced in previous years.

Rekord visiting Makro in Silver Lakes and Willows Crossing in Equestria observed more residents buying alcohol and basic food as opposed to the electronic appliances and other products such as bicycles and furniture that were previously bought by the load.

At Centurion Makro and Centurion Mall on Friday morning some shoppers said this year’s deals just weren’t worth the hype.

Speaking to a shopper who identified himself as Sibusiso in the East, who purchased alcohol and was planning to purchase groceries, said there were about five weeks to Christmas and his purchasing was aligned to that period.

“We do not have much money to spend, that’s why it is not as packed as prior years before Covid-19.”

He said he did not have an opportunity to save money as the petrol prices and inflation soared during the year.

“I am focused on food and drinks ahead of gift shopping later in December.”

In Centurion, shopper Adriaan Strauss said he came in the morning because he expected that the rush would come later in the day.

“I don’t like crowds, so I wanted to see what sales I could find before it gets busy later.”

Strauss said he suspected the current heatwave was also delaying the turnout.

Lebogang Mokofane was prepared, having brought along her annotated Black Friday deals pamphlets. She was on a mission to find deals on furniture.

She said she had saved up for the day and researched good deals.

However, she said she was disappointed in the specials this year.

“I checked out the specials now, and they’re not really that special, it’s not much better than the specials they have throughout the year.”

The consumer goods and service ombudsman has also shared the following tips with consumers:

– Be proactive: If you plan to buy expensive goods on Black Friday, you need to track the price for several months to understand exactly what kind of bargain you are getting. This will assist in detecting if a retailer has inflated a price just before Black Friday to make a deal seem more attractive.

– Beware bait marketing: Section 30 of the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) prohibits a company from advertising goods or services in such a way as to deceive consumers about the actual availability of the items. When it comes to Black Friday sales, many suppliers make it clear that the deal applies to limited stock. There is nothing wrong with this, provided it is not used as a sales tactic to get consumers to buy something different or more expensive.

– Verify: Take steps to check the profiles of unknown suppliers, including asking your online communities and reading up on reviews.

– Exercise caution: If it sounds too good to be true, it almost certainly is – especially when it’s online.

– Beware fake sites: If you receive an email advertising a special deal that is designed to look as though it comes from a reputable supplier, double-check the URL on the site that you are directed to and compare it against the company’s website.

Beware of scam deals

Scammers often disguise fake websites by making small, barely perceptible changes to the URL, such as switching a 1 for an I or leaving off or adding a letter. These tactics are often aimed at directing you to a fake site to defraud you.

– Pay attention to the fine print: Take note of website terms and conditions when buying online. Return or cancellation policies that are not clear and upfront are a big red flag.

– Take special note of the expected delivery time when using online marketplaces. Many well-known online marketplaces also act as Third-Party Sellers, meaning that any dispute or delivery issues will be referred to the (often unknown) third-party seller, leaving consumers feeling abandoned.

Both the CPA and the ECTA (Electronic Communications and Transactions Act are clear about the marketplaces’ obligations. Consumers must be made aware in clear and upfront terms if they are not transacting with the marketplace, and what recourse they will have in the event they are unhappy with the goods or services.

– Take note of “no refund policies” and enquire about the store’s warranties and guarantees over and above the implied warranty protection provided by Section 56 of the CPA. Section 56 sets out what rights a consumer has when goods they have bought become defective (with a material manufacturer’s defect) within six months of purchase, and the consumer’s right to choose between refund, replacement and repair.

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