6 Misleading Advertising Ploys To Beware Of This Black Friday

Security and Scams

You deserve to find fantastic deals this Black Friday.  Here at Directions Credit Union, we hate to see your money go to waste.  That’s why we’ve put together a list of misleading advertising schemes you may come across when hunting for deals this Black Friday.

1. Very limited quantities

That $200-off supersized TV screen coupon that just landed in your mailbox looks like an incredible deal!  That is until you show up at the store on Black Friday, only to find it’s sold out. If a store that has only been open a few hours claims it’s already run out of an item, you can assume it only stocked a very limited quantity. The heavily marked-down and heavily advertised item was a ploy to get you into the store to shop.

When checking out Black Friday ads, look for an “In-Stock Guarantee” or a “1-hour In-Stock Guarantee.” This will allow you to take a rain check for a sold-out item as long as you show up sometime on Black Friday.  Or, in the case of the 1-hour guarantee, as long as you show up within the first hour of opening.

2. No discount

This one is a bit harder to spot, but it’s no fun when it happens to you.

In this ploy, retailers take advantage of the Black Friday craze to deceive shoppers into thinking a product is on sale. They’ll list an item in a Black Friday mailer, so you’ll assume it’s being offered at a discount. But, in reality, it’s being sold at its regular retail price.

You can easily outsmart the stores here by doing a quick check of an item’s standard selling price online.  Or check pricing apps like Shopular or ShopSavvy before running out to buy it.

3. Full price with a store gift card

A favorite Black Friday deal is the item that sells at its regular price but comes with a store gift card.

For example, you might find a $699 laptop being sold at its full price at Best Buy plus a $100 store gift card. At first glance, this seems like a fantastic deal. However, some research might reveal that this same laptop is being sold elsewhere on Black Friday for just $550. Not to mention, if you’re not a regular customer at Best Buy, you may end up forgetting about it or blowing that $100 gift card on stuff you don’t need.

While gift card deals may be a great way to save on your purchases, think twice before rushing to grab a “with gift card” item on Black Friday.

4. Sales based on a dishonest manufacturer’s price

It’s easy for an item to appear to be significantly marked down when the manufacturer’s price is grossly inflated.  But, it’s also awfully unfair to the less-wise consumer.

When retailers advertise their sales, they’ll often post the manufacturer’s suggested retail price, or MSRP, for customers to compare. However, this number can be theoretical at best and dishonest at worst. If the item was never actually sold at the listed MSRP, the number is essentially meaningless.

Kohl’s was sued for claiming items were being sold at discounted prices when they were never offered at a higher price to begin with. The retailer has since discontinued this practice, but many other stores continue to advertise inflated or irrelevant MSRPs along with their sale prices.

Avoid getting pulled in by this deceptive advertising ploy by checking out an item’s retail price online.

5. Stripped-down or downgraded versions

When shopping for new technological devices, especially computers and TVs, make sure to read up on every feature offered with the product. A typical Black Friday ruse is to advertise a discounted item that provides the very minimum in features and accessories. While it’s great to walk away with a brand-new computer at $200 less than its usual selling price, it’s not exactly the deal you thought it was if you end up having to pay for all those features and accessories that weren’t included. These “add-ons” are often essential features whose lack can make the device almost useless until you buy them.

Read through the listed features of every advertised computer and TV before running out to buy it this Black Friday.