Which? claims only half of Black Friday 2015 deals were cheapest on Black Friday itself, with the rest cheaper before or after the day.
The consumer body tracked a total of 178 deals offered by retailers Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys and John Lewis on 20 popular tech gadgets and home appliances.
The prices were tracked every day for three months before, and two months after, Black Friday 2015. The results showed that only 90 out of 178 deals tracked were cheapest on Black Friday.
Less than one in ten (8%) discounts were one-day only offers, where the Black Friday price was cheaper than on any other day. Around one in ten (12%) were cheaper at some point in the three months leading up to Black Friday. Four in 10 (38%) were cheaper in the weeks after Black Friday.
In addition, Which? said it uncovered several examples of offers by retailers AO and Currys that appeared to inflate the ‘was’ price of the product to make the deal look better than it actually was.
Which? said: “When promoting a discount like ‘was £100, now £50’, the ‘was’ price should be the most recent price the item was sold at for 28 consecutive days or more – and not a price that is more than six months old”.
The body said it found examples where this had not been done. As a result, Which? believes that these retailers may be breaking government guidelines.
In response, Currys explained that keeping prices low after an event like Black Friday is good for shoppers. Likewise, AO said that some products may remain on promotion beyond Black Friday, adding that this gives customers ‘great deals beyond just the one day a year’. Both retailers claimed that they had followed the regulations and guidelines with regard to displaying discounts.
Which? head of campaigns Pete Moorey said: “Shoppers might be surprised to learn that only half of Black Friday deals are actually cheapest on Black Friday. If you’re thinking about starting your Christmas shopping around Black Friday, do your research – as some ‘deals’ may not be all they’re cracked up to be.”
Which? gives the following advice to readers considering Black Friday shopping:
* ‘Was’ prices can be misleading. The ‘was’ price should be the most recent price the item was sold at for 28 consecutive days or more – and not a price that is more than six months old.
* Do your research. Look at the price on previous days to make sure you really are getting a good deal.
* If you’re not convinced by an offer or discount, hold off for a better one. Which? found 38% of products were cheaper after Black Friday.
* Shop at retailers with price promises, ensuring you can get a refund if your item drops in value in the weeks following your purchase.