Top tips to shop wisely during Black Friday and Cyber Monday

November 14, 2022
Average read time: 3 minutes

Shop wisely this sale season and avoid getting less than you bargained for with top tips from Cheshire West and Chester Council Trading Standards and Citizens Advice Cheshire West.

With Black Friday, Cyber Monday and the holiday season fast approaching, the Council and Citizens Advice have released top tips to remind bargain-hunters how to shop safely online.

Their top tips for shopping wisely are:

Do your research

Before buying from a website you have not used before, spend a few minutes checking it out. See what people have said about the person or company you are buying from by looking at reviews on different websites - do not rely on reviews the company has put on its own website. If you are worried that something you have seen online might be a scam, you can get help from the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Citizens Advice consumer helpline

Be wise to scams in disguise

If a bargain seems too good to be true, it probably is. If it is branded but a lot cheaper than it appears on the brand's website, it could be fake. If it isn't branded, it could be a 'look-a-like' product but either way, it might not be the quality you were hoping for.

Ways to pay

Beware of a seller who asks you to pay by direct bank transfer. Bank transfers have limited protection if things go wrong, so avoid using them. You should only send and receive money through the online marketplace app or website using a debit or credit card, or via trusted methods of payment such as PayPal.

Know your rights

If you have purchased from a retailer you should be entitled to a replacement product or a repair or even a full refund if the goods are faulty. If you have bought from an individual, perhaps via an online marketplace, you have far fewer rights. In fact, you have no right to return, as long as the goods are 'as described'. Always be sure to take a screenshot of the description and be sure to check and double check before you buy.

When things go wrong

Sometimes things just don't go to plan. If you have bought something that is broken, damaged, unsafe or not what you expected then contact the seller and give them a chance to put it right. If that does not work - reach out to the Citizens Advice consumer helpline.

Citizens Advice consumer helpline

These top tips mark the start of National Consumer Week (Monday 14 November - Sunday 20 November). The annual campaign is run by Citizens Advice in collaboration with the Consumer Protection Partnership (CPP), which includes Trading Standards and the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS).

Citizens Advice Cheshire West and the Council are aware that across the borough purse strings are tightening and financial pressures are increasing every day. With sales season fast approaching, it is vital to recognise the red flags when trying to bag a bargain in the run up to the holidays.

Anyone can be a victim of a scam, and even the savviest of shoppers can be left getting less than they bargained for. You should not feel embarrassed if you are caught out. By knowing how to shop wisely, and what to do if something goes wrong, we can better protect ourselves and each other.

For information and advice, contact Citizens Advice Cheshire West:

Online advice is available via webchat accessed through the Citizens Advice website:

Citizens Advice: Chat with an adviser online