Black Friday / Cyber Monday bargains: Good buy or bust?

November 20, 2012

- November 20, 2012 - Attention, Black Friday and Cyber Monday shoppers: While scavenging for deals, Better Business Bureau and Consumer Protection BC warn of limited quantities and bait-and-switch tactics and reading the fine print.

Before you head out the door or buy online for a block buster, check the following five tips to help you save time and money and make smart consumer decisions:

1. Have sale advertisements, promo codes and coupons? Bring them to stores and hold on tight. Comparison shop online to see how similar products are priced.
Are there conditions or limitations? Read fine print carefully; look for asterisks and timeframes.

2. Is it first come, first served? See if ads specify that supplies are limited. See overly-enticing signage? Review closely and snap photos to defend deals.

3. Do terms change at the end of the sale? Watch out for higher prices due to undisclosed stipulations on “percentage-off” sales and “free” offers. If you choose to shop online always review the final amount. When shipping and handling charges, fees, or taxes are tacked on, those online prices may not be as attractive as you first thought.

4. Are there special incentives with in-store credit cards? Beware of high fees and interest rates. Too many open cards can damage credit so make you read all the terms and conditions.

5. What about returns and refunds? Find out if items are “final sale.” Carefully inspect “clearance” merchandise and other markdowns. In BC, there is no law around returns and refunds so be sure to find out about a specific store’s policy before buying.

If you have questions about your rights and responsibilities as a consumer in British Columbia, please contact Consumer Protection BC toll free at 1-888-564-9963, or visit You can also follow Consumer Protection BC on Twitter @ConsumerProBC, like us on Facebook and read our blog for valuable consumer tips.

Visit for more holiday shopping tips from BBB serving Mainland British Columbia. For advertising concerns, learn more about BBB’s voluntary Ad Review program.