Black Friday is imminent and triggers real buying orgies on the Internet. But the tempting discounts are sometimes pure hoax and fake shops are booming.
Black Friday, which falls on November 26th this year, is not only the unofficial starting signal for the Christmas shopping season, but is also the kick-off for discount battles for retailers every year.
Especially in the Black Friday shopping frenzy, however, you should take a closer look at offers, because not every discount keeps what it promises. Dubious providers lure consumers into the trap and legal difficulties can quickly spoil the joy of shopping.
The Internet Ombudsman points out the most common problems so that bargain hunters don’t fall into the online trap on Black Friday.
Black Friday Shopping Tips: How To Avoid Online Traps
1) Incorrect price reductions: critically question offers
The enormous discounts on Black Friday are often not that attractive at second glance. Because mostly the manufacturer’s recommended retail prices are used as the basis for such discounts – which, however, rarely correspond to the market price. In the future, retailers will have to indicate the price at which they actually offered the goods as a comparison value in the case of price reductions.
Until then, the Internet Ombudsman recommends consumers not to let themselves be put under pressure for time-limited offers, but only to take advantage of those that actually turn out to be cheap on closer inspection. This can be checked with price tracking tools (to track the price of a certain product) or via comparison portals that compare the offered price with the prices of other retailers.
2) Check typical features of fake shops
The price battle over Black Friday offers the perfect breeding ground for fraudulent providers of so-called fake shops. Because these also traditionally fish with reduced prices according to customers. When there are bargain fever and time pressure on Black Friday, many fall into the trap.
Despite all the euphoria about discounts, consumers should therefore always take a look at the imprint of the online shop: If none is available or it arouses suspicion, it is better to keep your hands off the offers. An obligation to pay in advance – especially if alternative means of payment are listed on the home page – is a common feature of fake shops. The Internet Watchlist provides current warning messages and detailed tips for recognizing fraud traps.
3) Cancellations and delays are not always legal
If you got hold of a Black Friday bargain, you shouldn’t be too early to look forward to it. In recent years, orders received on Black Friday have often been canceled again – by online retailers. Whether this is allowed has to be assessed on a case-by-case basis and depends on whether a binding sales contract has already been concluded. An order confirmation or a request for payment do not necessarily mean that this is the case. However, if a sales contract has been concluded, the dealer may not simply cancel the order, but must also deliver it at the agreed price.
One should also look closely when online retailers fail to meet their delivery times and even put off consumers for weeks. Because if a certain delivery time was specified in an order, the provider must also deliver the goods within this period. Otherwise he will be in default with his performance and buyers can insist that the goods are delivered within a grace period. If this does not happen, the contract can be terminated. Even more: If the goods can be procured elsewhere at a higher price, the difference may be charged to the dealer – unless the dealer is in no way responsible for the delay in delivery. Anyone who insists on a specific delivery time (without a grace period) should expressly agree this with the dealer or, if possible, specify this when ordering.
4) Note the difference: right of withdrawal versus right of return
A great advantage of online shopping is undoubtedly the statutory right of withdrawal. Of course, this right also applies on Black Friday. It means that a contract concluded online can be revoked and the goods returned within 14 days of receipt of the goods without giving reasons. Before doing this, buyers can take a leisurely look at the goods at home and try them out. The only thing to note is that, under certain circumstances, compensation may have to be paid if the goods were “tried” excessively. In addition, consumers have to bear the costs for the return, if the retailer has indicated this. Exceptions to the right of withdrawal exist for individually manufactured goods or sealed hygiene products.
Some online retailers also grant a longer-term right of return. The goods can then be returned within 30 to 60 days or even longer. Here, however, attention must be paid to the supplier’s specifications (e.g. only return of goods in their original packaging), because the contractual right of return, in contrast to the statutory right of withdrawal, only exists under the conditions of the retailer. However, within a period of 14 days, the statutory right of withdrawal exists, to which no additional conditions may be attached.