Shoppers are being warned to be on the lookout for counterfeit or substandard products when they buy online in Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales.
Many retailers will be offering cut-price deals both online and in-store on Black Friday, which takes place on November 25, and Cyber Monday on November 28.
But experts at Advice Direct Scotland have urged people to be “savvy shoppers” when looking for bargains and have stressed that if a deal sounds too good to be true, then it probably is.
The opportunity for bargains brings a risk of people buying counterfeit or substandard products that may not be safe.
Colin Mathieson, spokesperson for Advice Direct Scotland, said: “Black Friday and Cyber Monday sales are a great opportunity for people to grab a bargain, with some amazing deals both in shops and online.
“It can be extremely difficult to tell the real from the fake, particularly when shopping online.
“We would encourage consumers to check that the goods they are purchasing are genuine, by following our top tips, including buying from reputable retailers.
“And, as always, people should remember that if something sounds too good to be true, then there’s a high chance that it is.”
A survey carried out by Barclays found that 72% of Scots will get most of their Christmas shopping on Black Friday with 56% saying they will spend between £100 and £400 on the day.
The study also found that last year there was a 34% increase in reported purchase scams with victims losing an average of £1,072 to purchase scams during the seasonal shopping period.
Barclays is urging buyers to follow these four steps this Black Friday. Research and read reviews online for the site and seller; view the item; get a second opinion and be wary of unlikely offers.
Ross Martin, head of digital safety at Barclays, said: “Whilst Black Friday is a great way for Brits to save money ahead of the Christmas season, it is important to stay vigilant when making purchases.
“This year, more than ever, people will be looking for the best bargains, which could lead them right into the hands of scammers, who will be advertising false offers to lure victims in.
“Just remember, ignore any pressure that is being put on you – and if a deal seems too good to be true, it probably is.”
Environmental campaigners say we should resist the shopping frenzy all together this Black Friday for the sake of the planet.
Surveys have shown that huge numbers of people regret the purchases that are made in the rush of the sales, and that they find it a stressful experience.
Kim Pratt, circular economy campaigner at Friends of the Earth Scotland, said: “Changing our culture of consumption is an essential part of tackling the climate crisis. Saying no to phoney Black Friday deals is an important way in which we, as more informed consumers, can take back power.”
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