Black Friday Deals VS Duds - How to spot 'em

In case you hadn't noticed, it’s that time of year again, where retailers battle to shout the loudest about Black Friday (29 Nov), and while there are plenty of good deals to be had there are always a few ‘duds’ mixed among them just waiting to catch us out...

Each year, the MSE Deals team bring you the best of Black Friday, as well as the worst - see our full Black Friday deals pages page for all our predictions and analysis in the run-up to Black Friday, and follow us on Twitter for updates. I’ve been sifting through the sales that have started early this year myself to find examples of bad deals (or duds) that are definitely ones to be missed. Further down, I’ve some general tips on how to avoid overpaying.

Black Friday ‘duds’ spotted so far

It’s still a few days away, but for retailers Black Friday begins earlier each year. Here are some examples of products I found on sale at ‘Black Friday prices’ today, all of which I was able to find cheaper elsewhere with a simple online price comparison (see below for tips on doing that yourself).




Xbox One X (1TB) Star Wars bundle £399.99 at Littlewoods £299.99 at Very

Nintendo Switch Lite

£189.99 at Game

£169 at Asda

Paco Rabanne 1 Million for him £58.99 at The Perfume Shop £39.90 at Boots
Vera Wang Princess 100ml £30 at Boots £16.99 at Amazon
Hive active heating thermostat £129.99 at Very £118.99 at Screwfix
Google Home mini £24.97 at Appliances Direct  £19 at the Google Store

EZVIZ indoor smart home security camera

£69 at

£63.99 at Ryman

Karcher W2 window vac £34.99 at Robert Dyas £31.50 at Beales
Breville Impressions kettle £26 at £24.99 on Amazon
Stanley sortmaster toolbox £8 at Halfords £7 at B&Q

These ‘dud’ deals are a perfect example of why you should always do your homework before you buy. Below are a few tips on how to spot and avoid duds when Black Friday rolls around (in fact, most of these apply anytime).

How to avoid Black Friday duds

Use Martin’s Money Mantra’s

First off, don't be sucked in by the hype. Black Friday is a marketing ploy by retailers. There are good deals to be had, but only if you need them and can afford them. Just because there are deals doesn't mean you have to buy.

Remember, no matter what the discount, it’s only a good deal if you planned to buy it anyway, so make a list of what you need and stick to it. If a £100 item on your list is 30% off on Black Friday, you save £30. However, if that same item wasn’t something you’d planned on buying, it’s a £70 cost - not a saving.

Use deals pages for analysis

There are several deal websites which spot the best deals for you. Places like MoneySavingExpert (you might've heard of it), as well as HotUKDeals and Latest Deals have their finger on the pulse of what deals are worth shouting about, but can also let you know about the duds to watch out for.

Check prices now

As with anything, it's a good idea to do your research. If there's a specific product you need or want to give as a Christmas gift, start looking at prices now. It's important to gauge pricing early to work out what's a good deal.

Do your own price comparisons

Don't assume the first place you look will be the cheapest price for the item you want. Retailers often get into pricing battles to undercut or match competitors. So always do your own price comparisons to see which retailer is cheapest before buying.

There are tons of websites you can use – the MSE Deals team use Google Shopping, Idealo, PriceRunner and PriceSpy among others – though not all are comprehensive, so it’s a good idea to use more than one to get a more complete picture of what’s out there.

Don't assume a big discount is a big saving

You'll see so many discounts and deals on Black Friday with different terminology, but just because you see a high number, that doesn't mean it's a massive saving. Some retailers may bill their sales as "up to 70% off" and only have one or two items at the highest amount off.

Don't only think about price

It's worth considering other factors such as warranties or return rights when deciding where to buy from. One example is when buying high value electronic items. Purchasing through John Lewis gets you a free two-year warranty, which is something that its rivals don't offer.

See historical Amazon pricing using CamelCamelCamel

If you're a loyal Amazon shopper, you can look at the old prices of items by using historical price-tracking tool CamelCamelCamel. Not only does this tell you if you are getting a good deal on Amazon on the day, you can also see if the price has been cheaper than it is today.

Haggle down further

Don't be afraid to haggle for even more money off on already discounted items, either in store or through online chat services. It's likely that retailers have increased their stock to cope with the demand, so it can't hurt to ask for a little bit more off. The worst they can do is say no!

Shop online

Based on consumer rights, it's much better to buy online. If you purchase something in the Black Friday sale and then decide you don't want it or find it cheaper after you bought it, you have a 14-day period in which you can choose to return your item, and 14 days to send it back – no questions asked.

You don't have these same protections when buying in store, only when an item is faulty.

Have you spotted any Black Friday duds? Let me know in the comments below or on Twitter.