The European Consumer Centre in Luxembourg noted that Black Friday has become a global shopping phenomenon, promising to offer “unbeatable” prices and deals, and that following a few tips can make Black Friday shopping safer.
Whether it is Black Friday or any other day, products should last, the European Consumer Centre pointed out. In Europe, even discounted goods are covered by a legal warranty. This means that if a product proves to be faulty, a replacement or a refund can be obtained for up to two years after the purchase.
When shopping online, trying the product is not possible. Getting the “perfect fit” can be difficult for certain products such as trousers or earphones. Items can be returned within a fourteen-day period without the requirement to provide a justification. The European Consumer Centre recommends communicating the decision in writing, via email to the trader. Certain items, however, such as online-booked travel, perishable goods (such as food) and personalised items such as engraved jewellery, may not be eligible for a return.
Online shops have the freedom to choose the payment methods they offer. It is their responsibility to inform customers about the available options before customers finalise their orders. The European Consumer Centre advises exercising caution when dealing with stores that exclusively accept advance payment. Online European law decrees that no additional fees should be charged for commonly used payment methods such as credit cards, SEPA direct debit and SEPA bank transfers.
While Black Friday brings tempting shopping deals, it can also come with dubious offers and scams. If choosing to pay with a credit card, one can in most cases cancel unauthorised transactions through a chargeback procedure. In the event of a problem, the first step is to try to resolve the dispute with the trader. If that does not work, contacting one’s bank can initiate the chargeback.
“Only ten minutes left”, “seven other people are looking at this item” and “Only three items left in stock” are so-called "dark patterns" used by many websites, applications, social networks and search engines. These countdowns, buttons or alarming messages are designed to encourage consumers to click, buy, subscribe or provide personal data quickly by creating a sense of pressure.
Karin Basenach, Director of ECC Luxembourg emphasised: "It's no surprise that on this day, consumers react to the various promotional offers, but we would like to remind them that, for Black Friday, Cyber Monday or any other day of the year, the ECC Luxembourg is at their disposal to make informed purchases."