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Black Friday for students: deals and deceptions

Black Friday could be the perfect opportunity to bag a bargain on a big university item for your course or accommodation.

Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you’ll know what Black Friday is. For the uninitiated, it’s an “event” that takes place every November, where retailers slash prices on a range of products, to encourage you to part with your cash.

In 2019, Black Friday falls on 29 November. This said, you can already get your hands on many products with Black Friday discounts and these deals often hang around for a while, too.

Black Friday doesn’t fall at the best time for students it’s been a while since your last student finance payment, and you probably won’t be receiving another one until January. So if you are planning on taking advantage of the sales whether that’s buying a treat for yourself, or a Christmas present for someone else it pays to know whether you really are getting a good deal.

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What can I buy on Black Friday, and how do I find deals?

Many of the largest Black Friday savings are to be found with big-ticket items, many of which are student essentials.

Is your laptop starting to conk out? Is your smartphone not so smart anymore? Are your headphones proving to be an unreliable study companion?

If you’re looking for a Black Friday deal on anything tech-related but don’t really know where to start, the great news is that we’ve done most of the work for you check out Best Black Friday TVs, laptops and other tech products.
  • Best laptops for students the top laptops for uni courses focused on essays and research, as well as for production and design.

This said, it’s not all about tech. Lots of retailers have jumped on the Black Friday bandwagon, so you’ll likely be able to find a deal for whatever you’re looking for.

How to sniff out a Black Friday deception

Don’t believe that something is a great deal just because you’re told it is. Unfortunately, there are some regular prices out there that masquerade as bargains which simply must be snapped up.

Here are our three must-remember tips to help you discover whether something is actually a deal:
  • Check the price across multiple shops.
  • Check the price history.
  • Be wary of ‘was’ prices or RRP comparisons.

For more detail on how to do this, along with more sleuthing tips, take a look at how to check if a Black Friday deal is real.


Can I use my student discount on Black Friday deals?

Some shops will let you take advantage of your student discount, even on discounted products.

If you decide to brave the shops on Black Friday (rather than going online), remember your student card you could make some big savings!  


Buying Christmas gifts on Black Friday

It might be worth taking advantage of sales season to reduce your Christmas outgoings, a notoriously expensive time of year...

You could also consider sending your Christmas gift list to any friends and/or family who want to buy you a present, to help them save money. Don’t worry about sending it to Father Christmas, though he’s already on the case (providing you’ve been nice this year).

Whether you buy Christmas gifts on Black Friday or not, we wouldn’t recommend leaving your Christmas shopping until the last minute. It’s stressful, and you may not be able to find many good-value items.


Top five student shopping tips for Black Friday

1. Prepare prepare prepare: Try to avoid searching for the best deals on the day lots of people will be doing the same, which means slow and frustrating browsing. Sign up to your favourite retailers’ newsletters and their Twitter alerts they’ll be keen to publicise their deals.

2. Sign up to online accounts: As websites will be slowed down due to heavy traffic, set up accounts with your retailers, and consider pre-entering your payment and shipping details. This will help you buy things and get out of there as quickly as possible.

3. Be wary of unusual brands: It’s not that every brand you won’t have heard of will be bad, but don’t be so tempted by the price that you don’t consider whether you’re buying a good product.

4. Find out whether retailers will match prices: Some shops, such as John Lewis, will match Black Friday prices. Online-only ones such as Amazon, however, usually don’t.

5. Look at the price, not the saving: Even if something has been heavily discounted, think about whether it’s a price that you’re still happy to pay.

The above tips will help you sail through the sales, but they’re not the only ones…


Know your Black Friday shopping rights

We think it’s safe to assume that you probably don’t want to read consumer legislation in full, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t know how to use your rights when you need to.

Below are some key problems you might run into when shopping, and what you can do to resolve them.

You’ve bought something in the Black Friday sale, only to find that it’s faulty

Contact the retailer quickly you only have 30 days to reject something that’s faulty and get your money back.

You’ve bought something in the Black Friday sale, only to realise that you don’t really want it

If you bought it in a shop: Check that the retailer has a returns policy.

If you bought it online: The Consumer Contracts Regulations let you cancel your online order at any time from the moment you paid and up to 14 days from the date the goods were delivered to you.

You’ve bought something digital that doesn’t work

This could include an app, ebook, game, music or movies. If it’s not working, contact the retailer it has one opportunity to repair or replace anything of unsatisfactory quality, unfit for purpose or not as described.

If this isn’t satisfied, you can demand a refund.

Your Black Friday delivery doesn’t arrive

Always speak to the retailer in the first instance, rather than chasing the delivery courier. It’s up to the retailer to sort out.


You’ve been a victim of a shopping scam

Unfortunately, there are some dodgy sellers out there. If you’re a victim of a scam, check out Consumer Rights advice on how to get your money back after a scam.

Parents, if your child is heading to university in the near future, check out our tips to budget for their uni costs.

Our student finance Q&A also covers some popular parent queries when it comes to supporting your child's finance application.

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