It’s never too early to be thinking about how you can navigate the holiday season without becoming in debt. Black Friday is a popular time for most consumers to partake in holiday shopping because of the savings, but it’s important to watch out for traps that aren’t really saving you money.

According to the finance and retail experts we spoke to, there are some Black Friday scams to look out for, as well as some tips and tricks you can foster to make the most of this day. 

  1. A Deal That’s Too Good to be True

If something seems too good to be true, then it probably is according to Will Frankling the CEO of Franchise Local. “During Black Friday, many retailers try to get rid of a lot of items they have in excess; products that during regular months did not fly off of the shelves and now are taking up space. During super sales they often are marking these items super low, but the quality of the product might not be the best. You might end up with a dud of a product, and during Black Friday, returns are not always an option because of the discount that they are reducing their products to. 

It’s simply something to be aware of as the holidays approach as you don’t want to end up with a gift that isn’t usable. Always do your research ahead of time, and look for reviews from other consumers. If a particular product has no reviews at all, or there isn’t an option for reviews on the retailer’s website, then I would mark this as a red flag and avoid purchasing.”

  1. Limited Availability

Alex Veytsman the founder of The Offer Sheet says that, “Scarcity is a tactic many retailers use to try and ensure they are pushing through products as quickly as possible. Large corporations don’t often run out of products, and are using this tactic simply to scare people into buying their products. It also means these stores are usually marking up this product, and it’s actually not that great of a deal. They just want people to spend their money as quickly as possible before they even have a chance to do their research.

Most often you will actually find the same product at another location, so I wouldn’t worry about a product running out. I would also price shop before making any decisions to ensure you are getting the best deal. Many retailers price match, and around the holidays especially because they want your business. Don’t feel pressured to buy something because of limited availability, and instead shop around to find the best price for your budget.”

  1. Fine Print

Both online and offline it’s important to understand the fine print of your purchases during Black Friday. Because many businesses are trying to get rid of a lot of inventory, it’s possible that their return policy differs during the holidays. Always read the fine print before purchasing, and if you are in an actual brick and mortar business, make sure to ask the sales associates about their policy. 

For some items they could be final sale with no returns possible, or they could even charge you a fee to return after the holidays. Don’t fall into this trap because you could be stuck with a product that can’t be returned if something goes wrong.

  1. Online Offers Only

Something else to be aware of is that there are many Black Friday deals that might be online only. Many eCommerce stores that also have a physical location might only offer certain products online. This means the deals are only to be found there for those particular items, and you won’t be able to actually physically see the product. 

Always make sure to understand what you are getting before you buy it, as if the offer is online only, you won’t be able to buy it in store. This might mean return policies and shipping might be different, so be sure to understand exactly what you are purchasing and how, before you buy!