From conducting legitimate research to avoiding being taken in by con artists

How to save money in the January sales

Now that Christmas Day has come and gone, many consumers can look forward to one thing: bargains during the month of January. However, what steps can you take to verify that the money you are saving is real and that you are not falling victim to a scam? Previous research has shown that retail rollbacks aren’t always what they seem to be. This is despite the fact that the January bargains are second only to Black Friday in the hearts of discount aficionados. Before you pull out your credit card, read this list of ten things to keep in mind, ranging from knowing how to spot bogus reviews to being aware of your legal options in the event that something goes wrong.

1. Allow us to assist you in finding the best bargains the month of January has to offer.

When it comes to so-called “special” bargains, merchants aren’t necessarily the most honest people in the world. We have teams of experts here at Which? who not only know which products are worth purchasing based on rigorous lab tests, but also know whether today’s sale price genuinely reflects a genuine saving when compared to what you would typically spend for them.

We have compiled a list of the greatest January sales bargains across a variety of categories to assist you in navigating your way to the best products. Simply follow the links provided below to get the best deals available, as recommended by our staff: The best bargains can be found during the winter sales Best laptop deals Best mattress discounts Best TV deals The lowest possible prices on washing machines

2. Make sure deals are authentic

According to the findings of several studies, the prices of many items sold at discounted rates can be found throughout the year at levels that are either comparable or even lower. Consider the results of a recent analysis that we conducted. We discovered that an astounding 99.5% of the so-called deals that are offered on Black Friday are not actually deals at all. However, there are techniques to determine whether or not the discount that you are seeing is legitimate. If you want to view the price history of a product from a variety of merchants, you can do so by visiting websites such as PriceRunner.com, PriceSpy.co.uk, or, for Amazon, CamelCamelCamel.com.

3. Do your homework on a product before you buy it.

It has come to our attention that the use of pressure tactics by retailers can drive customers to make rash purchases that they later come to regret. Instead of going into the sales with the attitude of “I’ll see what I find,” it is in your best interest to make a list of things that you genuinely want or need before checking out what’s on sale. This will allow you to make more informed purchasing decisions.

This strategy is designed to prevent you from overpaying, and it also provides you with the opportunity to conduct preliminary research on the items that you are considering purchasing. Before you put anything in your basket, make sure you have read evaluations written by professionals that are objective and verify the costs at many stores.

4. Avoid phoney reviews

When you are shopping online, unfortunately it is all too likely that you may come across fraudulent, paid-for, or misleading user evaluations. Indicators of potential fraud include the simultaneous publication of multiple reviews, an abundance of effusive praise, and the repetition of positive language in different reviews. You should also check to see if the reviewers are verified purchasers; however, this by itself is not sufficient to guarantee legitimacy. When looking at star ratings, make sure you read our article on how to recognise a false review first so you can learn everything you need to know to stay safe.

5. Be sceptical of advertisements that say “purchase now, pay later.”

“Buy now, pay later” (BNPL) payment alternatives are becoming increasingly popular among online retailers, and companies like Clearpay, Klarna, and Laybuy are helping to drive this trend. Although the idea of spreading out spending over a period of time through instalments does not sound risky, our research has shown that customers frequently aren’t completely aware of the potential repercussions.

For instance, we’ve discovered that BNPL companies sometimes urge consumers to spend more than they can afford, which can put them at risk of falling into debt. In rare circumstances, the use of BNPL programmes can potentially have an impact on applications for mortgages. Learn more about it here: how businesses that use BNPL encourage impulsive spending

6. Receive a monetary rebate

while you are out shopping When shopping for expensive things like televisions and computers during the after-Christmas sales, consumers should make sure to take advantage of cashback offers and receive incentives whenever possible.

You can make money by shopping online if you use cashback websites like Quidco.com and TopCashback.co.uk. These companies offer rebates on purchases made online. You may also use a cashback credit card for the same thing; however, you will need to make sure that you pay the balance off in full every month in order to prevent being charged interest on the balance.

7. Comparison shop whenever possible.

It is in your best interest to look about at several retailers to find out who offers the best deal on the product you want to purchase. If you see an item on sale at one retailer, there is a good chance that another retailer is offering it at an even better price. Simply perform a speedy internet check on your mobile device while you’re out and about shopping in person. Learn more about it here: where to find the best deals when buying online and how to acquire them.

8. Keep an eye out for potentially hazardous products

Be aware of your surroundings and keep your wits about you when purchasing on online marketplaces such as Amazon Marketplace, eBay, or Wish. During a prior examination, 66 percent of the 250 goods that we purchased from these websites were found to be unsafe.

There are innumerable dangerous things that are sold online and that you will want to make sure you stay away from. Some of these products include flammable USB chargers and so-called “killing car seats.” Learn more about it here: tips to prevent purchasing counterfeit and potentially harmful products

9. Be aware of your legal options.

During the holiday season, several merchants extend their windows of time during which customers can return unwanted presents to give customers additional opportunity to do so.

If you check the returns policy of a store before you buy something there, you will know exactly when the deadline is to bring the item back if you decide you wish to do so. Keep in mind that when you shop online, you are entitled to more rights than when you shop in a physical store. Learn more about it here: comparison of your consumer rights when buying in stores and online

10. Be wary of potential cons.

As a result of the epidemic, the majority of us have been subjected to an endless stream of unwanted messages, emails, and phone calls from con artists who are attempting to capitalise on the increased level of uncertainty as well as the growth in internet buying. For instance, just because you have a delivery that is on its way does not imply that every message you receive pertaining to that package is genuine.

In the year leading up to May 2021, delivery scam SMS were sent to three out of every five consumers, with many con artists pretending to be the Royal Mail. Some con artists may tell you that you have a “unpaid shipping cost” that has to be paid and will provide you with a link that, if you click on it, will take your money.

Be on the lookout for the warning indications of a scam, and do all in your power to verify that a message is genuine before clicking any links it contains. Learn more about it here: tips to avoid getting ripped off when shopping online