(Prague, 22 November, 2023) As Black Friday approaches, people are facing increasing pressure from online retailers to buy discounted items they may not even need. To combat possible manipulation, the European Consumer Centre offers the following tips: make a list of your shopping priorities, compare the prices of several e-shops, actually read a few reviews in addition to the star ratings, check the country of the retailer’s headquarters or see if the site has been set up recently. For more tips, visit www.evropskyspotrebitel.cz.
“People will even buy things they don’t need because of a discount. A short list of what we may really need can help prevent unnecessary spending. False pressure can be created by information about the limited availability of goods and the percentage discount quoted. The price after discount in one e-shop may be higher than in another without discount. That’s why it’s always a good idea – even when an e-shop tells us how many items are left – to stop for a minute and compare prices from other shops,” recommends Ondřej Tichota, Director of the European Consumer Centre Czech Republic, which deals with consumer rights when shopping in the EU single market.
By law, retailers are obliged to indicate the level of discount compared to the lowest price of the product in the last 30 days. Compliance with this rule is inspected by the Czech Trade Inspection Authority, within which the ECC Czech Republic operates. Buyers should then check for themselves where they are obliged to send the goods under the terms and conditions in the event of withdrawal from the contract within 14 days or in the event of a complaint.
“Consumers still contact us with the claim that the e-shop was in Czech and the goods came from a warehouse in the Czech Republic, but that they only found out later that they had to send the goods to, for example, Slovenia, Romania or China. They had not counted on the cost of shipping abroad and they are also suddenly worried that the withdrawal or claim will turn out well. It only takes a moment to look around before buying in an e-shop,” recalls Ondřej Tichota.
The basic lesson is to look briefly at the terms and conditions and also at the reviews of previous customers of the retailer. In addition to the star rating, it is also a good idea to read a few reviews. This goes double for offers on social media, where many anonymous sellers hide.
The ECC Czech Republic website www.evropskyspotrebitel.cz/podvod has a guide on how to check out a previously unknown seller who is new to consumer. For example, it is possible to find out the date the e-shop was set up – if it is only a few months old, you need to be wary.
Increasingly, some shoppers are considering supporting companies with ethical and sustainable practices, an environmentally friendly approach, employee culture and so on. These guidelines can also help consumers minimize the risks of fraud and inappropriate purchasing decisions during Black Friday.