Christmas shopping scams

There are still many people who have yet to start their Christmas shopping and very few who have finished so the next couple of weeks will be madness as shoppers continue to hunt down bargains to save some money. Everyone loves a good bargain and cannot resist the next must have gadget at a price too good to be true but at what lengths will people go to, to get luxury products on a small budget?

Retailers are taking advantage of the festive season and slashing prices on many expensive items such as food, drink and larger electrical items such as televisions. Christmas and New Year can get expensive as families usually drop in throughout the day so finger food and drinks should be plentiful. Many large supermarkets have been caught falsely advertising promotions that simply ran out too soon or were ridiculously low in the first place.

Most common scams to be aware of this Christmas

Bait sales – stores advertise a heavily discounted sought after item that isn’t in stock when you go to the store and buy it. Usually these products have a small quantity available in the first place so the likelihood of being able to purchase one is slim unless you camp outside the store from the early hours of the morning and are one of the first to enter the store. Marks and Spencer’s have been caught out just recently when a £30 bottle of champagne was advertised for only £10, customers complained when they ran out of this promotion as early as 9am!

Offers on bulk buying –
supermarkets are guilty when it comes to advertising bulk buying as cheaper than buying smaller individual packs of the same item on offer. For example 3 for 2 or buy one get one free are not always cheaper than buying only what you need. Just the other day I found 500g of custard selling for £1.46 whereas 1kg of the same custard selling for £1.47, yet they were on the same shelf next to each other.

Drip pricing –
this was once more popular with airlines as a small price is advertised then when other charges such as credit card fees and delivery are added on the original price goes up considerably more. High streets are doing this when it comes to items such as large electrical items that have failed to include delivery charges and holidays.

Limited period offers – offers that have a small time frame to lure customers into buying on the spot or in a very short time frame. Often these are done by furniture and electrical stores who claim that such offers are for a limited time only but in fact there is no end date as the stock needs to be shifted first. This puts many people in a difficult situation as they may think that they are missing out when in fact they are being forced into making a decision there and then.

Recommended retail price (RRP) reference – many shops are being cheeky by advertising a very high RRP price but selling for as little as 25%, in some cases they are hugely inflated and not at all realistic. Some retailers claim items costing £500 are reduced to a mere £50 but it is up to the customer to use common sense and a little research to see what the true cost is.

Try not to fall for the Christmas scams this festive period and shop around first before deciding if the deal you have found is a realistic one. People are known to travel far just to buy a present that looks too good to be true, if it seems just that then the chances are it is too good to be true, steer clear.