Chamber of Labor urges caution with discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday

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There are many discount battles on Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and the weeks before and after. However, the Chamber of Labor (AK) warns us to be careful with fat discounts.

How retailers cheat on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Beware: fat discounts can often not be so attractive at a second glance. This is because the percentages are often not based on the market price but on the usually significantly higher list price. The AK gives tips on what consumers should pay attention to when it comes to price tricks.

Many stores entice customers with special offers on Black Friday
On Friday, “Black Friday” marks the start of the Christmas shopping season, and many stores are again tempting customers with special offers. Price promotions are currently in high demand due to high inflation, say researchers at the University of Linz. But the discount spectacle also has its downsides: Consumer protectionists warn of traps and supposed bargains, and NGOs criticize excessive consumption. For retailers, the knockdown prices could increasingly become a test of strength.

“Price promotions are more in demand than they have been for a long time due to high inflation,” write retail experts Ernst Gittenberger and Christoph Teller from Johannes Kepler University (JKU) Linz in their latest report on Black Friday. Especially in times of crisis surrounding war, inflation, and price increases, campaign days are a tried and tested means of stimulating people’s desire to buy. However, the two researchers believe this should be critically scrutinized, especially in crises, because “promotion days give consumers the subjective feeling of spending and saving simultaneously.”

Black Friday discount battle likely to lure many Austrians to retail stores
The annual discount battle will likely lure many people in Austria to retailers again this year. According to a survey by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), about every second respondent wants to go bargain hunting. Gittenberger and Teller came to a similar conclusion in their survey of 1,000 consumers. The campaign day could only occur online in the past two years due to corona-related lockdowns. This year, retailers have reopened, but the surveys suggest that business with discounts is still likely to occur mainly online.

But the tempting discounts are sometimes pure fraud, and fake stores are also booming, warns the Vienna Chamber of Labor. “Fat discounts may often not be so attractive at second glance. This is because the percentages are often not based on the market price, but on the list price, which is usually much higher,” the consumer protection agency says in a statement. Consumers should not allow themselves to be put under pressure in the case of time-limited promotions and compare the offers via price search engines. A look at the imprint of the online store could protect against fake stores.

Fairtrade criticizes: Black Friday happens at the expense of people
Fairtrade criticizes in a dispatch that Black Friday often happens at the expense of people in the global south. Companies already price discount promotions at the time of purchase and push down prices accordingly. However, many European manufacturers do not check whether the purchase prices allow suppliers to pay adequate wages. “Fair production and payment are essential, especially in economically difficult times like these and advancing climate change,” said Hartwig Kirner, managing director of Fairtrade Austria. “That’s why it’s better to buy less and instead buy things that last and support companies that produce them sustainably.”

Discount ration often tempts you to buy unnecessary products
Discount campaigns often tempt people to buy products they don’t even need, complains the environmental organization Greenpeace. Considering the climate crisis, consumer behavior urgently needs to change, and more emphasis should be placed on repairing, sharing, and reusing. Stricter circular economy requirements at the EU level, environmental regulations in product design, the right to revise, and a ban on destroying new goods could, for example, reduce resource consumption, says a consumer expert from the environmental organization.

Skimmed prices could backfire on retailers.
Skid prices could also backfire on retailers themselves in the long run. “The shifts in price expectations will hurt retailers in the medium and long term. The special offer price will become the norm for consumers, while the price at break-even will become the exception to be avoided,” says retail expert Teller. Black Friday could bring retailers additional sales, but given high-cost increases, especially in the energy sector, caution is advised in businesses with reduced margins.

Black Friday originated in the USA
Black Friday originates from the USA; it is the Friday after Thanksgiving, which always falls on the fourth Thursday in November. This year it takes place on November 25. Online retailers follow suit on the following Monday with “Cyber Monday.” Increasingly, the discount battle also spilled over into Europe. In the meantime, the event is no longer strictly limited to one day but has, in some cases, been extended to Black Week or Black Month.

Given the growing concern about the role of companies in the climate crisis and the effects of excessive consumption, there has also been an “anti-Black Friday” counter-campaign for some years. This involves companies advertising not to spend money with them, partly to maintain their credibility on sustainability issues.

What to look out for with discounts on Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Black Friday & Co. – this is what you should know:

“Red, white and red” shopping: Many domestic retailers offer a wide range of products online. A click on their homepage can also pay off.

Beware, trap: unique offers, countdowns, and “strictly limited” quotas are tricks to get you to buy (quickly).

Not always a bargain: What seems like a bargain at first glance may be a regular-priced product. Especially with expensive products, observe the prices over a more extended period with online price search engines, such as geizhals.at or idealo.at.

Look at the small print: Some stores advertise big Black Friday promotions, for example, minus 25 percent on everything. However, there are numerous exceptions in the small print. Promotional items are also often excluded from Black Friday or Cyber Monday discounts.

Cheaper but older: Some stores offer the most significant discounts on consumer electronics or household appliances, often on older models.

Beware of fake shops: Fake stores are online again and again, especially in the Asian region. Attention, if the company only offers advance payments, fingers off. There is a risk that you will not receive the prepaid products at all. First, check the imprint to see where the dealer is based. On watchlist-internet.at, you will find a list of current fake stores.

Pay attention to additional costs: Pay attention to shipping costs. Large and bulky goods may incur additional shipping costs, making the bargain look “old.”

Beware of “Click & Collect”: buy online and pick up in person (i.e., “Click & Collect) – here’s a right of withdrawal in contrast to only pre-reserve in the online store and purchasing in the store. Specifically: – 14 days to consider online purchase: If the contract is concluded online or by telephone, there is a general 14-day right of withdrawal. This applies if the goods come by mail and are collected in person on-site (Click & Collect). Exceptions to this would be, for example, perishable goods or goods made to your specifications.

No right to exchange: If the goods are only reserved online or by telephone, and you only buy them on-site, you should ask beforehand whether and until you are entitled to an exchange. A right to it does not exist. If there are defects, there is a legal right to warranty.

  • source: vienna.at/APA/picture:
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