How to spot a fake sale as expert warns of price hikes on Black Friday

As Black Friday approaches, Kiwis are being warned to watch for fake sales and price hikes as they go looking for bargains. 

A new PriceSpy report released on Tuesday found one in ten products being sold in a fake sale on Black Friday last year.

The report found 11 percent of products listed on PriceSpy on Black Friday last year were fake sales.

On top of that, almost a fifth of all products (19 percent) were subject to a price hike.

So, how can shoppers spot a fake sale or price hike? 

Liisa Matinvesi-Bassett, New Zealand country manager for PriceSpy, said the best way for New Zealanders to keep an eye out for them is by conducting their own independent pricing research with a free app or website. 

"As well as finding the cheapest place to buy a product - as shop prices for the same product can vary massively - shoppers also need to check the price history of an item they are eyeing up, as this will reveal whether a sale price is fake, has been hiked or is genuine," she said.

"Looking at the price history information of a product will also help shoppers make a more informed purchase decision, as they will clearly be able to compare 'today's' price to other price points across the year."

The Way Back Machine, a website that caches other websites’ history, is another way Newshub has found Kiwis can check previous prices, but it only has data on some items. 

PriceSpy provided Newshub with a range of examples of fake sales from Black Friday last year which included a range of everyday items.

PriceSpy found the Max Factor Masterpiece Max Mascara was listed for $19.89 on one unnamed retailer's website on October 21, but on Black Friday last year, it increased to $33.72. 

How to spot a fake sale as expert warns of price hikes on Black Friday
Photo credit: PriceSpy

Another everyday item becoming more common in Kiwi households is air fryers. PriceSpy found the Philips Smart Airfryer was listed for $619.99 on October 30, 2021, but during Black Friday, it was $679.99. 

Price Spy also found the Samsung stainless steel fridge was listed for $1699 on July 7, 2021, but on Black Friday, it increased to $1899.

How to spot a fake sale as expert warns of price hikes on Black Friday
Photo credit: PriceSpy

How to find the best deals 

The key to finding the best deals on Black Friday is to plan ahead and conduct essential price research, Matinvesi-Bassett said. 

"This includes looking at price points from different stores and being sure to check a product's price history," she said. 

The cost of living crisis is hitting Kiwis hard in the back pocket, but Matinvesi-Bassett still expects New Zealanders to make the most of the discounts but urged people to be wary of fake sales when they are out shopping. 

"Whilst most retailers aim to offer their very best discounts, through our research for The Black Friday Report, we found some to be engaging in fake sales and price hikes," Matinvesi-Bassett said.

PriceSpy's report also found three in five (68 percent) Kiwis have little trust in the discounts being offered on sales days, like Black Friday and Black Week.