Be a savvy Christmas shopper with Which?

which Christmas Blog

With Halloween and Bonfire Night in the past, thoughts have rapidly turned to Christmas shopping and the financial fireworks as people scramble to grab a bargain when buying festive treats for themselves or their loved ones.

Black Friday on November 25th marks the unofficial start of the Christmas shopping season. It is the day when Christmas shoppers begin their search online, hunting down the best deals on TVs, games consoles, fashion, beauty products and more from the likes of Tesco Direct.

Shops will be promising bargains as they drop prices, and there will be a whole host of deals available. However, while you may beeyes tempted to join in and snap up some great offers, it is worth doing your research to make sure you are really getting a good deal. That is where we come in. Which? is the largest consumer body in the UK, with more than 680,000 members who subscribe to the magazine and online services.

We are known for testing a range of household products, from TVs to washing machines, and offer unbiased advice to help people make informed decisions.

What’s more, you can sign up for a £1 month’s trial to Which? through TopCashback, compare thousands of products via full test reviews and receive £5 cashback.

Before we take a look at some of the best and worst Christmas 2016 deals you might find, let’s look at some great tips which will help ensure you avoid the mayhem.

Top Christmas sales tips:

• Preparation: sign up for retailers’ newsletters, ‘like’ their Facebook pages and register for Twitter alerts as they will be keen to publicise their best deals. Also, check retailer websites as some let you register to receive information about offers ahead of time.price match

• Price matching: John Lewis, for example, will match prices on Christmas deals, with the exception of online-only stores. This means that you can do most of your shopping with one retailer - making your life a lot easier.

• Online accounts: make sure you sign in to your online account before you start shopping, while you should consider pre-entering your payment and delivery details and save them to your account so you can complete your purchase more quickly.

• Do your research: it is no use grabbing a bargain if the product is no good. At Which?, we have lab tested results for thousands of products on our website, which you can use to find the products which are best for you and your budget.

• Price check: visit price checker websites and take note of how much the item you want currently costs - this will help you work out how good any deals are.

• Buy now, collect later: some retailers, such as Argos, will hold your product for seven days, meaning you can collect it after the crowds have gone and avoid paying postage costs.

• Returns: in case you end up regretting your purchase, check what the retailer’s returns policy is for sale items before you buy. You can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if the retailer has a returns policy.

• Sign up to Which?: take a 1 month trial of Which? for £1 to unlock all our product reviews instantly, avoid a dreadful deal and bag a Christmas Best Buy bargain.

Now you are armed with all the information you need to help you survive Christmas shopping this year, let’s take a look at some of the best deals you might find - and others you should steer clear of.

Five Christmas deals to look out for:

• Apple MacBook 12” (2016): if you are searching for an Apple laptop this Christmas, keep an eye out for the MacBook 12”. If you are tempted by this model, which usually sells for £1,049, and see it for less than £950, it could be worth buying.

• Microsoft Surface Pro 4: prices for this Microsoft tablet vary depending on the specification. The £750 Windows 10 model is powered by an i5 processor and 4GB of RAM, which means it copes well with demanding apps and videos. If you see it on offer for less than £750, it could be worth considering, while you may see it as part of a bundle deal offering extras such as a Type Cover keyboard, a one-year Office 365 subscription and a free or discounted sleeve.

• Sonos Play: 1 or Sonos Play: 5: music fans will have their eyes peeled for wireless and Bluetooth speaker deals and the Sonos Play: 1 and Sonos Play: 5 are both worth considering. The Play: 1 is a multi-room speaker you can control with an iPhone or Android smartphone and is typically on sale at £169. The Play: 5 is a little pricier, at around £400 and, according to Sonos, provides ‘the ultimate all-in-one listening experience’. If you spot either on sale for less, it could be a good buy.

• KitchenAid Artisan 4.8 litre stand mixer: the KitchenAid Artisan stand mixer will be on the wish list of many a keen baker, which is probably why it is never on sale. Depending on the colour you want, you will usually find it retailing at around £400-450. Anything less than £399 is likely to be a good price and you could snap up a real bargain if you are not too fussy about which colour you have.

• Dyson Supersonic hair dryer: This pricey hair dryer has not been discounted since it was launched in June of this year, so if you see it for less than £300, you know you are getting a genuinely good deal. Dyson says its motor works eight times faster than other hair dryer motors and is half the weight, while its ‘intelligent heat control’ helps prevent extreme heat damage to hair. Five

Christmas deals to be wary of:

• Samsung Galaxy Tab S2 8”: this tablet usually sells at around £300 and is incredibly slim and light. It is more portable than Apple’s iPad Mini 4, has an eight-inch screen and comes with 24GB of expandable storage. However, you should be wary of any deals on this as it is almost always available on ‘special offer’. There are also rumours that Samsung is working on a follow-up for a February 2017 release.

• Ultimate Ears Boom 2: the Boom 2 is popular with music fans who want a highly portable wireless speaker. It can survive splashes of water and comes with an accompanying iPhone and Android smartphone app. You can also link them together if you have more than one. This mini speaker retails for £170, but you can usually find it online for closer to £120 and our research shows the Boom 2 hasgreat deals been on offer for as little as £100 on several occasions in 2016.

• Bosch Tassimo Caddy T70 coffee machine: this kitchen gadget can make anything from espresso to hot chocolate in an instant using the Tassimo capsule system, and could delight a loved one at Christmas. However, Tassimo machines are often sold at attractive, discounted prices, so avoid rushing to buy it.

• Oral B Genius 9000 electric toothbrush: this electric toothbrush has a Recommended Retail Price (RRP) of £280, but it has been going for half that somewhere ever since its launch this summer. Electric toothbrushes are frequently on offer, so avoid getting too excited if you see one discounted.

• Sage Nutri Juicer Compact BJE200SIL: this juicer has several different colour variations and the chances are that at least one of them is on sale at any one time. Do not be surprised - or impressed - if you see it in the sales and hold out for an offer that is £75 or less.

Now that we have highlighted some of the best and worst Christmas deals online, it is important for you to know what your consumer rights are and what to do if your purchase turns out to be a dud.

Your rights on Christmas deals:

• Faults: if you find you have bought something which is faulty, go to the retailer first, rather than use a warranty. This is because there are strict rules under the Consumer Rights Act which retailers must follow. You will need to act quickly, though, as you only have 30 days in which to reject something which is faulty and get your money back. On the plus side, if someone unwraps one of your purchases on Christmas Day, you will still have just enough time to let the retailer know it is faulty and ask for a refund.

• Changing your mind: you can only return non-faulty goods for an exchange or refund if the retailer has a returns policy. Stores are notconsumer rights required to have one as law, but if they do, they must stick to it. Most shops’ return policies have time limits for returning non-faulty products - often 28 days. However, they may extend this period, particularly at Christmas, so you might have more time than you think. When buying online, you have additional rights under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, but save yourself the hassle and do your research before you buy.

• Delivery issues: it is always the retailer’s responsibility to deliver your goods to you, so if your parcel does not turn up on time, goes missing, arrives damaged or is stolen off your doorstep, they need to rectify the situation. You should not have to chase the delivery courier if there is a problem. Know your delivery rights and always speak to the retailer first.

• Avoiding scams: there has been a huge increase in goods being sold by unscrupulous sellers on social media as it is easy to set up multiple accounts which do not require too many details. According to the latest annual Intellectual Property Crime Report, social media has overtaken auction sites as the criminal ‘channel of choice’ when it comes to selling counterfeit and pirated products. We advise caution if you see any deals on social media which look too good to be true. We hope this has provided you with all the information you need to feel confident when it comes to getting your hands on a great Black Friday deal.

Don’t forget you can sign up for a £1 Which? trial through TopCashback to gain access to thousands of expert product reviews, learn more about your consumer rights, and earn £5 in cashback (members must keep the trial for at least 20 days of the one-month period to be eligible for cashback).

Posted on 07 Dec 2016  |  Posted in  Cashback Diary
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