BOSTON – Black Friday is quickly approaching, but the question is: Are these sales really the “good deals” they’re advertised to be?
What would you say if we told you that most store discounts aren’t really discounts at all? Just an attempt to try and get you to shop right then and there?
That’s what Consumers’ Checkbook discovered after tracking sales at 24 major retailers for a 33-week period.
WBZ’s Courtney Cole explains what she learned from Kevin Brasler, a consumer expert with the non-profit organization, that will better prepare you for holiday shopping later this week.
Cole asked, “Is there anything you can really do to get the best sales?”
“The trick is, don’t believe that the price that they’ve crossed out, to discount off of, is a genuine prevailing price out there,” Brasler said. “So, if they’re telling you ‘Oh, you’re getting 60% off this marked down price’ the problem is, these days is very few retailers ever charge that crossed out price. There’s actually an industry term for them, they’re called anchor prices. They exist only so that retailers can make it seem like they’re offering you some screaming deal off this inflated price that they never charged to begin with. This practice is actually illegal.”
How are retailers getting away with this?
“The FTC has just chosen, basically, not to enforce its own rule on this,” Brasler said.
CLICK HERE to read more about the FTC rule.
Of the 24 major retailers they tracked, here are the ones Consumers’ Checkbook found to have sales that were usually misleading:
Consumers’ Checkbook found these stores to have sales that were often misleading:
Not engaged in misleading sales:
Brasler told Cole only three were not engaged in illegal, fake discounts.
Target (Described as borderline case by Brasler)