As the Black Friday tradition, originating in the 1960s in the United States, ushers in the Christmas shopping season, Cypriots face unique economic challenges. The combination of soaring energy costs, price hikes in everyday products, inflationary trends, the ongoing war in Ukraine, and the lingering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic have reshaped daily economic planning, leading to a notable decline in purchasing interest.
To guide consumers through the intricacies of Black Friday and help them make informed choices, the Consumer Protection Service has put forward several recommendations:
1. Advance Market Research:
- Identify products of interest and note their prices before Black Friday.
- Facilitate a better understanding of discounts by comparing with regular prices.
2. Set a Budget:
- Define needs and determine a maximum spending amount to resist impulsive purchases.
- Consider financial capabilities while navigating numerous Black Friday offers.
3. Product Examination:
- Scrutinize product features to ensure they align with personal needs.
- Pay close attention to critical information about product delivery speed and availability.
4. Online Reviews:
- Search product reviews online for alternative options.
- Gather feedback on the product of interest, including pricing from various suppliers.
5. Caution on High Discounts:
- Be wary of products with substantial discounts lacking essential information.
- Price should not be the sole criterion for purchase.
6. Legitimacy of Online Stores:
- Avoid purchases from online stores with questionable legitimacy.
- Ensure sellers provide full address details and communicate through official channels.
7. Newsletter Subscription Awareness:
- Exercise caution when subscribing to newsletters.
- Be aware that personal information provided may be used for targeted promotions.
8. High-Value Purchases:
- Evaluate the reliability and service quality of sellers for high-value items.
- Look for feedback from other consumers on warranty issues and post-sale service.
9. Familiarize with Return Policies:
- Understand the store's return policy before making a purchase.
- Recognize that returns for in-store purchases depend on the store's policy.
10. Request a Receipt:
- Always request a receipt for purchased products.
- Useful in case of defective or non-existent products.
11. Right to Withdraw:
- For online or off-premises purchases, consumers have a 14-day withdrawal right.
12. Consumer Dispute Resolution:
- Check whether the store participates in alternative dispute resolution mechanisms.
- Inquire about adherence to the Code of Consumer Ethics or similar mechanisms.
In case of violations, consumers are encouraged to contact the Consumer Association of Cyprus at 22516112 and email@example.com or the Consumer Protection Service of the Ministry of Energy, Commerce, and Industry at 1429.