Don’t get carried away on Black Friday

Black Friday is on November 23 when consumers max out their credit cards, empty their wallets and their children’s piggy banks to scoop up the many bargains that retailers will be offering, both in their brick and mortar stores and their virtual reality offerings.

And don’t forget Cyber Monday.

Oh, and Christmas, which will be another opportunity to splurge.

While there will indeed be many bargains, there will be some unscrupulous retailers, online and in store, who will use “Bait Marketing” to tempt you.

In one case that the Ombudsman for Consumer Goods and Services (CGSO) dealt with after last year’s Black Friday, a customer who tried to buy Black Friday sale items on a website complained to the ombud that his purchase was rejected and he was later advised that the items were no longer available, although his friends were able to buy them.

The supplier apologised and explained that the sale was not successful due to online system issues, the ombud said.
The supplier tried to resolve the matter by agreeing on the items and pricing with the complainant.

The supplier resolved most of the issues but was unable to provide the complainant with the exact model of air conditioner advertised as it was no longer available. They did, however, offer the complainant an equivalent to the one advertised, and at the same price. The complainant, however, insisted that he did not want a substitute.

Sometimes this tactic is known as bait marketing. In this instance though, it was not.

The ombud explained that Section 30 of the Consumer Protection Act states that a supplier must not advertise goods or services at a price that may mislead or deceive customers if the item is not available.

However, if the supplier states that there is a limited supply of the product he must make the goods available to the extent of the advertised limit.

However, the supplier does have a defence if he offers to supply the customer with the same or equivalent product in a reasonable time and at the advertised price or if the customer refuses to accept the offer.

The complainant in this case rejected the supplier’s offer. The supplier only had limited stocks of the units: 800 printers and 400 air conditioners. When these units had sold out, the supplier tried to source the items for the complainant from elsewhere and when they were unable to do so, they offered equivalent goods which the complainant declined to accept. The complainant, however, said the same models were still being sold in store and therefore did not accept the offer of equivalent goods.

The supplier explained that the units which were advertised on the Black Friday sale were end of range products for that year’s model and could not supply them.

The ombud confirmed that there was no contravention of the CPA and by offering the equivalent goods to the buyer the supplier fulfilled its mandate.

So where did the phrase Black Friday originate?

According to Dr Google, the earliest evidence of the phrase Black Friday as a shopping concept applied to the day after Thanksgiving and originated in Philadelphia, the “City of Brotherly Love” and was used to describe the heavy and disruptive pedestrian and vehicle traffic that occurred on the day after Thanksgiving. Well, no brotherly love, there then.

Another explanation is that Black Friday is the day when retailers finally begin to turn a profit for the year. Accountants call operating at a loss as being in the red. Traditionally accountants use red ink to show losses. If you haven’t budgeted for “Black Friday” then don’t be tempted as buying on impulse could adversely affect your credit rating.

This is the warning from Jimmy Golele, acting manager: education and communication at the National Credit Regulator (NCR).
“By preparing a budget, consumers can avoid buyers’ remorse and the stress of arriving home with products and items that they do not really need. Cash is king, credit attracts interest and fees,” Mr Golele said.

Set a realistic budget and stick to it; if an item is on sale and you buy it on credit, interest and fees will push up the price.

Have a shopping list, don’t buy on impulse is his advice.

“Don’t let Black Friday burn a hole in your pocket and be the reason for your financial woes next year,” Mr Golele said.

After Black Friday comes Cyber Monday, Christmas and New Year celebrations when it will be time for school uniforms and fees.

Out of the 24.59 million credit active consumers, 61.1% are in good standing. However, 9.6 million consumers have impaired records. This is a record that classifies consumers who have an adverse listing, a judgment or an administrative order or who are three payments or months in arrears.

Visit: to find a list of registered credit bureaus where you can get your free credit record.

To lodge a complaint visit: and for more information email, call 0860 000 272 or fax 086 206 1999.

Branch closed

The branch of the South African Reserve Bank in St George’s Mall has been converted to a cash centre and closed to the public.

The Durban and Johannesburg branches will be converted to cash centres, while the Port Elizabeth, East London and Bloemfontein branches have been closed.

People will no longer be able to exchange mutilated and banknotes withdrawn from circulation at the cash centre.

Visit: to find the list of commercial banks who offer this service.