Planning Ahead for Black Friday Success

MADISON – On Thanksgiving afternoon just after the plates are cleared, many Americans start planning their strategies for holiday shopping.  For the most dedicated among them, the plan starts with a full-court press on “Black Friday,” one of the busiest shopping days of the year.  Wisconsin’s Department of Agriculture, Trade and Consumer Protection (DATCP) is offering holiday shopping tips to help make sure you are really getting a bargain – on Black Friday and throughout the holiday season.

“Black Friday is a huge event for American retailers, and consumers are drawn by incredible deals, ‘doorbusters’ and ‘one-day only’ offers,” said Sandy Chalmers, Division Administrator for Trade and Consumer Protection.  “Each store’s deals and policies will be different, and it is the customer’s responsibility to read the advertisements closely for event-specific wording.”

With so many items heavily discounted on Black Friday, it is important for consumers to keep an eye on the register as they check-out to ensure they receive the deal they are after.

“The special pricing will apply to specific items, so be sure that you have the correct product and check your receipts to make certain that you are charged the advertised price,” said Chalmers.

If there is a discrepancy, Wisconsin law requires stores to charge the lowest advertised price and refund any overcharge.  Even though pricing errors may be unintentional, the law always benefits the consumer.

“If you see a potential pricing problem, speak up, because most retailers are anxious to please,” added Chalmers. “If a store fails to make it right, file a consumer complaint with DATCP and our weights and measures inspectors will follow up.”

DATCP’s weights and measures team is responsible for checking on stores to make sure Wisconsin consumers get what they are paying for.  Last year, DATCP tested nearly 35,000 items for price accuracy across the state.  During these tests, consumers were charged the correct price or undercharged for an item 98.6% of the time.

DATCP offers these holiday shopping tips this Black Friday:

  • Make sure you understand return/refund/exchange policies before you buy.  Retailers may have stricter policies in place for Black Friday purchases.  Keep your receipts.
  • Read store ads thoroughly before shopping. Check for special conditions of the sale, including limited hours or quantities.
  • Be prepared when you are at the register. Have store ads with you and take notes as you shop of any special prices or sale signage.
  • Watch the display screen at the store as your items are being scanned.  If there is an overcharge, speak up when you are in the store and ask for a refund.

For additional information or to file a complaint, visit the Consumer Protection Bureau atdatcp.wisconsin.gov, send an e-mail to datcphotline@wisconsin.gov or call the Consumer Protection Hotline toll-free at 1-800-422-7128.

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