Poor quality products are being sold at discount prices this Black Friday, an investigation by Which? has found.
When the consumer champion uncovers products that fail to perform in its rigorous, independent tests, it rates them as Don’t Buys.
Although Don’t Buy status means a product should be avoided at all costs, researchers found that many of these items were available in Black Friday sales on the websites of major retailers, including Argos, AO.com, AppliancesDirect, Currys PC World and Halfords.
The Lenovo IdeaPad S145-15IWL laptop has been listed by Which? as a Don’t Buy, with Which? experts commenting on the “bad speakers” and “poor screen” revealed by Which? tests. The same product was available for £199.99 on Argos – promoted as “Save ⅓ Was £299.99”.
The Graco Logico L Highback Booster* car seat was available from Halfords for £39.99 – a saving of £10 – with an additional “Black Friday Deal” of 10% extra off. Which? labelled this car seat as a Don’t Buy – when Which? carried out its own independent crash tests*, the results in the side crash test with the back fitted meant it would have exposed the child to a risk of serious injury. It was even worse with the back removed.
The Marshall Major III bluetooth headphones were described by Which? as having “poor sound quality and comfort” and was labelled as a Don’t Buy. Which? spotted them on Currys PC World for £79.00 promoted as a “Black Tag Deal”, explaining that the product “Was £129.00” and offering the opportunity to “save £50”.
The Russell Hobbs Sabre Plus 22.2V cordless vacuum is rated a Which? Don’t Buy. It was being sold by AO.com for £89 – a saving of £10 in the retailer’s “Biggest Ever Black Friday”. Which? experts described it as “terrible at pet hair” and “awful at carpets.”
The Beko VCS5125AB corded vacuum was being sold by AppliancesDirect for £54 – a £31 saving. It was labelled as a Don’t Buy following Which? tests. Which? stated that it was “inconvenient on stairs and high places” and “bad at negotiating uneven surfaces.”
The ElectriQ EAP120HC air purifier was available for £39.97 in the sale at AppliancesDirect – less than half price (a saving of £48) as a “Black Friday Deal”. Which? testing has found that this device was not up to the job – making it a Don’t Buy.
Which? advises shoppers to do their research to assess whether the price and quality of the product they are considering makes it the right deal for them.
Which? has heard from consumers who felt rushed into buying a product due to a big headline ‘saving’, with some citing “was / now” pricing tactics as the reason for parting with their cash.
Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:
“Our research has found substandard products at reduced prices this Black Friday, suggesting that you should take the sales with a pinch of salt to avoid ending up with a dud.
“If you want a high-performing product that will last you well, you need to look beyond the sales price and seek out independent, thorough test results.”
Top five Which? tips for shopping the Black Friday sales
- Don’t impulse buy – Work out what you need or want to buy and how much you’re prepared to spend before you start shopping in the sales.
- Don’t panic – Don’t worry about missing out on a good offer as our research has revealed that you could be better off waiting until after Black Friday anyway.
- Do your research – Look at the price on previous days, using sites such as PriceRunner, to make sure you really are getting a good deal.
- Don’t always trust reviews you find online – Our recent investigation revealed how shoppers are being misled by unscrupulous sellers using fake online product reviews.
- Use Which? – Experts will be scrutinising the Black Friday sales to pick the deals that really are worth a look. Check which.co.uk/blackfriday for a pick of the best bargains out there, as well as the duds to avoid.
Which? reviews are different from the rest – all the products we review and recommend are put through rigorous independent lab tests. Which? tests harder so you can buy smarter. Find out more by visiting: which.co.uk.
- All prices were accurate on Thursday 28th November 2019.
- The Graco Logico L Highback Booster car seat is approved to regulation R44.04, so is legal to be sold. This older regulation does not include a side impact crash test. To find out more about how Which? tests car seats, visit https://www.which.co.uk/reviews/child-car-seats/article/how-we-test-baby-car-seats
- Every product that Which? reviews is assessed using rigorous tests in independent laboratories, overseen by qualified and experienced experts. This ensures products are tested fairly, impartially and consistently, so that it can continually offer the best advice to consumers.
- Which? test scores are based only on product performance, and are not influenced by the price of the product.