The Which? Sales survival guide

With the January sales just around the corner and so many tempting offers, it can be difficult to spot the real deals so here’s our advice on how, and when, to bag a bargain.

The Which? Squeezometer recently found that more than 10 million households are feeling the pinch, so it’s likely that many of us will be hunting for bargains in the sales. We’ve found the New Year sales can offer great deals on electrical items, particularly televisions, because TV manufacturers unveil new ranges in January so you could snap up a great deal on an older model.

But while there are tempting offers in January, it might not be the best time of the year to get the biggest bargain for all products.  We found that for cameras and tablet devices it’s best to wait until the Spring when shops drop their prices when new stock arrives.  For laptops, the best time to bag a bargain is in May or June when the latest models come out and prices are reduced on older models.

Here are a few of our top dos and don’ts to consider before hitting the shops:


  • Check prices online: In a recent Which? survey, 7 out of ten say they shop online for cheaper prices and greater choice.
  • Ask about extra charges: The price might not include the delivery of the product or installation so it is worth finding out how much the extras will add up to. If you don’t mind haggling you may even be able to get the extras for free.
  • Know your consumer rights: Visit the Which? website to get clued up


  • Be pressured into buying a product you don’t need: Do your research beforehand so you have a clear idea of what you want and your budget. Don’t be afraid to walk away if the price isn’t right for you.
  • Buy straight away: If you’re willing to wait instead of buying products as soon as they are released, you could save money as chances are that the price drop.
  • Be blinded by savings. Discounts on some products may be based on the original retail recommended price, even if they’ve never been sold at this price.


Which? executive director, Richard Lloyd, said:

“With household budgets squeezed, many people will be looking for bargains in the sales, so our advice is to do some research before you go to the shops to check the best prices.

“It might also be worth waiting until later in the year for a better deal on  electrical items when new models come out and the old ranges are reduced in price.”


But what if your bargain turns in to a bum deal?

Faulty goods can be returned, regardless of whether they were bought in the sale. Any retailer who states ‘no return on sale items’ is committing an offence and they can be prosecuted. If a retailer refuses to replace or refund faulty goods then you should write to them explaining that you were not aware of the fault when purchasing the goods and are entitled to a refund or replacement under the Sale of Goods Act. However, if you were informed of a fault prior to buying the item in the sale, then you will not be entitled to a refund or replacement.


Notes for editors

1.   Read more about the Which? Squeezometer here:

Press Release: , ,