A dangerous child car seat, a poor quality TV, a dodgy laptop and a washing machine that fails to get rid of stains are among the flawed products being sold at discount prices this Black Friday, Which? has found.
Each year the consumer champion puts thousands of products through tough and independent laboratory tests to separate the best from the worst. Those that completely fail to perform and should be avoided at all costs are labelled as a Which? Don’t Buy.
Which? is warning consumers about the Don’t Buy duds on sale at major retailers including Amazon, AO.com, Currys, John Lewis and Littlewoods, to help them avoid being saddled with an inferior product after this year’s Black Friday sales.
Which? found a Don’t Buy child car seat discounted on Amazon. The Graco Junior Maxi child car seat (listed at £26 and a ‘’#1 Best Seller’) is legal to sell in the UK but was found to offer little side-impact protection in Which? testing, meaning that a child could be exposed to the risk of serious injury.
Which?’s experts said the only thing worth praising about the Hisense 55A7100FTUK TV which is currently on sale at £419.99 discounted from the RRP of £559 at Littlewoods, is the remote. The picture quality of this 55-inch TV is shockingly bad, described as ‘one of the worst 4K pictures we’ve seen’ by testers, the sound quality was equally shoddy and described as ‘paper-thin and puny’.
Also on the Which? list is the Lenovo IdeaPad 3 14-inch 14DA05 which features on the Lenovo website as a Black Friday deal down to £269.99. Screen, keyboard, touchpad, sound and battery life were all slammed for being below par in Which? testing.
The Shark WandVac WV361UK was promoted as a Black Friday deal at AO.com and John Lewis at £169, down £30, but Which? experts found it is terrible at cleaning carpets, only removing around a quarter of dust. This vacuum is also completely hopeless at picking up pet hair and limits cleaning time to 12 minutes, which is much less than most other cordless models.
At Currys, Which? saw another of its Don’t Buys offered at a discount, this time in the form of the Haier HW90-B14959S8U1 washing machine which was on sale at £409.99 instead of £450. Not only did Which? testing identify that this model is not economical when it comes to water usage, it was also ineffective at getting rid of stains on cotton clothes – a fundamental flaw for a washing machine.
Also at Curry’s, a fridge freezer with no chill factor – the Kenwood KMD70X19 now £579.99 reduced from £629, is also a Which? Don’t Buy. Which? experts found it to be too slow to cool, with an inadequate freezer. If food is not kept in tip top condition, it can spoil faster and can contribute to the mountain of unnecessary food waste.
‘Headache-inducing earbuds’ were also found discounted in this year’s sales, the Sony WF-XB700 headphones were reduced from £69.99 to £64.99 on Amazon. Which? experts found the sound to be ‘tinny’ and ‘dull’.
While the Happy Beds Super Ortho Spring Reflex Foam double mattress was not quite awful enough to be a Don’t Buy, Which? experts still consider it to be a poor choice for shoppers as it was found to ‘sag dramatically’ in durability tests meaning it is unlikely to stand the test of time. This mattress was reduced to £69.99 down from £289.99.
The findings come after Which? revealed nine in 10 Black Friday ‘deals’ are the same price or cheaper in the six months ahead of the big event
Which? is warning shoppers not to rush into any purchases without doing a little research first to make sure they are getting a quality product at a bargain price.
Lisa Barber, Which? Head of Home Products and Services, said:
“A product that doesn’t do what it is supposed to is going to be a terrible deal, no matter how cheap it is – and this year we’ve found some absolute duds in the Black Friday sales.
“If you’re in the market for a quality product at a price that offers outstanding value for money, there are deals to be had, but we suggest you steer clear of these Don’t Buys and seek out reliable reviews and independent testing that you can trust.”
Notes to editors:
- Which? recommendations and reviews are written by experts after putting products through tough, independent laboratory tests. These help to separate the best from the rest — and help shoppers avoid what Which? calls a Don’t Buy.
- All prices were accurate on Friday 19 November or Tuesday 23 November.
- The Junior Maxi has been approved under older car seat regulations and is legal to be sold on the UK market. However, a side-impact crash isn’t part of the testing requirements for seats approved to R44. Which? has been testing car seats with two specially designed crash test scenarios, including a side-impact crash test, for many years. Despite being fairly easy to use and offering average front-crash protection, the side protection of this seat is so poor with or without the high-back on, it automatically becomes a Which? Don’t Buy.
- For the Which? Insiders Guide into this year’s Black Friday visit- www.which.co.uk/news/black-friday
Which?’s top tips for shopping in 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.
Be careful with reviews – It’s always worth checking product reviews before choosing what to buy, but make sure you use a trusted source such as Which? to avoid being caught out by fake reviews.
Don’t be afraid to hit the shops – As long as you have a data connection on your smartphone you can be in Currys and on Amazon at the same time. Having access to websites means you can reference prices to make sure you’re getting the best deal in store.
Know your rights – For those buying in store, check the returns policy as these vary. Buying online gives consumers more rights: depending on the goods they buy, they usually have 14 days from the date of delivery to cancel an order and a further 14 days to return it for a refund.
Use Which? – Experts will be scrutinising the Black Friday sales to pick the deals that really are worth a look. Check Which? for a pick of the best bargains out there, as well as the duds to avoid.
Which? is the UK’s consumer champion, here to make life simpler, fairer and safer for everyone. Our research gets to the heart of consumer issues, our advice is impartial, and our rigorous product tests lead to expert recommendations. We’re the independent consumer voice that influences politicians and lawmakers, investigates, holds businesses to account and makes change happen. As an organisation we’re not for profit and all for making consumers more powerful.
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