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Black Friday: Shoppers warned as half of bargains 'cheaper at other times'

Shoppers on Oxford Street on Black Friday last year. Credit: PA

Black Friday shoppers have been advised to "do your research" after a watchdog found so-called deals last year were cheaper in the months before and after the day itself.

Consumer watchdog Which? found 49% of last year's deals were not the cheapest on the day, with only 8% being one-day only offers.

Black Friday falls on November 25 this year.

People queue in a shopping centre in Southampton on Black Friday, 2015. Credit: PA

The watchdog tracked 178 deals on 20 popular types of technology and home appliances in the three months leading up to the day, and two months afterwards.

Comparing the cost of products from Amazon, AO, Argos, Currys and John Lewis, they found one in ten (12%) were cheaper in the months leading up to Black Friday, with four in ten (38%) cheaper in the several weeks after.

Only 90 products were found to be cheaper on Black Friday.

Shoppers hunt for deals in Birmingham on Black Friday last year. Credit: PA

Which? said they believed Currys may have broken advertising rules in relation to "numerous" examples of offers that appeared the inflate the 'was' price - to make deals look more substantial than they were.

The watchdog's head of campaigns, Pete Moorey, said: "Shoppers might be surprised to learn that only half of Black Friday deals are actually cheapest on Black Friday.

"If you're thinking about starting your Christmas shopping around Black Friday, do your research as some 'deals' may not be all they're cracked up to be."

We are proud to offer our customers fantastic deals all year round, with prices that are truly transparent and backed by our price promise.

We fundamentally disagree with the approach taken by Which? in this report and comply fully with the government's Pricing Practices Guidance, displaying a clear date from when the 'was' price was taken, allowing customers to make a fully informed decision.

– Currys statement

Our never knowingly undersold commitment means that we will match our competitors' deals and offers for as long as they run.

We're looking forward to sharing our Black Friday deals with customers this year.

– John Lewis statement
A lady carries shopping bags on last year's Black Friday. Credit: PA

We offer customers thousands of great deals over the Black Friday period and work hard to ensure that all of our offers are fully compliant with the full range of regulations and guidance in pricing practice.

We certainly do not intend to mislead in anyway. We update our pricing frequently to ensure that we can offer our customers the best deals."

– Argos statement

Six of the eight products that Which? reviewed on Amazon.co.uk last year had our lowest price on Black Friday and, in response to customer feedback, we spread out great deals over several days.

This year, our Black Friday sale runs for 12 days from November 14 to November 25, featuring thousands of deals and millions of pounds worth of savings for customers.

– Amazon statement