SHOPPERS are gearing up for Amazon’s annual sales event next week and you can get prepared now so you are ready to bag a bargain.
Prime Day starts on Monday June 21 and runs until Tuesday June 22 but taking some steps now can ensure you are shopping safely and getting the best deals.
The online retail giant is set to slash pricing on millions of products for Amazon Prime Day.
Deal hunters can usually access deals from household brands such as Nintendo, Samsung and Sony as well as Amazon products such as Kindles and Alexa devices.
You may be able to pick up a discounted TV to watch the Euros or new clothes for when the warm weather returns.
There are likely to be attractive discounts but not all offers will be the most competitive so it is still worth shopping around.
How to protect yourself while online shopping
- GUT FEELING: Stick to popular retailers such as Amazon, Currys and Argos.
If you are looking at less well known sites, trust your instinct. Do not shop anywhere that looks unprofessional, has odd pop-ups or is selling items at prices that seem too good to be true.
- FAKE NEWS: Do not reveal any unnecessary personal information. All you need to give is your name, address and payment details.
Avoid clicking on links on emails. Phishing scams can stem from messages that seem legitimate, but send you to bogus sites that collect information to steal your identity.
Instead, type the URL directly into the search bar.
- NOT SO SMART: Use your computer instead of your mobile. Most phones do not have anti-virus software, and it is harder to tell whether shortened URLs used on social media are legitimate.
Also, wait until you are home and on a password-protected wifi network as public hotspots do not protect your data. Regularly update your browser to boost your security.
- HACKED OFF: Using the same password for every retailer you sign up for may seem like the easy option but it makes hackers’ job easy.
Use complicated passwords, make them different for each site and change them every few months.
- ADDRESS IT: Check that the website you are using has HTTPS in the URL, as the “S” indicates that the way your information is being sent is secure. Another sign of a secure site is a small padlock on the screen.
You should also watch out for scams.
Here is how to ensure you are bagging a bargain this Prime Day.
1. Sign up to Amazon Prime
Unsurprisingly, you need to be an Amazon Prime member to access the deals on offer during this annual sales event.
Prime membership costs £79 per year or £7.99 a month. It’s cheaper to buy annually but you’ll have to pay in one go.
It gives you access to free delivery and music and TV streaming services.
But if you don’t think you will use these regularly, it may be worth signing up for a 30-day free trial to take advantage of Prime Day and then cancel before the end of the period.
Set a reminder so you don’t forget to end your trial or you will be charged.
2. Compare prices
Have an idea of what you want to buy so you can quickly assess if you are getting a good deal.
Don’t just buy for the sake of it, especially if a price seems steep.
An item may be better value elsewhere or even at a different time of year.
Check how much the same or similar item is elsewhere using Google Shopping.
3. Look at reviews to help decide if a product is worth it
A product review can give you an indication of how good or useful a product was for a customer so you can decide if it is worth buying.
Some may post pictures of the product or just write their experience of it and give a star rating.
Look out for red flags though such as if lots of reviews were written on the same day or where there is unnatural language as these could be fake.
4. Watch out for scams
There are plenty of decent discounts on offer during Prime Day but this has also encouraged scammers to try to take advantage of shoppers.
They may list items with fake reviews that either will be poor quality or won’t arrive at all.
How to get cashback every time you shop
NOT using a cashback site or app means you are missing out every time you shop. Here are full-time bargain hunter Collette Jones’ best tips.
- Check out welcome offers: Cashback sites have amazing freebies for new customers, such as a takeaway from Just Eat or a Benefit beauty product
- Look for cashback on everything: You can claim on things such as MOTs, insurance, train tickets and holidays
- Save money at the supermarket: It’s a good idea to download apps Shopmium, Check-outSmart, Quidco ClickSnap, GreenJinn and TopCashback’s Snap and Save. Check out what is available, pick it up in-store and upload a photo of the receipt to get your cashback
- Combine cashback offers with promotions: Double savings and maximise cashback by matching third-party offers from cashback sites with in-store and online promotions. You can’t always use discount codes with cashback, but you can take advantage of sales and offers such as free gifts
- Download cashback notifiers: The website Honey has a great notifier. It sits in your browser, pops up when you click on a website that offers cashback and searches voucher codes
Consumer watchdog Which? has regularly warned about fake reviews
Use FakeSpot to check whether the item is genuine or not.
The site scans the reviews to see if they’re “reliable” or not so you can decide whether you trust the seller.
5. Shop now to save time
Amazon often runs lightning flash sales during Prime Day that can last for two to six hours.
Make sure you don’t miss these by pre-loading your basket with items you are interested in.
You can then wait to see if the price drops and be ready to complete your purchase.
6. See if you’re eligible for any cashback
You can get paid to shop by using cashback websites such as Quidco and Topcashback.
Check if there are any offers through these cashback websites first.
For example, Quidco is currently offering 2% cashback on Amazon Echo or Fire TV device purchases.
You will then need to sign up and visit the Amazon website through Quidco to get this offer.
7. Know your rights
Shoppers are entitled under the Consumer Rights Act to a full refund in the first 30 days after purchase if an item is faulty, damaged, not fit for purpose or not as described.
This gives you protection if you are unhappy with an item you order so keep hold of your email receipt.
You can also get extra protection by paying with a credit card.
This lets you apply for a refund from your credit card provider on purchases worth between £100 and £30,000.
Amazon is already offering early deals on Echo devices and other products.
The website isn’t the only place to find deals. Lidl has slashed the price of baby products by 20%.
Meanwhile, Aldi has savings of up to 40% in its Specialbuys sale.