Cypriot consumers are reporting shady pricing practices ahead of Black Friday by shops, said the Commerce Ministry’s consumer protection service.
In comments to CyBC, the service’s spokesperson Anastasia Stylianidou said they had received dozens of consumer complaints of sudden price fluctuations and misleading advertising.
Stylianidou explained that consumers were reporting that some stores had pushed up prices of certain products some days before Black Friday, only to, as it is understood, bring them back down.
She said the service has logged the store names and will conduct on-the-spot inspections on Friday.
If found guilty of misleading consumers, shop owners will face hefty fines.
The Cyprus Consumers’ Association’s legal advisor Virginia Christou said it had received complaints involving 20 stores.
Christou said that this was not the first year they have received complaints over Black Friday deals.
“In previous years, we have received complaints about ‘sales’ price tags on commodities that essentially did not differ from those they were carrying a week earlier.”
It is recommended that consumers conduct their research beforehand, especially on more expensive products, and be informed about the store’s return policy.
Christou advised consumers only to buy what they need and avoid reckless spending, especially if they are encouraged to buy an item because it’s on sale.
Consumers were reminded to note the return policies in place as they can differ between retailers.
In comments to the Financial Mirror, the general secretary of the Cyprus Retailers’ Association, Marios Antoniou, said businesses are advised on how to conduct sales campaigns.
“Based on the Consumer Protection (Amendment) Law of 2022, businesses must maintain the product’s price for at least 30 days before adjusting the price for a sales campaign,” said Antoniou.
He confirmed that he had talked to the Consumer Protection Service, who said that only a few complaints had been filed over shady pricing tactics.
“In any case, as an association, we urge our members to stay away from such practices as they only harm the market and the trustworthiness of retailers and the credibility of sales campaigns.”
“It’s better, to be honest with customers.
“It’s best to say you have a 20% discount on, and really offer a 20% discount, rather than saying you are offering a 40% discount when you are offering 20% or 30%”.
Antoniou said that retailers are hyped over their Black Friday campaigns, hoping to see a healthy return based on the World Cup feel-good factor.
This year’s Black Friday falls on 25 November, coinciding with the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
“Electronic device stores are particularly optimistic about this year’s potential.
“Experience has shown that when there are big football matches or a tournament, sales of televisions increase steeply, so the timing this year is very favourable.
“This will be the first time the world cup coincides with Black Friday, and we are looking forward to seeing the outcome,” said Antoniou.
He said retailers expect the sales of tech gadgets to do particularly well, especially tablets, smartphones, and video gaming consoles.
“Last year, the gadget that saw its sales go through the roof was robot vacuum cleaners.
“This year, it will be electric scooters, as we have already seen sales increase in recent months”.