Black Friday buyer’s guide: how to find great deals to reduce your bills

Black Friday online shopping on a laptop

Black Friday takes place on Friday 24 November this year. Retailers promote deals and discounts to get tills ringing but it’s worth doing your sums first to avoid being out of pocket.

Given that most of us have less cash to spend, stores may need to work harder. This could pave the way for bigger discounts. Retailers including Currys, Amazon, Argos, Virgin Media and Vodafone are all promising Black Friday offers. Many retailers have already kicked off their deals as Black Friday spreads over a number of weeks now, rather than just being focused on one day as it was in the past. 

From Monday, we’ll be regularly updating our best broadband deals page and our best SIMs deals page with our pick of the best Black Friday deals. You can also subscribe to our newsletter to find out about the latest deals and money-saving tips. You can also follow us on Facebook and Twitter.

Black Friday broadband deals  

If you’re nearing the end of your broadband or mobile contract, or are already out of contract – as millions are – Black Friday could be the perfect time to nab a new deal. 

Big names, such as Sky, BT, EE, Virgin Media, Vodafone and Plusnet will all be offering special offers in the run-up to Black Friday. And we’ll keep our best broadband deals page updated with the latest offers.

Catherine Hiley, deputy editor at Look After My Bills, said: “Black Friday can be a great time to do your Christmas shopping if you find a discount on something you were intending to buy anyway. But there are also some strong broadband deals, which could save you money over the course of your contract.

“This year, we’re expecting to see a range of offers that can save people money. These might include discounted prices or faster speeds, vouchers or other extras added in for no additional cost. So if you’re out of contract with your broadband provider, now is a good time to shop around.

“However, it’s important to do your research before Black Friday, so you know if a headline-grabbing deal is as good as it seems. After all, a deal with a voucher might sound tempting. But if it has a higher monthly cost, it’s likely to end up being more expensive overall.”

Remember that not all advertised broadband deals may be available where you are. So be sure to input your postcode to get the most accurate results. You can also use the Ofcom broadband coverage checker tool to check.

Social broadband tariffs, where prices start from under £15 for 50MB, may be excluded from Black Friday deals. But depending on your circumstances, they could still work out to be better value for you if you qualify.

It’s also worth checking Black Friday deals compared with buying through cashback sites. Right now on TopCashback Sky is offering up to £130 on a broadband and TV package and £115 with a BT broadband.

You can compare broadband deals to find a deal to suit your needs.

Black Friday SIM only and mobile phone deals 

Black Friday is often a great time to nab a new mobile phone or SIM only deal Because it falls a couple of months after the latest iPhone launch, you might get lucky and find a great deal on a new iPhone 15.

But you’re far more likely to find great deals on Apple’s older iPhones, such as the iPhone 14 or the iPhone 13. These phones have already come down in price since the launch of the iPhone 15. So we’re hoping there will be some excellent contract and SIM free deals on iPhones. Or if Android is more your thing, you can also find deals on the latest Samsung Galaxy S23.

Catherine added: “This Black Friday, we’re expecting to see some great deals on SIM only contracts. If you’re happy with your current handset and out of contract, you could get a lot more data for a lot less money by signing up for a Black Friday SIM. Just be sure you don’t pay for a lot more data than you need.

“And if you want to upgrade your mobile phone, there should be some great-value deals on iPhones this Black Friday, as well as Samsung and Google. Although the iPhone 15 has only been out for a couple of months, we’re already seeing some strong deals on Apple’s latest model. And if you want to save money on your new handset, you might want to opt for a slightly older iPhone, like last year’s iPhone 14 or the cheaper iPhone SE.”

The thing to look at when comparing mobile phone contracts is the overall cost you’ll be paying for the duration of your plan. Contract deals with larger upfront costs, for example, may end up costing less money overall. And if you find a plan with enough data for you and doesn’t cost much more over the length of your contract than the outright cost of the handset, it’s a good deal.

As well as cheaper deals, you’re also likely to see Black Friday sweeteners on mobile phone contracts, such as extra data, free headphones or a free TV subscription. These can be great if you’re a heavy data user or you subscribe to several TV streaming services.

Why it pays to check Black Friday deals before splashing out 

Research shows that plenty of Black Friday deals in previous years could have been bought cheaper at other times of the year. So, while there are some genuinely good deals around Black Friday, you have to make sure you’re definitely getting a bargain by doing your research beforehand.

Black Friday is also just weeks away from the start of any pre-Christmas sales and the traditional Boxing Day sales. Which typically start online on Christmas Day.  

Depending on what you want, if you can hold your nerve, you may be able to beat Black Friday prices. However on the downside, you also risk missing out if the item sells out or a deal is pulled.

Check prices now so you know if that Black Friday deal really is a bargain. You can use comparison sites such as PriceRunner and Kelkoo as well as Amazon’s own price tracker. You can also set up price alerts on sites like Idealo, which means you’ll get an email or text if the price drops.

Watch for Black Friday scammers 

It’s not just stores that want our cash on Black Friday. According to Consumer Expert, Martyn James, scammers will be vying for our money too.

“There are a number of AI generated shops on social media – on Twitter in particular – that are ‘scraping’ photos and images of the internet, using them as ‘meme’ posts to lure you in, then tricking you into handing over cash. So the big warning this year is to watch out for any new firm on social media adverts. Assume they are all dodgy and always look for where they are based, contact details and Trustpilot reviews”.

However cheap the price, it’s worth sticking to established retailers for Black Friday deals. And always making sure you pay through approved methods like credit and debit card and PayPal, never bank transfer.

Your rights on Black Friday purchases

If you snap up a Black Friday offer and regret it, your usual consumer rights apply.  

This means you don’t have the automatic right to a refund on items bought from bricks and mortar stores, simply because you’ve changed your mind. If, however, the item turns out to be faulty, then you can expect a full refund within the first 30 days under the Consumer Rights Act.

If you’ve been given a discount because of a specified fault on the item, say you buy a coffee machine with a scratch on it or an ex-display TV, then you can’t return it for a refund because of the specified fault. In the event it develops another fault, say it just won’t work, you can return the item with proof of purchase and ask for a full refund.

With online purchases, you have more rights than buying in stores as you can return items simply because you change your mind.

Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations, you have 14 days from the day after you receive your goods to tell the retailer you’ll be returning it, and then another 14 to send it back. You may however be liable for return postage or courier costs, unless the item is faulty. So check with the retailer first. There are a few exclusions to this including personalised items, food and made to measure items. 

And when it comes to signing up for broadband or mobile services, you’ve usually got a 14-day ‘cooling off’ period when you can cancel penalty free.