By Lise Alves, Senior Contributing Reporter
SÃO PAULO, BRAZIL – Brazilians do not celebrate Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November, but they have in the last few years embraced an U.S. custom that comes along with the holiday: Black Friday. But as hundreds of brand names, stores and online retailers advertise super sales and discounts for this Friday and weekend, consumer protection groups, warn of possible misleading advertisements during the period.
“An impulse purchase can turn out to be a major headache for consumers,” says Marcele Soares, coordinator of the Procon-SP Foundation. According to Soares many retailers hike up the prices of their products a few weeks before the sale so that they can say they are giving consumers bigger discounts.
Procon officials suggest that consumer do a price survey before purchasing the product on Black Friday. ” Search a week or two before, by the time Black Friday comes, compare if there really was a price cut,” recommends the entity.
Another consumer group, Proteste, points out that Black Friday in Brazil has increasingly been remembered for the large number of frauds, especially online purchases. “Although rebates always look attractive, it’s important to be careful not to fall for tricks,” warns the group’s webpage.
Even the Brazilian government this year has sent out an alert. The National Consumer Department of the Ministry of Justice and Citizenship is making available on line a booklet with ten tips for consumers to take advantage of promotions safely.
A survey released last week by the Credit Protection Service (SPC Brasil) and the National Confederation of Shopkeepers (CNDL), shows that 69 percent of Brazilian consumers plan to make purchases on Black Friday but that 28 percent of these consumers plan to buy only if prices are really attractive.