Black Friday sales: seven top tips

Posted on October 25, 2023
Posted by Marion Kennedy

Black FridayBlack Friday is coming up on 24 November, followed by Cyber Monday on 27 November. These sales are a great opportunity to promote your brand and increase revenue, but it’s important to stay on the right side of the law and avoid misleading customers during your advertising campaign. Otherwise you may incur fines and other penalties from the Advertising Standards Authority (‘ASA’) or Competition and Markets Authority (‘CMA’), as well as increase your risk of negative publicity and unfavourable customer reviews. 

When determining whether your Black Friday ads are misleading, the ASA will look at the context and overall impression of the ad, and its effect on consumers. Even if you didn’t intend to mislead customers, the ASA may find that the overall effect was misleading. To avoid this, it’s important to include all key information in a clear way. 

To help you keep your ads compliant, we’ve set out seven top tips for avoiding a black mark against your name this year. 

1. Make it clear which products your Black Friday sale applies to

You must clearly describe which products your sale applies to, as well as the start and end dates for any promotions. For example, if you are providing 30% off a certain brand of appliance, you must make it clear that the sale only applies to that particular brand and/or model. 

2. ‘Everything’ must mean everything

If you describe your sale as ‘Up to 50% off everything’, everything you sell must be discounted and a significant proportion should be discounted by 50%. 

3. Don’t increase prices artificially before your sale starts

If you’re claiming that an item was a certain higher price before your Black Friday sale starts, you must be able to show that the higher price was your regular selling price over a reasonable period of time. If an item was already on sale immediately before your Black Friday sale starts, you’ll need to compare your Black Friday price to that discounted price. 

If you’re comparing your Black Friday price to a Recommended Retail Price (RRP), you must be able to prove that the product was generally sold by you and your competitors at (or around) the RRP.

4. Consider availability of stock when making Black Friday promotions

Think about the volume of discounted stock you’ll reasonably expect to sell during your Black Friday sale. If you think it’s likely that demand will be higher than supply, state in your ad that ‘stocks are limited’.

You should make any geographical or age restrictions clear, and if you can no longer fulfil orders you’ll need to remove or change your advertising and inform customers quickly. 

5. Be upfront about significant terms and conditions

Make sure significant terms and conditions aren’t hidden in your fine print. For example, terms about the end date of the sale, what products are included in the sale, and any geographical or age restrictions should be made clear in the initial ad. 

If space or time for your ad is very limited, you should include as much information about significant conditions as possible in the main ad. You should also include an easily accessible link to the additional terms and conditions. The ASA doesn’t consider space on your own email marketing or website to be limited, so make sure all significant terms are in the original email or on the same page of the website as your ad.

6. Don’t exaggerate Black Friday discounts

Be careful when using claims of ‘up to’ or ‘from’. For example, if you’re claiming to provide discounts of ‘up to 70% off’, your sale is likely to be misleading if only the cheapest items are discounted by 70%, or if only a small number are discounted by 70%. 

7. Be wary of price matching 

Don’t mix up ‘Lowest prices guaranteed’ (which means you have checked that products can’t be bought cheaper elsewhere) and ‘Lowest prices guarantee’ (which means you will beat lower prices when informed of them).

Additionally, if you claim your product is at its ‘best price’ or ‘lowest price’, you must be able to beat (not just match) competitors’ pricing. If you match but don’t beat competitors’ prices, make that clear in your ad.

If in doubt, you can contact the ASA who will give free advice on whether a particular ad may be misleading. Our Q&A also includes more guidance on how to make sure your advertising, labelling and pricing follows the law. 

The content in this article is up to date at the date of publishing. The information provided is intended only for information purposes, and is not for the purpose of providing legal advice. Sparqa Legal’s Terms of Use apply.