Black Friday 'deals' often no better than sales throughout the year

Most ads have last year's products at same price

TAMPA - Just as the thrill of scoring red hot bargains on Black Friday starts to build, a consumer finance website in San Francisco throws cold water on our money saving dreams.

"Many many items in the ads are really just run of the mill sales" says retail analyst Matthew Ong of the consumer finance site, NerdWallet.

Ong poured over 25 store ad flyers  and found that a full  92 percent of this year's Black Friday ads have items that sold for the same price in 2012.

"This is telling consumers that even if something is labeled as a door buster, it might have seen the same price or lower price throughout the year already" said Ong.

Ong found that a jacket billed as a door buster special by Macy's  was selling for the same price during a recent Veteran's Day sale.

He found a Target flyer advertising a Kitchenaid blender for $199 even though the same item could be had at the same retailer for $16 less a few weeks earlier.
 
Nerdwallet has three other warnings for Black Friday shoppers.

-Some prices are compared to a quote "original" price that's inflated or out of date.
 
-Beware of prices that apply only after you go to the trouble of mailing in a rebate form after your purchase. Read the fine print.

-And then there are look-alike products, often electronics that are manufactured especially for sales. Ong says you won't find them on the manufacturers website.

"They often have less features  so because of that, they're going to be of lower quality than consumers expect."
 
But if can't resist  the thrill of the hunt even NerdWallet says go for it. Just be ready to rumble.

"There are some great deals out there, but they mostly come in limited quantities and they're going to be pretty picked over and fought over."

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