Holidays 2017

November 23, 2017 2:16 pm
Updated: November 23, 2017 3:40 pm

Are Amazon’s Black Friday deals as good as they seem? We checked

Most Canadians plan to do at least some of their Christmas shopping on Amazon this year, according to a recent survey.

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Canadians are ready to jump on Black Friday sales. And while they plan to do only a third of their Christmas shopping online, a whopping 77 per cent of them are counting on doing at least some of that spending on Amazon, according to a recent survey by PwC.

“For the online shopper, Amazon is by far the top choice this holiday season,” the consultancy noted.

And Black Friday deals have been available on Amazon.ca since Nov. 17.

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“Customers will find deals on items including toys, electronics, fashion, kitchen, sporting goods, and more,” the company announced in a recent press release.

But research by Global News suggests customers might not always be getting as deep a discount as they think.

For example, browsing through the deals listed on Amazon.ca/blackfriday on Monday, Nov. 20, we noticed a silver necklace advertised with a crossed-out price of $119.99 and offered at a deal price of $23.87.

“You save: CDN $96.12 (80 per cent),” read the deal.

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But according to the site CamelCamelCamel, which claims to track the price history of Amazon products, the necklace was never for sale through Amazon.ca for more than $39.99. Indeed, its average sale price, according to the website, was $33.91.

According to the information available on Amazon.ca, the item is sold by a third-party seller called J. Rosée, which is based in Shenzhen, China, according to information on its website. The retailer did not return an email asking for comment, and we were unable to reach the company by phone.

Reached by Global News about this and other Black Friday deals available on Amazon.ca on Nov. 20, Amazon offered the following statement: “Our customers come to Amazon and expect to find low prices and incredible deals, and we work hard to provide both throughout the holidays, and all year long. Customers care about how the prices they are paying compare to other retailers. We validate list prices against actual prices recently found across Amazon and other retailers.”

CamelCamelCamel says it only tracks the prices of products sold by Amazon. It is possible that the list price reflects prices available through other retailers and platforms.

READ MORE: Not just Black Friday and Cyber Monday: The best days to save on gifts this holiday season

Although the necklace was still available for purchase on Amazon.ca on Nov. 23, the price history on CameCamelCamel currently shows no trace of the $23.87 price listed on Nov. 20.

WATCH: How much you should spend on Christmas gifts based on your income

Global News checked a few other items as well.

Also on Monday, the Amazon.ca/blackfriday page was advertising some diaper pail refills for a “deal” price of $19.49. The crossed-out list price was $24.99. Unlike in the case of the silver necklace, the item was listed as being sold by Amazon.ca.

According to CamelCamelCamel, the item often sells for less than $23 on Amazon.ca and is frequently available for around $20. The average price as sold by Amazon is currently indicated as $21.94.

As of  Nov. 23, Amazon was also advertising a toy called Go! Go! Smart Friends Secret Blossom Cottage by toymaker VTech for $14.97, with a crossed-out list price of $33. Amazon.ca was listed as the seller, and the ad read: “You save $18.03 (55 per cent).”

According to CamelCamelCamel, Amazon.ca only sold the item for $33 briefly in late November of 2016. Customers would have been able to buy it for $24.97 as late as Nov. 2 of this year, the website indicates.

For several items checked by Global News, the deals did offer the lowest price recorded by CamelCamelCamel or the lowest price since Black Friday or Cyber Monday of 2016.

Still, Canadians might want to do some research before loading up their digital shopping carts this year.

© 2017 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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