What’s worse than spending over a thousand dollars on an RTX 4090 GPU? Spending thousands on a GPU, only to be an empty box, save some useless pesos.
That’s the situation a Newegg customer apparently found himself in after sharing an image of an Nvidia GeForce RTX 4090 box that was supposed to contain one of the best graphics cards in the world, but does contain a few bits of metal.
Fortunately, in the answers to your Reddit post (opens in new tab)looks like the unlucky customer managed to get their money back – and hopefully they can get their hands on a real RTX 4090 soon – but the tale reminds us that we always need to be careful when shopping online.
And that advice becomes especially important as we head into November and Black Friday approaches.
Analysis: How to avoid scams this Black Friday
As we approach the Black Friday sales season, you should expect to see the internet awash with Black Friday discounts and offers encouraging you to shop. But among these real bargains there will be a lot of duds.
We’re not just talking about situations like the example above – where a user is apparently tricked into buying one item because they believe it will be another – but discounts that aren’t what they appear to be and offers on items you’re best off avoiding.
So what are some best practices you can follow to avoid Black Friday purchases you regret?
For starters, you only want to shop from reputable websites that you recognize and that offer some sort of buyer protection. If you’re browsing an online store you’ve never heard of, check it out. Searching on Google “[Site name] legit” should provide details about this on sites like Trustpilot. You’ll likely also see links to Reddit posts celebrating or bemoaning the site, depending on whether it’s a hidden gem or a hoax. If after your research you’re still not 100% sure, buy elsewhere – the potential extra savings aren’t worth the risk.
You also want to make sure you’re buying from the supplier themselves, not a third party who is using the site as a marketplace. Newegg, Amazon, and Walmart are some of the stores that allow others to sell items on their websites, and while many third-party sellers are fine, there are some bad actors that can slip through the cracks.
Once the site passes your checks, it’s time for you to check the quality of the desired product as well. Unfortunately, despite their best efforts, online stores like Amazon are inundated with fake reviews. While you can use our guide on how to spot fake Amazon reviews to try and separate real reviews from mass-produced lies, we also recommend re-searching the item and trying to find independent reviews if you can.
If you’re looking to buy a Black Friday gaming laptop contract, a Black Friday OLED TV contract, a Black Friday air fryer deal, or even a Black Friday coffee machine deal, then most likely the model you’re interested in was reviewed by a publication like . We are not encouraged to make a product look better or worse than it actually is, so if you want an opinion you can trust on a gadget you like, read our review and decide if it’s something you want to buy.
Finally, before clicking buy, make sure the discount is as good as it sounds. Before Black Friday, it’s not uncommon for brands to raise their prices to make discounts seem bigger than they actually are. Plus, even if a deal is good, stores may have previously sold it for less — which could mean a better discount will drop closer to Black Friday. When weighing a deal, try to look at an item’s price history to make sure this is really the best price.
Unfortunately, we can’t guarantee you’ll never get caught if you follow these rules, but this guide should help you avoid some of the pitfalls that Black Friday can bring.