Revealed: Which? ‘dud deals’ to avoid on Black Friday

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Bargain hunters are being warned to avoid a rogues’ gallery of poor quality products sold at discount prices by major retailers this Black Friday, following an investigation by Which?

Each year the consumer watchdog puts thousands of products through tough and independent laboratory tests to separate the best from the rest. When it uncovers products that fail to perform, it rates them as Don’t Buys.

Don’t Buy status means a product should be avoided, and Which? is warning shoppers this Black Friday to steer clear of these items – no matter how enticing the discount – which are available on the websites of major retailers including Amazon, AO.com, Currys PC World, and John Lewis.  

The dud deals include a stair gate that failed a key safety test, a tepid toaster and a vacuum cleaner that fails to do the dirty work.

The Russell Hobbs Luna 23221 2 Slice Toaster, available at AO.com for £29, is a kitchen appliance that is not worth spending your money on, claims Which?. It produces pale and uneven toast, with a mixture of brown and under-done areas. What’s more, the slider is stiff and hard to move, making it difficult to change the setting if you are unhappy with the depth of colour achieved.

Shoppers are also being warned to shun the Bush 60185FFWTD fridge freezer. Although it is being offered at an attractive price of £290 at Argos, Which? tests show the fridge is very slow to cool freshly-added items down to a safe temperature, giving heat-loving bacteria more time to thrive.

On top of that, the temperature stability is worrying too. It fluctuates by several degrees as a kitchen gets warmer on a hot day or cooler on a cold one.

The Hisense 65A7100FTUK LED TV, being sold for £499 at Currys PC World, has the worst picture quality Which? has seen on a 65-inch TV for years. The picture judders during motion and otherwise it appears gloomy and drab, while the sound was found to be dismal.

Which? is again warning customers to avoid the Beko VCS5125AB vacuum cleaner after doing so last Black Friday. This year it is being sold for £69 at AO.com – which is £4 more than it was being sold for on the site last year, making it an even worse deal.

The vacuum cleaner is not only cumbersome, but the filter did a poor job of trapping small particles when tested. This means that tiny pollen particles and dust mites it picks up will escape back into the room instead of being locked away inside the filter.

Also still found on sale this year is the Marshall Major III wireless Bluetooth headphones, available for £49 at Currys PC World. Despite a reduction in price since last year, Which? wouldn’t recommend them even if they were being given away.

Despite the headphones looking the part, testers found the sound quality doesn’t match up. To make matters worse, they were judged to be uncomfortable, and there is also a delay when using the control system.

As well as flagging the problems with these products, Which? is advising shoppers to do their research to assess whether the price and quality of the product they are considering makes it the right deal for them.

Says Natalie Hitchins, Which? Head of Home Products and Services:

“We’ve found a host of poor quality products for sale this Black Friday, so don’t dive straight in when you spot what looks like a tempting deal or you could end up with a dud.

“Save money and time by steering clear of these Don’t Buy products. To nab a quality product that will last the test of time, look beyond the special offer and check out independent, thorough test results.”

Chris Price
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