As Canadians prepare for Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping, the Competition Bureau is warning bargain hunters to be watchful for a potential online scam called the “cancelled discount.”
The bureau says the cancelled discount is an advertising trend on their radar that involves multiple steps:
- a retailer advertises an item for a certain price online;
- the consumer buys it at that price;
- the retailer then contacts the consumer, indicating the item cannot be sold at that price and cancels the order;
- the item is still available for purchase, but at a higher price.
The Competition Bureau says in some circumstances, this practice can be considered an illegal “bait-and-switch,” where an advertised item is used to lure customers to a store, but the item is unavailable and the consumer is then pressured into buying a more high-priced product.
The Competition Bureau is urging consumers to keep all emails and credit card statements associated with any purchases that might be cancelled. They can also send a complaint to the bureau if they’ve been told an item can’t be sold as advertised, but is available at a higher price.
The bureau is also advising shoppers to regularly check their bank statements to guard against any surprise charges.