This Black Friday: don’t be tricked into debt, rent-to-own instead


It’s been a year of South Africans really feeling the financial pinch, so it’s no surprise that many retailers are predicting this year’s Black Friday on 29 November to break the records set in previous years, as cash‐strapped consumers scramble for bargains.

And that’s quite a record to break. According to BankservAfrica, an automated clearing house which processes trillions of rands worth of transactions every year, the impact of Black Friday is so significant that it actually helped to grow the South African economy in November 2018 during the previous Black Friday event.

But, warn the experts, we’re still in an economic crunch. Astute buyers will only be purchasing the things they really need, taking advantage of lower prices to buy the items they cannot afford at the usual price.

“Black Friday should be a wonderful opportunity, in particular, to purchase big ticket household goods like furniture, appliances and electronics that you really need,” says Aimee Miller, marketing and sales manager for online retailer, Teljoy, which sells these types of household items on a rent-to‐own model.

“What it should not be, is an excuse to buy non‐essential things just because they’re cheaper.”

Miller also recommends that consumers should shop around for the best long‐term deals for their pockets, and not just get caught up in the one‐day shopping frenzy that accompanies Black Friday: “Buying unnecessary things simply because they are cheaper can still set you back seriously financially, especially during tough times.”

Black Friday started in the USA back in the 1960s and is celebrated on the Friday after Thanksgiving Day. Originally renowned for marking the beginning of the Christmas shopping season, it’s become the busiest shopping day of the year in the USA.

Local South African retailers in turn adopted the American tradition a few years ago, and it’s now become the biggest online shopping day in South Africa, with a number of online retailers such as Teljoy, Takealot and Makro online actually extending their deals across multiple days. Teljoy’s deals, for example, run from the official Friday for Black Friday, 29 November, till Cyber Monday.

A survey conducted by MyBroadband in 2018 revealed that items such as electronics and television sets are among the most popular items to be sold on Black Fridays.

“But again,” notes Miller, “these are items that can date quickly, with technology evolving very fast these days. Consumers need to be aware that they may be purchasing something that is ‘end of the line’. They could get caught up in the Black Friday excitement, and find they’ve signed a hire purchase agreement on a piece of equipment that may soon be replaced by a newer model.”

They could also then find themselves stuck with both the item and an expensive hire purchase agreement, with the final costs attached to financing the item costing them substantially more than what the Black Friday special seemed to offer.

Teljoy avoids this by offering goods on the rent‐to‐own model, explains Miller: “We certainly also offer Black Friday deals, but our contracts only run month‐to‐month, and consumers can upgrade, downgrade or even cancel an agreement at any time. And there are no finance charges.”

The company’s business model encourages consumers to maintain good financial health through its promotion of good financial habits. One such is how this model ensures that Teljoy customers buy within their means.

“The last thing any consumer wants to do is wake up the morning after an impulse buy and regret both the item they bought as well as the money they may have spent on it which they cannot afford.”

“Black Friday should still enable you to leave your own personal financial situation in the black, and not deep in the red, with accumulated debt spent on unnecessary items.  When things are on sale, you need to be at your smartest; purchase wisely not just for today but for tomorrow.”