Are Black Friday TVs Really a Scam?

Giannis Papanikos /

Televisions are always one of the hottest items when Black Friday sales roll around. Many people wait until the holiday season to buy a TV. The deals sometimes sound too good to be true, but is that actually the case?

“Black Friday Edition” TVs

As the popularity of Black Friday has risen to astronomical levels, retailers and manufacturers have had to go to more extreme lengths to compete. One way in which they do this is by manufacturing specific models for Black Friday.

This strategy can be used on a variety of products, but TVs are ripe for it, and it’s been going on for years. The idea is to produce a television that appears to be a certain model but is actually very slightly different. It will have a different model number, which is important (more on that later).

The differences are things that the average consumer probably won’t notice or care about. Examples include fewer HDMI ports, fewer local dimming zones, lower refresh rate, and sometimes the “trusted brand” on the TV isn’t even who manufactured the TV.

Since these TVs have their own unique model numbers, they don’t qualify for price-match guarantees. So even if the manufacturer hasn’t skimped on the specifications, you won’t be able to get it price-matched for a better deal anywhere else.

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How to Spot a Black Friday Edition TV


With all this in mind, you might be wondering how to spot these TV imposters. Unfortunately, you’re going to have to do some digging to make sure you’re getting a legitimately good deal.

As mentioned, the model numbers are what identify these TVs, but you won’t get any information from just looking at the string of numbers. However, there are a few dead giveaways you can look for before you head to the store or click “Buy.”

First, are there any user reviews listed for the TV on the retailer’s website? No reviews can be an indication that the TV was only just recently added to the website for Black Friday.

To dig a little deeper, find the model number on the retailer’s website and do a web search for it. There are a couple of things we can look for. First, are there any reviews for the TV outside of the retailer’s website? If it seems like the TV doesn’t exist anywhere else on the internet, that can be a bad sign.

We can take it a step further by doing a more focused search. Do a web search for the model number and include “before:2022-09-30” in your search. This will show results from only before the month of November. If there’s no evidence of the TV existing before then, it was probably made specifically for Black Friday.

Does It Matter?

Of course, this practice may not be a big deal to everyone. Getting a 65-inch TV for $250 might matter more than getting the best TV. If you just need a basic TV, the little details might not be as important to you.

The point is to know what you’re getting. Nobody wants to feel duped into buying a lower-quality TV than they thought. People tend not to buy TVs very often, so it’s important to make sure you get a good one. Ideally, it will be with you for a while.

At the end of the day, a little skepticism and research will go a long way in finding deals that are actually good deals.

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