Don't get scammed on Prime Day: Here's how to win the epic two-day shopping event

·7-min read

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Amazon box for Prime Day. (Photo: Getty Images)
Prime Day is almost here! Here's how to get the most out of it. (Photo: Getty Images)

As you may have heard, Prime Day is near (it's on July 12 and 13!). But if you’re looking to save big, you’re going to need a clear plan of attack to get the most out of the epic two-day shopping event.

Luckily, you're well on your way to a great shopping plan. You’re reading this article and following Yahoo Life (or another trusted outlet). You’ll need a good resource to help you comb through all the Amazon Prime Day deals to let you know which ones are worth your time and money and which ones to skip.

Just because it says "deal" on an Amazon page, doesn’t mean you’re getting a real bargain on a proven product. Amazon boasts discounts on millions upon millions of products and services, but some of the deals you’re going to see on Prime Day are either cheap knockoffs or really outdated products manufacturers are trying to unload. That’s where we come in to help you navigate Prime Day like a pro.

Note: Prime Day is for Amazon Prime members only. If you’re not a member, but you still want to take advantage of all the great deals we’ll see on July 12 and 13— sign up for a free 30-day trial and start saving now.

Know your prices

When it comes to deals on Prime Day, you want to check the price — really check the price. It might seem obvious (how can you buy something if you don’t know how much it costs?), but most of the time, people don’t realize that the sale price isn’t really the sale price.

Sometimes manufacturers and sellers will say something is on sale, even if it’s really not. For example, the Instant Pot DUO Plus retails for $150, but for long stretches throughout the year — including now! — it’s on sale for $128, effectively making that the new list price. If the same product goes on sale for $128 one day, that’s technically a new sale price, but it’s not any lower than you’d see it other times of the year.

Now you needn't always follow the sale price, but do be aware that sellers can make you think you’re getting a great deal when you’re really not. To track true prices, download the Camelizer Google Chrome extension. It gives you easy-to-understand information on the price trends of a particular product.

Here’s how it works: Once installed, go to a product on Amazon and click the extension icon in your browser’s menu bar. You’ll see the highest price a product has ever been as well as the lowest price. This is what you should be looking at when you want to check that a deal is truly great.

Some Prime Day deals came early: This 50-inch Fire TV is on sale for $300. (Photo: Amazon)

When shopping for 4K TVs, it might be tempting to just grab the cheapest and biggest TV on sale (trust us, you’re going to see a lot of these deals on Prime Day). If you’re buying a big 4K TV for under $400 — how bad could it really be? That’s a price that’s too good to pass up, right?

Well, maybe not. If a no-name manufacturer is offering a deal like this, exit the page and find something better because it might be a cheapo TV that will die on you within a year or so. Pay attention to brand-name manufacturers such as Sony, Samsung, LG and Vizio when it comes to 4K. There’s a reason everyone knows Sony and Samsung, so it’s something to consider when you see too-good-to-be-true deals.

If you’re looking for even deeper discounts, you might consider reputable, wallet-friendly brands such as TCL, Toshiba, Insignia and others.

What year is the model? If it’s a 2021 4K TV, there’s a good chance it’s going to be cheaper on Black Friday — if you can wait that long. Most of the time, a current year’s model will see its deepest discounts on Black Friday and in the spring during the following year.

However, if you want a good deal on a 4K TV, look for 2020 models. TVs are big investments that should last for at least five to seven years. A slightly older model may not have all the latest bells and whistles, but it’ll still have plenty of great features and high resolution — at a super-low price.

This top-rated 50-inch Amazon Fire TV is on sale right now — it's just $300.

Expect tech

Tech is the biggest category to watch. We’re going to see extremely deep discounts on everything from fitness trackers and tablets to smart-home devices and wireless headphones.

The same rules apply: Look for products released in late 2021 or even 2020. For example, the Samsung Galaxy S22 (the newest version) was released not that long ago, so it’s unlikely that Amazon will discount it further (although the retail giant might surprise us). But the Samsung Galaxy S20 FE 5G, which was released in September 2020, is likely to be considerably marked down for Prime Day (and it's $100 off right now!).

There are a few products you should avoid, including no-name fitness trackers and so-called "premium" smartphone accessories — stick to trusted brands such as Fitbit and Anker, respectively. Amazon’s in-house brand, AmazonBasics, is a very good option when it comes to charging cables and HDMI cables — we’re expecting to see impressive discounts on the entire line.

fire hd 10
The Fire HD 10 tablet is already $50 off! (Photo: Amazon)

The best rule of thumb? Stay away from off-brands. If you’ve never heard of it, there’s a reason. Amazon is making a big push for their own smart devices, tablets and e-readers, so products such as Fire HD 8 Plus, and Kindle Paperwhite will always be a good bet.

Some sellers might try to pass off refurbished products as new, to bait consumers into unbelievable deals. While there’s nothing wrong with buying refurbished goods, it’s easy to be fooled into purchasing ones that are "like new" or "renewed" without realizing it. Just take a beat to see if the item you’re buying is brand-new.

Tech companies such as Apple, Dyson, Nintendo and Microsoft will most likely get in on the action too, but discounts on these premium products might not be so deep. Apple products are rarely deeply discounted, so if you see, say, Apple AirPods on sale for more than they are right now (20% off!), then it’s a very good deal.

It’s a third-party party!

Look out for third-party sellers too. You might be so caught up in the excitement and high-pressure sales of Prime Day that you’ll miss who, exactly, is selling these items. If Amazon or the manufacturer isn’t selling the product, then a third-party seller is. These types of sellers can offer great deals too, but their return policies and warranties may not be as competitive as Amazon’s or the manufacturer’s.

Look for who is selling and shipping your products, which should be clearly labeled underneath the "Add to Cart" button. If Amazon or the manufacturer isn’t shipping or selling, make sure the third-party seller has high reviews.

Where are your goods coming from? (Photo: Amazon)
Where are your goods coming from? (Photo: Amazon)

Plan your attack

We’ll leave you with this: Former heavyweight champion Mike Tyson once said, “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.” We’re assuming he came up with this gem after he, in fact, got punched in the mouth. Something unexpected might throw your plan out of balance on Prime Day, especially since Amazon is known for keeping other sellers on their toes with unplanned price drops on bestselling items.

But the best advice we can give you on how to win Prime Day? Be cautious of deals that seem too good to be true, beware of fake customer reviews with FakeSpot (an online tool that analyzes how many shopper reviews are from authentic people instead of bots), know what you want to buy, know how much you want to spend beforehand, stay hydrated and follow our Prime Day coverage for the best deals on the products you actually want.

Happy shopping!

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