SMEs must beware of Black Friday too

  • Businesses must ensure that offers and promotions are legal
  • Cyber security a major threat for any business transacting online
  • SMEs just as vulnerable to Black Friday scams as consumers

“There is always plenty of guidance for consumers, at this time of the year, but businesses are equally vulnerable to the same scams and really need to think about their own promotions. says Underwriting Director at ARAG, David Haynes.

Throughout the year, businesses large and small are fined for misleading customers with eye-catching deals, and the frenzied competition around Black Friday can tempt SMEs into making illegal promotional offers, especially around ‘urgency’ and price reductions.”

In March, the Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) issued advice to businesses about misleading time-limited offers and false discount claims. In 2019, a national furniture retailer was fined £6,000 after Trading Standards officers identified a false claim on a Black Friday poster in store and, in 2016, a department store chain was fined £40,000 for misleading discount claims in the run-up to Christmas.

“If major retailers can slip up and find themselves breaking the law, then SMEs can easily make the same mistakes. While big brands are more likely to make the headlines, small businesses are also prosecuted and are just as susceptible to the reputational damage.” Haynes continues.

ARAG has also drawn attention to the security threats facing any business that transacts online, which increase during seasonal sales. In 2021, the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) identified more than 4,000 small business websites being used to steal customer payment details and issued guidance to SMEs to stop their websites from becoming ‘Black Friday cyber traps’.

“Whether a website has its own transactional functionality or relies on one of the major e-commerce platforms, businesses have to make sure their site is secure.” Haynes adds.

SMEs are less likely to have all of the marketing compliance and cyber security skills in-house, but they still have to comply with consumer and data protection legislation.”

Finally, ARAG has highlighted the fact that small businesses are often exposed to the same risks as consumers when shopping online.

“Black Friday was once the preserve of retailers targeting consumers, but suppliers in other sectors are now taking part, including travel, hospitality, software and services, with offers clearly aimed at SMEs. Haynes concludes.

Anyone in a small business looking for a bargain on office furniture, IT or professional equipment or even a software subscription is vulnerable to the same scams as consumers.”

ARAG’s tips to help SMEs avoid a ‘Bleak Friday’:

  • Plan any Black Friday promotions carefully and check compliance against guidance from the CMA and Trading Standards
  • Ensure cyber security is adequate and up-to-date, with latest patches for anti-virus software and e-commerce platforms
  • Brief staff to be cautious around hasty purchases from unfamiliar suppliers and to follow normal purchasing protocols

Authored by ARAG


About ARAG

ARAG UK is a specialist legal insurance provider and is part of the internationally recognised ARAG Group which serves 14 countries worldwide.

Providing several emergency assistance insurance products and an innovative range of Before-the-Event and After-the-Event legal insurance products and services, ARAG UK prides itself on its client-focused approach. This has been recognised by the industry following the results of the Insurance 360 Legal Expenses Insurers Study in which ARAG UK was voted 'best legal insurance provider'. youTalk-insurance sharing ARAG UK insurance news. 

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