The ads are out, and many of us are now making our Black Friday and Cyber Monday shopping plans.
But before you start shopping, make sure you know whether you are getting the name brand item or a lookalike, which could leave your loved ones (especially young children) disappointed the day after Christmas.
Black Friday is all about saving money, of course, and off-brands save even more. Just look at prices of Apple wireless AIrPods, and similar devices:
- Apple AirPods: $145.
- Lookalike wireless ear buds: $30 - $75.
If you are on a budget, you may also be enticed by inexpensive Androids tablets.
- iPads: Roughly $300.
- Cheap Android tablets?: $29 - $79.
But every January, moms like Stephanie Pence complain about $75 tablets that failed when their child tried to use it.
"We noticed the speaker is busted on this," she said. "It has a real tinny sound."
Pamela Gibbons bought a $79 tablet two years ago, and she said after a couple of weeks, "it wouldn't hold a charge."
Other tablets have come with batteries that swelled like a balloon. Cheap can be good, too cheap not so much.
Read reviews before you buy
And from the "doesn't that stink" file, knockoffs that are so fake, they may not work at all.
MacWorld ordered seven AirPod lookalikes online, most of them inexpensive Chinese knockoffs.
Some looked nothing like the photos (which were showing real Apple devices), while others had Bluetooth or sound problems. One order never showed up at all.
A few were acceptable, MacWorld says.
AirPods, headphones, or tablets that don't work will have you saying "doesn't that stink?" Before you buy an off brand, Google for reviews of that brand. It might save you time ...and a headache.
Know what you're getting so you don't waste your money.
Follow John on Twitter ( @JohnMatarese )
For more consumer news and money saving advice, go to www.dontwasteyourmoney.com