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8 secrets to shop Prime Day without getting ripped off

Prime Day started in 2015 as a one-day event to celebrate Amazon’s 20th anniversary. Prime members were given access to many deals, and inventory sold out quickly. There was some criticism that the sale did not include the most in-demand products.

Amazon has shaken things up since. Prime Day is now an annual event with tons of deals on products you’ll actually want. This year’s 2-day Prime event runs June 21 and 22, but you can get great deals right now. Tap or click here for 15 early bird specials.

You must be a Prime member to shop for Prime Day deals, but there’s a trick to this. In fact, there are many ways to take full advantage of this event. Don’t worry. We’re here to help.

1. Members only?

You don’t have to join Prime for the long haul, instead try the 30-day trial. Go to amazon.com/gp/prime and tap Try Prime. You must have a current, valid credit card. You’ll be upgraded to a paid membership plan automatically at the end of the trial period unless you cancel first. Tap or click here for more information on what you get as a member.

The free Prime trial gives you access to all the same benefits as a paid membership. Tap or click here to check out some highlights of Prime Day 2021, including streaming concert events, rewards, and more.

2. Know what to avoid

Some product categories have better sales at different times of the year. For example, outdoor products drop in price towards the end of summer. Toy deals get better as the winter holidays approach — lookout for pre-Christmas sales.

If you’re spending a large chunk of change, check out if your state offers a tax-free holiday. This usually applies to essentials such as school supplies, food, clothing, computers and tools, but it can also apply to cosmetics, toys, games and more.

3. Make a list before you shop

Just like food shopping on an empty stomach, shopping sales could cause you to purchase more than you need. Do some research before you start buying anything and add products to your wishlist. Check out Lightning Deals and click Watch this deal to add it to your watchlist and get notifications.

Have an idea of how much you’re willing to spend and don’t go over that budget. Countdown timers and bonuses are there to influence you to spend more money, but don’t fall for it! Keep checking your deal notifications to make sure you’re getting the best prices.

4. When a deal isn’t really a deal

Some sellers use Prime Day to fool you into thinking a product is on sale when it actually isn’t. Add deal notifications to your account to track prices for the products you want.

You can also check out third-party tools like CamelCamelCamel. This free Amazon price tracker alerts you when prices go down. You can download a free extension for Chrome, Edge, Safari, Firefox and Opera at camelcamelcamel.com/camelizer. Once installed, click on the Camel icon in your address bar to see historical pricing data or set up watches to get email notifications when prices drop.

5. Don’t trust everything you read

Glowing reviews are great for making purchasing decisions, but you also need to watch out for scams. Sellers and buyers can collaborate to boost a product’s ratings and move it up Amazon’s list of recommendations. Tap or click here to read about a scam that revealed millions of data records used to trick buyers. You can also check out our tips on spotting fake reviews there.

Third-party software can help you weed out false information. Fakespot is a free browser extension that spots fake reviews on some of the biggest online retailers, including Amazon, eBay, Best Buy and Sephora.

Fakespot also has an app for iOS that lets you browse reviews and even shop using the app. You can download it from the app store.

6. Look out for fakes

Beyond bad reviews, you must be vigilant against no-name brands and knockoffs. While off-brand products are cheaper, you usually get what you pay for. The product itself may not function as promised or become defective. If so, you will have more trouble getting technical support and customer service for these items. Amazon won’t step in to help if the product doesn’t fall under its return policy.

Knockoff products aren’t always necessarily trying to pass themselves off as the real thing. These items could look very similar to the genuine article but have a name or design element that is slightly different. Fake Fitbits are prevalent on Amazon. These copycat gadgets may function similarly but don’t expect the same quality in the build or the app. Tap or click here for 10 Fitbit tips.

Buying directly from the manufacturer is a safe way to get the legitimate product you’re looking for. If you use a third-party seller, use one with excellent ratings. Check out return policies and warranties and look for listings that Amazon fulfills.

7. Look beyond your PC

While you’ll find great deals browsing on your computer, check out other avenues. Some deals are exclusive to the Amazon app, while others need Alexa to work. Try asking your smart assistant, “Alexa, what are my Prime Day deals?” You may find something useful.

8. Prime Day sales are already happening

You don’t need to wait until the day of to get some Prime Day deals. Check out some items you can get for low prices right now:

By clicking our links, you’re supporting our research. As an Amazon Associate, we earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. Recommendations are not part of any business incentives.

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