44% of people ‘have hidden sales spending from their partner’

More than two-fifths (44%) of people in a relationship admit they have hidden sales spending from their partner in the past, according to research carried out ahead of Black Friday.

Men (48%) were more likely than women (41%) to say they had concealed the true extent of their sales spending, according to the survey of 1,300 people in a couple for website TopCashback.

Men were also more likely than women to suspect that their partner had hidden their spending, with 27% of men being doubtful, compared with 19% of women.

Across all age groups, 18 to 24-year-olds were most likely to have kept sales shopping secret, while over-55s, some of whom would perhaps have been in their relationship for longer, were least likely to keep sales shopping secret.

Nearly a quarter (23%) of people who had kept quiet about their spending said this was because it was an impulse purchase, according to the survey carried out by Censuswide in October and November 2023.

Our research found that buying items on a whim is one of the biggest reasons why we keep sales splurges secret from our partners

Adam Bullock, TopCashback

A similar proportion (22%) said they kept quiet because they had been attracted by the discount and did not need the item and a fifth (20%) said it would cause a disagreement because it was an unnecessary purchase.

The survey also indicated that people plan to spend £249 on average in the Black Friday (November 24) and Cyber Monday (November 27) sales this year.

Nearly four in 10 (39%) people who had found out about a partner’s previously hidden purchase said they did not mind when they found out, but a fifth (20%) said it made them anxious and the same proportion (20%) said they lost trust in their partner.

Adam Bullock, UK director at TopCashback said: “Our research found that buying items on a whim is one of the biggest reasons why we keep sales splurges secret from our partners.

“Our advice is to always plan ahead and use the sales as an opportunity to buy something you really want and need at a discounted price.”

The research was released as HSBC UK issued a warning to people to be on their guard against Black Friday-related scams.

Data from HSBC UK indicates purchase scams between July and September resulted in an average loss to victims of £894, with the typical value per case increasing to over £900 in September.

The three-month period between July and September saw the most purchase scams reported so far this year, according to HSBC UK’s data.

Both our own data and that of UK Finance shows that the scourge of purchase scams is growing

David Callington, HSBC UK

David Callington, HSBC UK’s head of fraud, warned: “Month on month, scammers steal millions of pounds through purchase scams, advertising items such as cars, campervans, holidays or tickets to a ‘must see’ concert or sporting event.

“Both our own data and that of UK Finance shows that the scourge of purchase scams is growing, with scammers content to scam more people with lower value items than specifically targeting victims for higher value frauds.

“Scammers are devious criminals who don’t care about the impact of their crime on the financial or mental wellbeing of their victims.”

Here are some tips from HSBC UK on what to watch out for, to avoid being scammed:

– Purchase scams often involve being asked to send money via bank transfer.

– You may be offered a too-good-to-be-true deal or discount or be told there is limited availability to encourage you to act quickly.

– Purchase scams often originate on social media or other online marketplaces, or in some cases through legitimate-looking websites set up by fraudsters.

– Remember to only use websites you trust when shopping online.

– Check the returns and cancellations policy and research the retailer online to make sure they are legitimate.

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