Consumer group says watch out for fake sales, how to find actual lower price

Before you shop this holiday season, watch out for fake sale prices.  A consumer group says most retailer sale prices are actually fake sales.

You see the signs saying, "SALE!" or "60% OFF!" But is it really?

Researchers at Consumers’ Checkbook say they’ve been tracking prices on items in 25 major retailers for 33 weeks.

They say most often the sale price, indicating big savings, was the price more than half the time, and in many cases, they rarely, if ever charged the full price.

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While you might think a constant sale is good, Consumers’ Checkbook says the practice tricks you into not shopping around. And they often found lower prices for the same items at other retailers.

"Every week that we checked, we found they were offering some form of discount. But it’s not a discount at all if they keep you offering the same price over and over again, and rarely offer that crossed-out price," explained Kevin Brasler with Consumers' Checkbook.

"There’s a term for it. It’s called 'anchor prices' and they exist only so they can cross them out and show you some steep discount," Brasler added.

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According to Federal Trade Commission, holding constant sales are illegal.

So before you snap up a sale item, search for the item on Google or another internet browser. They can show you the price at several retailers.

You can also use apps such as Pricegrabber, Honey, and CamelCamelCamel, which track the history of prices on items so that you can see if you’re actually getting a deal.