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  • 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

Notes to Editors

Operating in the UK since 2006, ARAG plc provides a comprehensive suite of ‘before-the-event’ and ‘after-the-event’ legal expenses insurance products and assistance solutions to protect both businesses and individuals.

ARAG plc is part of the global ARAG Group, the largest family-owned enterprise in the German insurance industry. Founded in 1935, on the principle that every citizen should be able to assert their legal rights, ARAG now employs more than 4,700 people in 19 countries around the world and generates revenue and premium income totaling more than €2 billion.



Rachael Wornes, Marketing Manager, ARAG UK, 0117 917 1578,
Paul Jacobs, Director, Consultable, 079 0982 1731,

Disclaimer - all information in this article was correct at time of publishing.


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