At the beginning of the new year, after their pocket books have been hit hard by the extra Christmas expenses, Spaniars'wallet gets relieved by the sales.
At the beginning of the new year, after their pocket books have been hit hard by the extra Christmas expenses they’ve just made, Spaniards find themselves in January, a time for some of the year’s biggest sales, or rebajas in Spanish.
Those in the business of selling, and they know their business well, are in the habit of encouraging sales by lending a hand to shoppers, helping clients saddened by the consistent excesses of the holidays and the guilty conscience of having spent too much over the vacation period, overcome those sentiments in a way that most benefits profits; they’ve established a half-yearly sales period that generally begins at the end of the first week in January and goes until March. These are the January sales (Rebajas de Enero in Spanish).
In a time of economic crisis, the importance of these sales periods has grown, as consumers generally limit their purchases throughout most of the year to the essential items on their shopping lists, and anxiously wait for the half-yearly sales to restock wardrobes or to go pick up some special product they’ve looked forward to buying… The most popular products during these sales periods are often clothing and accessories, so much so that the Association of textile and Accessories Businesses (Empresarial de de Comercio Textil y Complementos, or ACOTEX) estimates that 20% of the industry’s yearly sales are made during this time.
It is important to explain a few points related to this topic: the rebajas half-yearly sales should not be confused with sales that businesses decide to hold which do not follow a specific yearly program, sales held that depend on the needs of the business (a clearance sale for example). It is also very important to understand that special offers known as saldos are not the same thing as the rebajas half-yearly sales. Saldos refer to the price of blemished items being sold at a sensibly lower price than that of a “normal” product, while rebajas are sales that mean a price reduction on products that stores have been selling throughout the regular season, discounts offered to the public to promote business and make space for the products that stores will receive for the new season.
Consumer organizations offer a few tips that shoppers may want to keep in mind when making purchases during these half-yearly sales in Spain.
- Remember that sale items must either display the original price together with the sale price, or show the percentage of the discount offered on the original price.
- Sales items must be the same items as those offered before the sale; if this is not the case, and the sale only includes a few products, they should be clearly marked as sale items and separated from the rest of the store items that continue to be sold at regular price.
- Accepted forms of payment during the rebajas half-yearly sales must be the same as the rest of the year. It is illegal to, for example, not accept credit card payment during these sales.
- The warranty period must be the same on sale items as it is on items that are not on sale. Returns and exchanges can be made just as they are outside of the half-yearly sales periods.
- Shoppers are advised to prepare a shopping list to avoid the dangers of compulsive shopping.
- Sales receipts must be kept to be able to make complaints, returns or exchanges on purchases.
- Complaint forms must be made available to customers during half-yearly sales.
Finally, it is important to remember that the rebajas half-yearly sales mean a reduction in price on products, they do not mean a reduction in consumer rights. If you experience any type of problem, you are encouraged to make your way to the nearest Municipal Consumer’s office to place a formal complaint.