Review
  • For the past four months, Business Insider South Africa has fact-checked deals offered by two of South Africa's leading daily deals websites.
  • In each of the four months, the stores have drastically overstated the size of the discounts that they're offering on products.
  • September was no different - with both stores claiming to offer double-digit percentage discounts that were in some cases untrue when cross-referenced with retail prices at other online stores.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

For the past four months, Business Insider South Africa has been tracking claims made on daily deals site OneDayOnly, and Takealot's Daily Deals portal, in an attempt to identify whether the promised discounts are as good as the companies claim.

The two stores attempt to drive sales by offering time-sensitive deals they claim are up to 50% cheaper than their competitors. But after four months of randomly selecting products on both sites and fact-checking the deal claims, Business Insider has learnt that – at least on the days and random products checked – the stores more often than not exaggerate the size of the deals they're claiming to offer.

Central to the tactic used by both stores are unsubstantiated claims of recommended retail prices. With little to govern how each store arrives at these so-called claimed retail prices, OneDayOnly and Takealot are essentially free to make them - and their discounts - up as they wish. This strategy allows them to claim they are offering far more significant discounts than they are.

Daily deal discount exaggeration (%)

In the first month of the fact-checking exercise, Business Insider identified that both stores inflated discount promises by 72.2% (OneDayOnly) and 136.4% (Takealot). Subsequent months revealed similar trends, with the accuracy of the discounts fluctuating both higher and lower for products checked on the given days.  

In the four months since Business Insider started checking, Takealot has on average overstated its claimed discounts by 121.92% per month. OneDayOnly has, on average, exaggerated its claimed deals by 55.60% per month. 

In September, Business Insider once again conducted a test on ten random products on each site on the same day and cross-checked these with prices of the products at competitors. Once again, the exercise revealed that on the given day, both stores significantly inflated their discounts.

Although in most cases the stores offer something of a discount over competitors, even if not as large as they claim, in September, Business Insider was also able to find some products for even less than OneDayOnly and Takealot's "discounted" prices. 

Here's how much Takealot and OneDayOnly exaggerated their discounts in September:

OneDayOnly

Across the 10 random products reviewed in September 2021, OneDayOnly claimed to offer discounts to a total of R9,500.

After researching the various products, we found that a more accurate cumulative discount came to R5,320.95.

On the day in question, there was a 56.39% (R4,179.05) difference between the discounts claimed by OneDayOnly, and those available elsewhere.

Biggest overstated discount in rand value: R1,505 (Bose NC700 Noise Cancelling Bluetooth Headphones). 

Takealot

Across the 10 random products reviewed in September 2021, Takealot claimed to offer Daily Deal discounts to a total of R4,862. After researching the various products, Business Insider found that a more accurate cumulative discount amounted to R2,253.

On the day in question, there was a 73.34%, or R2,609 difference, between the discounts claimed by Takealot, and those available elsewhere.

Biggest overstated discount in rand value: R1,200 (Garmin Venu Smartwatch - Granite Blue with Silver Hardware).

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