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Tents are already set up outside the Dale Mabry Best Buy. Black Friday shoppers are ready to pounce to save on TVs, drones, computers and other deals. But there’s something to keep an eye on: the serial number. Why?

USA Today wrote about this several years ago, but I never heard about this until now. Sometimes that bargain isn’t as great as it seems. They say retailers sometimes will offer “derivative models” which they are stripped-down versions of the item. This means you might be getting something with a different warranty, missing features or the quality of the overall unit just isn’t the same. It’s like how some car dealers run newspaper ads for a super low price and when you get there, the car is a standard with no options added.

In the article, they reference a Best Buy TV that was on sale. The Black Friday deal was a variation of a popular LG TV that was made specifically for Best Buy. So if you were doing a price comparison with the model that looks the same at Target, you may not realize this one had fewer aspect ratios, didn’t have Smart TV capabilities or as many settings to improve your viewing experience.

So that’s why they say it’s super important to do your homework and look at the model and serial numbers to see if you’re getting the model you think you’re getting.

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