Money and Mental Health statement on Black Friday 

24 November 2020

This year’s Black Friday sales could leave many people with poor mental health at serious risk of financial harm during lockdown, unless retailers offer consumers more tools to control their spending.

That’s the warning today from the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute, whose research shows that around 3 million people across the UK with mental health problems have struggled to control their spending during lockdown. 

Consumers with poor mental health are also twice as likely than the wider population to have spent more than they can afford online, or to have purchased goods they don’t need.

Money and Mental Health is calling on online retailers to give consumers more tools to manage their spending during Black Friday and the run-up to Christmas. These could include the choice to opt out of ‘buy now pay later’ options, or to add a ‘cooling off’ period to their account before making purchases. 

The charity is also calling on government and regulators to make sure that consumer protection laws are enforced online and are fit for purpose in the twenty first century, as well as for better regulation of Buy Now Pay Later credit.


Helen Undy, Chief Executive of the Money and Mental Health Policy institute said:

“Flash sales, Black Friday ‘deals’ and short-term offers can be hard to resist at the best of times. But with more of us struggling with poor mental health during lockdown and spending more time online, there’s a real risk that this year’s Black Friday sales could push many people into financial harm. A single day’s shopping spree can cause years of misery, especially for people already dealing with both money and mental health problems.

“That’s why we’re calling on retailers to take action to help customers stay in control, especially those struggling with their mental health. Simple steps like giving people the option to have a ‘cooling off period’ before making purchases, or to opt out of ‘Buy-Now-Pay-later’ deals, could help people avoid serious financial harm now and in the weeks leading up to Christmas.”



To set up an interview, or for any other media enquiries, please contact Brian Semple, Head of External Affairs at Money and Mental Health, on 07935 216 804 or [email protected] 



(1) Online survey of 2,000 UK adults, carried out by Opinium between 2-6 October 2020. Data is weighted to be nationally representative.

About the Money and Mental Health Policy Institute

The Money and Mental Health Policy Institute is an independent charity set up by Martin Lewis, and committed to breaking the link between financial difficulty and mental health problems. We conduct research, develop practical policy solutions and work in partnership with both those providing services and those using them to find what really works.