Deals or Debt? Mexico's Controversial Black Friday

"People that bought products from the Buen Fin last year are still paying for these products as we speak and will probably acquire more debt this year," she said. Rojas also warned against sales deals where items are sold on no-interest monthly payments.

"The credit might not generate immediate interest rates but if you skip a payment three months in a row, the bank will charge you the full interest," Rojas said.

Despite the debt risks, and the modest discounts, the Mexican Government's Consumer Protection Agency, PROFECO, defends the Buen Fin Initiative, which is new to Mexico as it was only introduced in the country last year.

"You can't satanize those" who sell on credit, PROFECO vice president Alejandro Celis told Mexican news site Sinembargo.com, which recently conducted a thorough investigation of the Buen Fin marketing operation.

"You have to think of the Buen Fin as a choice for customers. It is something that you can choose to participate in or not," Celis said.

Other supporters of El Buen Fin include the Mexican federal government–which last year advanced the Christmas bonuses of its employees so that they could more fully participate–and associations that represent the retail sector.

Jorge Davila directs CONCANACO, the National Confederation of Chambers of Commerce. He told ABC/Univision that the Buen Fin initiative provides a boost to the local economy.

"I think that this is definitely a win-win program, for all the actors of the economy" Dávila said. "The consumers benefit directly from cheaper products and services, industry raises its production, the government receives more taxes, the retailers sell more goods and contract more employees. It is really a virtuous cycle initiated simply by injecting more money into the economy thanks to the discounts [and the numerous items sold on credit]."

Jorge Dávila said that last year the first edition of Buen Fin generated $106 billion pesos, approximately $8 billion in sales. This year he estimates sales will increase by 30 to 40 percent.

Still, it is not clear how much of this money becomes consumer debt, owed by customers to banks. Or how many customers who bought flatscreens, sound systems and the like last year are now struggling to pay those items off.

With those issues in mind, consumer advocate Denise Rojas came up with some words of advice that might also benefit Black Friday Shoppers in the U.S.

"We urge people to be very careful and buy only what they really need, compare prices and avoid compulsive purchases," Rojas said.

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