Consumer Alert: Amazon Prime Day deals and shopping strategies

We now know the dates for the shopping event of the year, Amazon Prime Day. It will be held July 11 and 12. You may remember last year I had my eye on a giant TV that was on sale for 80 percent off. It was a lightning deal. I set alarms. I had my phone out and my thumbs ready. But I just wasn’t fast enough.

This year, Prime members can sign up for invitation-only deals. You simply click on the deal in the app, then scroll down to the button that asks for an invitation. You’ll get an email confirming whether you were chosen for the deal.

Here’s the list of invitation-only deals:

• Bulova men’s watch. Its regular price is $450. It will be on sale for 60 percent off at $179.

• 43-inch Amazon Fire TV with a regular price of $400. It will be on sale for 75 percent off at $100.

• JLB Noise Cancellation headphones that regularly sell for $200, on sale 55 percent off at $90.

• A FOREO LUNA facial cleansing brush will be half off at $110. The regular price is $220.

if you’re really serious about getting the best deals, you can take the following steps as well.

• You can ask Alexa to remind you when Prime Day is approaching.

• You can set up personalized alerts so you’ll be notified when it’s live.

• You can also tell Alexa to add items to your wish list or cart, then notify you when the deal is live.

And just in time for Prime Day, Amazon is giving away $32 in the form of credits toward an Amazon purchase. But you have to jump through some hoops to get it.

• You get the first 15 when you download your first photo on Amazon Photos. Prime members get unlimited photo storage.

• You get 12 credits when you reload a $100 gift card.

• Buy a $50 gift card to get five credits.

Do all three and you get $32 more to spend at Amazon.

So here’s the irony. Amazon dropped this big Prime Day announcement on Wednesday, the very day the FTC sued them for the third time in a month. The FTC says that Amazon tricked people into buying recurring prime memberships, then made it very difficult for them to cancel. Of course, I’ll be following that case closely for you.