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Oops, I Did it Again: Buyer’s Remorse and What to Do About It

It happens to the best of fashionistas and shopaholics alike.  Even the wisest of shoppers and coupon-clipping, penny-pinching savers fall prey.  I’m talking about buyer’s remorse.  It’s real, it’s ugly, but there’s hope.  Here are a few tips on how to handle (and potentially avoid) this greedy retail demon.

1. Reverse The Curse: Return It! This is your first and best defense.  Whether it’s the wrong size, color, price or just not your style, there are many stores with great return policies.  Click here for a list of the best.  Many retailers actually prefer that you return something to ensure your experience with them is a great one.  Make it a habit to ask “what’s your return policy?” while at the cashwrap and watch out for those with a 30-day return policy (time can run out before you know it!)  Getting your money back in the same form you paid for it is typically the method used.

2. Even Exchange/Store Credit: Some retailers with stricter return policies, or for those instances where the deadline has passed, you may be eligible for an even exchange or a store credit.  Basically, they want to keep your money in the store.  This is the second-best option to make sure that you walk away with something you truly want, rather than leave you as a dissatisfied customer with something you don’t.

3. Resale Options: Consider selling the item on sites such as Ebay or Craigslist.  If you happened to find it at an amazingly low deal, you may be able to sell it for a profit.  If not, you may be able to at least get what you paid for it or as close to the original price as possible.  If online isn’t your cup of tea, consider taking it to a consignment shop, who will in turn either pay you or give you in-store credit to use.

4. Gifting: It may not be a fit for you, but why not give it as a gift to a friend or someone who could use some kindness?  Give it now as a random act of kindness or save it for a holiday or birthday.  Your mistake could be someone else’s treasure.

5. Donate: Last, but definitely not least, consider donating it.  Yes, it may be a brand-new, never used item, but it could be just what someone else really needs but would otherwise not be able to have.

Finally, there are some steps you can take to prevent buyer’s remorse.  Making a list and sticking to a time limit and budget while shopping can help avoid last-minute, unnecessary purchases.  Also, listen to your gut.  If you’re slightly unsure about an item, either leave it for the time being or make sure the store’s return policy is something you can live with should you regret the purchase later.

Happy Shopping (and returning, if necessary!),

One comment Add your comment

Peter

August 22nd, 2010
1:16 am

don’t buy something on an impulse – and only buy things when on sale. you can set up price drop alerts at sites like pricedropfinder.com so you are assured of a good deal (only get alerted when price drops to your range)