Over the years I have definitely learnt the hard way about the pitfalls of impulse purchases. In my youth, and my naivety, I’d all too often get swept up in the excitement of buying something I’d been dreaming about, and fall foul to some nasty repercussions. I’d love to say I’m older and wiser, but the truth is that big kid in me still needs to slow down sometimes. Forget #parentingfails, this post is talking #purchasingfails.
One thing I’ve come to realise is that if something seems too good to be true, it probably is. In my twenties, having worn through a few pairs of synthetic imitation wool lined boots, I decided it was about time I invested in the real deal. Trouble is, those popular branded sheepskin wool lined babies come with a hefty price tag. Having consulted with google, I laughed all the way to the checkout page as I clicked buy on a bargain pair and tippity tapped my card details in. Then that sinking feeling hit. As I mulled over the site post purchase I started to spot some spelling mistakes. A few iffy looking sentences. There was no phone number or address, or contact details. Why didn’t I check that before I rushed through the purchase? ‘It’ll be fine’ I told myself, but somehow knowing something wasn’t quite right.
The boots never arrived. I did however receive a letter informing me that counterfeit boots intended for my address had been incinerated at customs.
Then there was the time I purchased those impossible to get your hands on Oasis tickets; Wembley stadium, the gig of my dreams. As friends tickets arrived in the build up to the event, I waited and waited. I tried to ring the site I purchased them from, but there was no answer. When I googled the address on the website, it was a chinese restaurant. It was pretty hard to not look back in anger. Some might say I should have checked that out before parting with my hard earnt cash.
And then, there are my horrific experiences with purchasing second hand cars. A life lesson I’ll never forget. The salesman saw me coming as he fed me a bunch of lines about the car being practically sold to someone coming tomorrow. It turned out that soft top Suzuki Vitara (white with a pink flash) wasn’t right for me (or anyone except maybe Barbie), and when I tried to move it on just weeks later, it was worth less than half what I’d paid for it. That, and the horrendous APR loan I’d rushed into buying left me financially scarred for years. Ouch.
I’m not alone in my murky past of disastrous purchases. Research carried out by Kent County Council revealed that a majority of Kent residents are at risk to losing money because they do not know their consumer rights. The really risky transactions include second hand cars, doorstep tradespeople, and online purchases. I’m basically a walking case study on the issue.
Sadly, people like me often don’t consider the implications of the contract they are buying into until things go wrong, when it is often too late. With Christmas just around the corner, Kent County Council are urging you (and me) to make a simple switch from BUY to THINK. They’re promoting the campaign with some familiar friends…you may know them as the foreign objects you regularly remove from the underside of your foot.
Have you checked out the reviews of that tradesperson? Have you thoroughly scoured the website you are buying from? Does it seem legitimate? Have you read terms and conditions? Have you test driven that car? Simple tips like these could save you a load of hassle (and money). You can read more tips on the Kent County Council Website here.
It’s simple advice, but it’s stuff you might just kick yourself about later if you don’t give it a little time and thought. Believe me, I know the feeling all too well. Let my mistakes be a lesson to you, and don’t get stung this festive season.
Disclosure: Collaborative post