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What is Buyer's Remorse and How to Deal With it - Elucidated

What is Buyer's Remorse and How to Deal with It
Have you ever felt anxiety after you have checked off a much-awaited purchase from your list? Or are you apprehensive about the usability of something that you recently bought? If yes, then you're the victim of buyer's remorse. PsycholoGenie elucidates the law of buyer's remorse and helps you deal with the same through this article.
Anamika Kumari
Last Updated: Mar 9, 2018
Psychology behind the regret
Buyer's remorse is a psychological state of 'cognitive dissonance' that accounts for mental inconsistency (dissonance) that a person suffers from after having to settle between two or more cognitions (choices).
Dissatisfaction is a human being's essential nature. Really, no winks there! We all have been through that one phase where we first wanted to have something badly for ourselves and ended up regretting our silly choices. What actually bothers us is the fear of not getting satisfied, and that is when we start having these second thoughts, trying to judge our own act, right or wrong. Although this pretty much applies to all our life decisions, our focus here is the psychological phenomenon called 'buyer's remorse'.
Buyer's remorse is the surge of regret that a shopper might undergo after having made a purchase due to doubts about the quality, quantity, price, or usage of the purchase. Right after having made the choice of a product or a service, the buyer might begin to wonder upon certain points that usually give them 'cold feet'.
The first question usually is, 'Was the purchase worth what I bought it for?' This question is followed by:
  • What if the same facility was available for a lower price?
  • Does the purchase suit my needs?
  • Does the product match the expectations?
  • What if the product develops some defects later, which cannot be fixed?

All these, and many more comments from the people around us make us skeptical about our investments.
The time of onset of the remorse and its duration depends upon the type and size of purchase we have made. Big investments tend to take us some time to realize that a better deal could have been struck. Investments made in automobiles, real estate, and electronics are those in which a bad deal can be recognized in a short time. In case of investments such as booking vacations and signing contracts, it might take a little while before you actually understand the catch of the deal, and 'lady regret' strikes you. Articles of personal use such as clothes, bags, and shoes are those that generate regret when criticized by the others around us.
Reasons for Buyer's Remorse
Overlooking necessities
Overlooking necessities
Shopping without a reason is mostly the case where the buyer ends up burdened by the guilt of buying what was not a necessity. Impulsive spending is most commonly observed during trade fairs or festive sales.
Extravagant shopping
Budget is the key to all the spending. The strong desire to own something might lure people into buying stuff that exceeds their budget. The silk scarf you bought out of that exquisite shop last weekend―you know you could not afford it, but only you know it was one of its kind.
Lack of patience can also be a great factor to generate buyer's remorse. If only you would have waited for another two months, you could have had the latest upgraded version of your favorite cell phone. For now, you have to make the most out of the previous version.
Decision fatigue
Decision fatigue
After a lot of consecutive decisions on what to buy and what not to buy, the mind reaches a point of saturation beyond which each new decision seems like rocket science. Beyond this saturation level lies the sea of choices haunted by guilt.
Insufficient information
Insufficient information
Always stay tuned for the latest trend and upgrades of the items you plan to spend upon. This not only gives you a clear idea of what you really want, but also allows you to obtain the best deal from a trusted source.
Manipulative marketing
Manipulative marketing
The marketing techniques are after all made to convince the prospective buyers that the product or service being offered on the table is a necessity for them and are being offered at the best price. After getting thoroughly manipulated by the salesperson, it is later that the customer realizes that the bargain made was not what he had planned upon.
Irrational expectations
Advertisements, an integral part of marketing, can forge a falsifying image in your mind about the purchase, and leave the buyer in sheer disappointment when 'promises' are not fulfilled.
"It's just you"
Sometimes, it's just your mind playing games with you. Prior to landing upon the decision, you might have convinced yourself with all the information. But on second thoughts, you suddenly feel that the purchase you've made just does not suit your style.
Prevention is better than 'rue'
Refrain yourself from all the causes of buyer's remorse and ward off all the fear by sticking to some ground rules before you go out shopping.
List out your requirements
List out your requirements
Being sure of what you want is half the job done. Prepare a checklist to jot down all that is elementary to your requirements.
Plan a budget
Plan a budget
Outline a cost-effective budget plan, dedicating an obligatory amount to your list of priorities.
Evaluate the pros and cons
Evaluate the pros and cons
Chart out the favorable and non-favorable aspects of your selection without any emotional bias. Balance out the chart to know exactly which part of the list you'd go with.
Maintain your mental cool
Maintain your mental cool
Do not let any external pressure from any source, be it your friends or the salesman, influence what you buy. Instead of asking everyone, ask yourself. If at all you think that you are unable to set aside your emotions while the making the decision, get a second opinion from an expert you would trust.
Beware of the return policy
Consider buying from sources that offer its customers with a valid return policy. This will provide you with the benefit of getting a hands-on experience of your purchase, and then decide whether you want to stick to it.
Deal with it; don't dwell on it
The most important part after going for a pricey purchase is that you need to understand that what's done is done. It is commonplace to develop cold feet after you start getting second thoughts about your purchase.
Stay calm
Instead of getting paranoid, sit back and rethink the pros and cons that you had evaluated prior to the purchase. This will help you realize why you had opted for that purchase in the first place.
Avoid paradox of choice
Once you are done with a deal, don't venture elsewhere, comparing it with the other deals available. This was the exercise you were supposed to perform before cutting the deal. Finding better deals would make you feel worse.
Try to exchange or resell
If you had not figured out the privacy policy of the source of your purchase earlier, do it now. Find out if you can exchange or return the commodity. If not, then try reselling it to others. Even though reselling might not get you back the entire amount you had invested, but there are chances that you might get a considerable portion back. This is only if you are ready to bear the difference.
Work your way around it
One can always work wonders with what is already at hand. Fixes such as upgrading to a newer technology, altering to suit one's requirement, accessorizing to improve the look, and putting together some additional elements for an enhanced experience are always applicable.
Accept and exploit
Always remember that some part of you had always been anticipating happiness from that decision. Realize that and accept what you are now in possession of. And since you already have it, you've simply got to enjoy it.
When in doubt or when you regret after spending, always take a philosophical approach to the situation. Take some quite time alone and convince yourself that it was not that bad a choice after all. Most importantly, there are people who are not blessed enough to have what you now have. Thank god for it, and get over the guilt.
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