Buyer’s Remorse – What to do if you’ve purchased something you can’t afford

buyers-remorseBuying an item you really can’t afford is something that has probably happened to you more than once – it is one of the most common types of spending errors made by all consumers.

Whether you’ve been wooed by a very convincing advertising campaign or have simply realised that your current finances can’t accommodate an item you’ve recently purchased, there are ways to salvage your situation and place yourself back on the path to wealth creation.

Avoiding Doodads

If you’re a long-time reader of Northwood’s financial articles, the word Doodads may be familiar to you already. A doodad is a purchase which was made without realising how much money would be lost as a result – most people agree that they wouldn’t purchase the same item again if they had a second opportunity to do so. If you’ve realised that an item you recently purchased is a doodad, you have just learnt a valuable lesson in personal finance: every purchase must be carefully planned to avoid unnecessary expenses.

Can The Item Be Returned?

Ideally, the best solution to the problem of buying an item you can’t afford is to return it for a full refund. However, depending on the item and how long ago it was purchased, you may find yourself unable to obtain a full refund for the item you bought.

Fortunately, the Consumer Protection Act does allow consumers to return items under certain conditions:

  • If you bought an item as a result of direct marketing, you have a period of 5 days from the date of delivery to return the goods for a full refund.
  • If you did not have an opportunity to view the actual goods before you purchased them, you can also return the items for a full refund. This is especially useful for items which seemed great in a catalogue or on a website but do not meet the same standards in reality.

Unfortunately, any other items which were purchased and delivered in good condition cannot automatically be returned.

4 thoughts on “Buyer’s Remorse – What to do if you’ve purchased something you can’t afford

  1. I am about to purchase a motor vehicle (second hand) from a dealer who will finance the vehicle over 4 1/2 years, with a 25% deposit. Although we have test driven the vehicle, there were a number of things to be repaired, which the dealer undertakes to do. The vehicle is high mileage and we have no way of knowing what is the oil consumption, for example, or what other latent defects are present. If, after using the vehicle for, say, two weeks, we discover that there are major problems, can we ask the dealer to take the car back and replace it with another one?

    • I put this question to our Attorney, Barry Gregg of Michael Matthews and associates. This is his reply.

      “If it is found that there are latent defects one can sue for either return of the vehicle or for payment of a reduced price. One could also claim repair or replacement in terms of the Consumer Protection Act, if the vehicle is found to be defective and if the act is applicable.”

      Let me add a final warning of my own. Having the legal right to do something does not always mean you can enforce it without further expenditure.

  2. I have put in an OTP for a house without doing my sums correctly.
    I have since realised i wont afford it based on my income and expenses. I am the single breadwinner. I then communicated this to the agent and said i cant afford it.

    The agent is now threatening me with legal action to pay the lost commission.

    what can i do? Am i protected by buyers remorse?

    • In your Offer to Purchase you should have put a clues that the offer was subject to bank finance. Should the bank decline the loan, you are off the hook.

      Avoid that agent. They are probably trying to scare you. What you have is not buyers remorse. It is a dose of realism.

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