How smart a consumer are you?
04/20/2012 | Are you a savvy consumer? Consider the following key indicators to gauge your level of competency when making purchases:
Is it a want or a need?
Savvy shoppers take the time to consider whether they are purchasing a product because they need it or want it. Think about the products and services you buy. Can you do without it? If so, then you don’t need it.
Become an informed shopper/Do your research.
Before buying goods or services, find out as much information as possible about the product or service and compare prices between the different stores that supply that product or service.
Especially when purchasing big ticket items such as cars, motorbikes and major appliances. If you are about to begin a construction project get at least three quotes first. It is worth the time and effort in the end.
Ask questions - a lot of questions. If you are purchasing a big ticket item, take the time to discuss your needs with the salesperson. Don’t let him/her talk you into purchasing something you don’t need and don’t buy something you don’t want or know how to use.
Check the Store Policy.
Stores set their own policies. Ask what they are before you purchase the product since there is no law that says the store policy must be displayed. Some stores have their policies printed on the receipts, or posted on a sign near the cash register. Returns, refunds and expiry dates on gift cards/certificates are almost always determined by the store policies unless the product you purchased was faulty.
Read before you sign.
This is the same as checking the store policies; don’t wait until after you have signed the contract to read it.
Get a quote.
“Estimate” means a representation, whether written or oral, indicating the likely price that will be charged in respect of consumer goods or services.
“Quote” means a written and signed representation setting out the actual price that will be charged in respect of consumer goods or services.
Keep receipts, invoices and contracts.
Always keep your receipts in case you have to return the product for an exchange or because it is defective. Refunds, returns, warranties, are easier to realize if you have the paperwork to back up your claim.
Before placing a special order, get an agreement in writing that clearly stipulates the terms and conditions of this purchase, with a detailed description of the items you are ordering and the delivery date.
In the event that the supplier does not deliver in a timely manner and/or according to the agreement, you are entitled to a full refund and the Consumer Protection Act 1999 stipulates that the vendor must refund the money within 30 days after it has been formally requested by the consumer.
Being a savvy and confident consumer doesn’t necessarily make you a competent consumer. Do your research, the information is out there.