Five buying tips to become an informed consumer in 2014


The beginning of a new year is always a favorable moment to make assessments and to take resolutions. And if, in 2014, one of your resolutions were to become a consumer more informed? Here you will find 5 basic tips to buy in an enlightened way and to avoid bad surprises…

Buying Tip #1: Evaluate your needs and make a budget

It exist organizations which offer services of budgetary consultation for free. They can help you to do and manage your budget and to advise you to solve your financial problems.

These organizations can be found on the Internet, here are some of the most helpful:

Buying Tip #2: Take the time to think before making a purchase or to sign a contract

When it comes to buying a good or obtaining a service, give it some time for thought:

  • Seek advice from your close friends and relatives.
  • Compare the offers from different traders.
  • Ask the salesmen questions.
  • Attentively read all documentation related to the good or the service (online information of the shop itself, advertisements, contract, etc).

If you wish to obtain evaluations, reviews, comparative analyses or tests of products, you can visit sites online specialized in product reviews and you can consult magazines at your library.

Buying Tip #3: Keep in mind that the goods that you buy are covered by legal warranties (free)

Before paying for an additional guarantee (sometimes called “extended warranty”), remember that any purchased good from a merchant is covered by warranties according by the law.

Does a merchant suggest you to buy an additional warranty? Before doing it, he must inform you on the free warranties that exist.

Buying Tip #4: Get informed on the conditions for replacement and refunding

Do you believe that it is enough to just return over a good which you do not want any more in the 10 days following the purchase and that the merchant will refund you? The reality is very different: the cases where the Law for the consumer protection enables you to cancel a purchase because you changed your mind are rare.

The law does not oblige the seller to refund you an article of which you do not want any more, to exchange it or to give you a buying coupon. They are not obliged to have an exchange and refunding policy.

If they choose to have one, they are free to fix the conditions. On the other hand, they are held to comply with the rules that they envisaged accordingly.

Buying Tip #5: Keep all invoices, receipts, contracts, document of a warranty, etc

When you buy a product, keep the invoice or receipt, the maintenance/user manual as well as the document referring to the warranty. That will facilitate a possible return and will help you to take advantage of your rights in the event of a problem. It is recommended to make a copy of the receipt or the invoice. In the course of time, the contents of the original invoice could become illegible.

The Internet: a tool impossible to circumvent

A last practice to take this year? Visit Web sites! You will find many advices and reviews before buying. Many product review sites have also a mobile version of their sites. It is a question of a practical tool to consult in store, to obtain information and to take advantage of your rights at once.