Car Buyer’s Remorse: How to Get Over It (Or Get a Refund)

Vehicle buyer’s remorse is an all-too-real issue that can affect any of us, no matter how prepared we feel we may be.

Sometimes it’s simply a matter of letting your head get the best of you. Other times it’s a warranted response to a transaction that never should have happened.

This quick little guide will hopefully help you deal with some of the negative emotions that can arise after a big vehicle purchase.

How Buyer’s Remorse Begins

You saw the car you wanted, you saved up some money to get the ball rolling, and now you believe that it’s almost time for the new purchase. At this point, many people will pull the trigger without much further thought, and buy the car based on impulsive desires.

The other lot of people will, statistically, do some more research on the car they have in mind, look around for better deals, and overall put a more considerable amount of thought into the idea.

From an outside perspective, it’s very easy to tell which group of people will likely have an easier time dealing with their newest car purchase. But, even if we take all of the right steps beforehand, things can STILL go bad, whether it be in our own control or not, leaving us upset we ever even considered buying a new car in the first place.

With base knowledge and some extra research, knowing how to minimize the likelihood of buyer’s remorse and knowing what to do in situations where car sales go wrong can prove to be very beneficial in the whole process. 

Why We Come Face-to-Face With Buyer’s Remorse

Whether it has been a car purchase, or a purchase of another nature, it is very likely that almost all of us have ran into a case of buyer’s remorse at some point. We thought we knew all of the facts and repercussions involved, but we just didn’t.

The feeling of buyer’s remorse stems off of the psychological torment we face when we believe that we just did something that goes against who we really are. We were rushed by our impulsive desires and approaching motivation, only to push aside the things we know we should avoid, such as adding on to existing debt, and making big purchases without much research taking place beforehand.

After the purchase, we can experience this sense of doom, where it is hard to feel free, mentally and physically, knowing that you are bound to the contractual payments and as-needed maintenance fees. For years to come, we may be stuck paying for an item that we didn’t want, even a few weeks after buying it.

Feeding into impulses is something we all do; some just may be more quicker than others to do it. Sometimes, it’s not even our impulses that get the best of us; perhaps you feel that you were wronged in the car-buying process because of the car salesman’s shady tactics, or the vehicle you buy happens to be defective, regardless of the dealership’s denial of your claims.

Keeping this in mind, there are things you can deliberately do and practice to help avoid the feeling of helplessness that often accompanies big purchases, and to help you deal with a sale that just happened to go wrong. 

What To Do When Faced With Car Buyer’s Remorse

In the case that you simply regret buying the car, can not afford its payments, and were not wronged in any sort of way by the dealership, it is highly unlikely that they will agree to cancel the contract and take the car back.

But, this does not mean it’s the end of the road for you, and that you are doomed. There are options out there to receive help, or actions you can take to help you get out of the rut you believe you are in. Steps you can take include, but are not limited to;

  • Attempting to work out a deal with dealership, switching to lower end model
  • Selling the car yourself, or look for trade-in value at different dealership
  • Look For Third Party Help, Such As Consumer Advocates
  • Receiving Protection From Laws, i.e.) California’s Contract Cancellation Option Agreement, Giving You Two Days To Return Car Bought For Under $40K
  • Attempt Receiving Protection From the Fair Credit Billing Act (FCBA), Which Allows You To Possibly Receive Compensation For items bought on a credit card that did not live up to your hopes and standards

It isn’t ideal to feel chained down to an inanimate object, but is very likely that the feeling of extreme remorse you experience is temporary, and you will learn to deal with it over time.

Coping with buyer’s remorse can be a lesson in itself. Wanting to avoid this feeling in the future, it would be wise to practice patience and good judgement when making big purchases down the road, as opposed to letting the feeling of instant gratification that’s just within reach take over. 

In The Case You Believe You Were Wronged / Bought Defective Car

There are consistent cases of fraud against car dealerships, shady tactics practiced by salesman, and cars bought by consumers that happen to be defective in one way or another.

If you happen to believe you were subject to one or more of these cases, there are certainly steps you can take to help you receive compensation, or get the car off of your hands in general.

As a principle, leading up to the initial purchase, during it, and everything that follows, keep all forms of documentation that have anything to deal with your purchase. Any of these could prove to be valuable in your case.

Gather all of your documentation, and arrange a meeting with the managers of the dealership. In a calm manner, present your case and explain what you believe is wrong with the car, and how it was a problem prior to your purchase.

Cases of failure to live up to the contractual agreement on the dealerships part, as well as accusations of fraud and immoral sales tactics can be filed as a formal complaint at your state Attorney General office.

As for defective cars, laws known as Lemon Laws help to protect consumers in cases of purchasing a vehicle that is defective. As these laws vary state by state, they can help you to receive compensation, get your car fixed, or have it returned if reported within a certain time frame.

As mentioned earlier, looking to receive help from the FCBA is worthwhile, and even more likely to be granted in this case due to a faulty product right from the dealership, prior to any consumer use. 

Proactive Spending Tips To Avoid Car Buyer’s Remorse

Consider these things when making any vehicle purchase:

  • Looking For The Best Possible Deal In Your Area
  • Interest Rates on Car Loans 
  • Specs / Features You’re Most Concerned With
  • Gas Mileage
  • Odometer Mileage
  • Car Facts / History Report
  • Slightly Older, More Affordable Models Rather Than New
  • Reviews On Desired Car Dealership
  • Adjustment In Your Insurance Rates

As these aspects mostly pertain to buying a car, any big purchase should be met with just as many concerns, taking into consideration all possible factors and ways of enhancing your buying experience. Taking the time out of your schedule to research may be a bit irritating, but you will likely be very glad you put in the time after your purchase.

In preparation of buying a car, perhaps it wouldn’t be the worst idea to write down a list of must-have features in your desired car, the most you’re willing to spend, and the maximum amount of miles you’re comfortable with.

Having this written down and sticking to it will help you to focus in on your realistic options, keeping away from becoming distracted by cars you can’t afford, or just don’t necessarily need. 

Take Your Time, And You Should Be Fine

It truly isn’t a fun feeling to become anxious and uncomfortable with a purchase you were very excited to make not much earlier. In order to avoid this, the best thing to do would be to take your time, think it over, do the proper research involving the various aspects, and to make sure you are financially capable of supporting the purchase.

After practicing patience, you will be more than glad that you took the time to seek out the best option available. If you happen to be currently dealing with buyer’s remorse, take into consideration the steps and advice listed above, as well as seeking help from friends, family, consumer advocates and governmental agencies.

And most importantly, remember that it’s okay to trust yourself when you’ve made a big purchase after careful research and consideration!

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