Avoid New Year’s Eve buyer’s remorse with these five car-shopping tips


122615 SC Avoid New Year's Eve Buyer's Remorse_trustedchoice.com

New Year’s Eve is the Black Friday of car sales.

Or at least something close to it.

Dealers are motivated to sell before time runs out on the current year and shoppers can take advantage.

“Even when sales are strong in the first 11 months of the year, dealers push in December to meet or exceed their goals,” according to AutoTrader.com, a car-research web site and marketplace.

But don’t let your rush to get a bargain on New Year’s Eve make you do something you really shouldn’t.

“On big shopping days … consumers can get caught up in the excitement of a good deal, sometimes at the expense of their needs, wants and budget,” said Brian Moody of AutoTrader. “In addition to hunting for a good value, consumers should search for a car that suits their lifestyle 365 days of the year.”

Failure to do so can result in buyer’s remorse, which you really don’t want starting out the new year. And you can be sure the dealer who sells you a new vehicle doesn’t want that, either.

But, a series of surveys hosted on the website in October and November showed that “69 percent of consumers have experienced buyer’s remorse after purchasing a car.” Among them, shoppers who said the car was too expensive or a bad deal, an impulse purchase or didn’t have the features they wanted.

So, what sort of resource would we be without providing some ideas on how to avoid buyer’s remorse?

In addition to taking your time and doing your research, AutoTrader suggests the following:

  • Take a lengthy test drive on familiar roads.
  • Bring family members or a friend to shop with you.
  • Decide on a price limit before setting foot on a dealer’s lot.
  • Allow plenty of time to contemplate the decision before signing the papers.
  • Ask the dealer what the return policy is before you buy.

“If you realize very quickly after driving off the lot that the car isn’t right for you – meaning, within hours – in some cases, you may have a chance to change your mind, since some dealers do offer a 24-hour return policy,” Moody said. “It’s always smart to at least ask.”

Shopping for and buying a new vehicle during the holidays can be exciting, but don’t get so caught up in the spirit of the season that you’ll regret a purchase decision in the new year.

See the Santander Consumer USA blog for more news on auto-, auto-finance and SCUSA-related topics.