Being a better consumer is simply about identifying what you need and what your budget can afford. Needless to say, the constant rise of the middle class resulted to an overwhelming boost in consumerism. According to the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, such trend will “continue to rise over the foreseeable future.”
Given consumerism’s inevitable rise, it is essential that consumers become more educated when it comes to their buying decisions. Similarly, consumers should know their legal rights and consumer privileges.
Hence, below are four simple and practical tips on how one can become a better consumer.
1) Be cautious against cyber crimes and other scams
Cyber crimes and scams are among America’s list of fastest growing crimes. One of the most common and most damaging cyber crimes is the crime of identity theft. Identity thieves use data particularly credit card and social security numbers to commit fraudulent transactions that can damage your reputation and finances.
Smart consumers should be cautious against cyber crimes and scams. A smart consumer does not give his information freely to people he haven’t met personally. Another thing that consumers should remember when presented with an opportunity is that if it’s too good to be true – it probably is.
2) When buying a particular product, ask yourself if you really need to buy a new one
You should also avoid buying new products as much as possible. Brand new products depreciate and lose its value rapidly. Thus, buying brand new products is not necessarily the smartest thing to do. Consider buying secondhand products or borrowing or sharing with friends and relatives.
There are also websites that serve as bartering platforms like Craigslist, Swap Treasures, U-Exchange, Swap.com and BarterQuest.
3) Read company guidelines on warranty statements, refund policies and sales contracts
It is also imperative that consumers read and understand the company’s guidelines particularly those that directly involve their purchases. They should understand their transactions’ warranty statements, refund policies and sales contracts.
4) Browse the Internet for consumer reviews; ask friends and relatives for recommendations
With the advent of the Internet, gathering valuable consumer information has become much easier nowadays. There are a lot of consumer review websites where one can get information regarding the quality, price, specifications and the buying experiences of other consumers.
Smart consumers also often ask their friends and relatives for their own personal preferences and opinions, or for possible recommendations when buying a particular product.