Why You Shouldn’t Buy Technology Purely on Impulse

At this time of year it can be especially tempting to make an impulse purchase. Sure, sometimes you have to strike while the iron is hot to bag a great deal but have you really researched your purchase as thoroughly as you would normally do? You may not think that it is all that important to research an item you are thinking of buying before purchasing but I would say that this is actually one of the most important things you can do. Let’s consider one or two examples which highlight just where things could go wrong.

Buying a Smart TV

Smart TV’s have been extremely popular for some time now. Everybody wants to wirelessly access content and lots of people also have subscriptions to services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime. So when a Black Friday 50% off deal shows up on a Smart TV from a popular brand, the ‘Smart’ thing to do is to jump in and buy it, right? It may seem this way at first, until you read the product reviews that is.

I’m using Amazon Prime as an example in this post because it is a service which I am subscribed to but the following situation is not unique to Amazon Prime and could be true of many popular apps or services. Let’s say that you have just bought this fabulous Smart TV at a supposed bargain price. After reading the reviews however, you quickly discover that the particular make and model of television you have just bought is actually not compatible with the Amazon Instant Video service because the app to this service is not available on this particular model of television. This may not seem like a big deal to some people but if you are an Amazon Prime member then I think I can safely say that you are going to be pretty hacked off. If you are fortunate enough to discover this just after placing the order then perhaps you can cancel it and learn your lesson. If you discover it between the product being shipped and its arrival then you will have the hassle of arranging the return and you may still have to pay any initial and return delivery charges. If you discover the problem after installation however, then you might just find that you can’t return it at all as it doesn’t have a specific ‘fault’ and you may have to either put up with an item which – in your circumstances – isn’t really fit for purpose or instead you might have to sell it on privately to hopefully recoup some of your outlay.

Buying a printer

Another purchase which could cause you some headaches when bought on impulse is a printer. When you go shopping for a printer you will usually find that there are quite a few old models on sale as this is an area where technology tends to move on quickly. One thing you will often find with printers is that buying a ‘bargain’ machine doesn’t necessarily mean that you have bought a long term bargain. I say this because the operating costs of certain printers – especially ink costs – can vary greatly and could cost you a lot of money in the long run.

If a printer is on sale because it is being discontinued then it would also be wise to check whether the ink that feeds the printer is also being discontinued, as it might be difficult to obtain the ink in future if it is. You may be able to buy it online from companies who recycle ink cartridges or who manufacture replica’s but you are never guaranteed that these ink cartridges will be up to the standards of the manufacturers original ink.

Change in iPhone port designs

Don’t quote me 100% on this one because I’ve yet to jump on board with the iPhone but my friends all have them and I remember a few of them running into problems a couple of years ago, I think when the iPhone 5 was released. The reason that they were annoyed is that Apple decided to change the size of the dock connector on the iPhone 5, rendering all existing docking stations, chargers and other accessories obsolete. This may have been good news for the companies who manufacture these products as they would now have a whole new raft of products to sell to iPhone 5 users, but what about all of the old products that had not yet been sold? What would happen to these?

Well, they would have most likely ended up in the sale. As a consumer you might spot one of these products and buy it on impulse thinking that it is a great deal, only to find out that it is actually a bad purchase when the time came for you to upgrade your iPhone 4 to an iPhone 5. I’m not sure if some sort of adapter was created to overcome this issue but hopefully this example will help you to see how buying on impulse without researching a product and reading the recent reviews could actually cost you money in the long run.

In this tech generation all things need to be compatible

As I mentioned in a recent post, I recently picked up a couple of Kindle Fire’s in the current sales – hopefully I won’t fall victim to any of the problems I’ve mentioned so far in the coming months. :-)

As you buy more and more into this technological world one thing that becomes apparent is that all of the manufacturers of these products really do try and get you fixed into using their services. In my case I have noticed this with the Amazon Prime service but I know that it is also true of other services too. Since getting Amazon Prime I have made a few technology purchases. I didn’t buy these products because I had signed up for Amazon Prime, I would have bought them anyway. The fact that I am now an Amazon Prime member however has certainly affected the purchases that I’ve recently made, as when reading product reviews you quickly see that not all products have apps that are compatible with the Amazon Instant Video service. Having the service also made the Kindle more appealing over other similar tablets.

So how is this related to problems when buying on impulse? Similar to the problem with the iPhone port change, if you buy something on impulse only to find that it is not fully compatible with the services you are signed up for or even the other technology products that you currently own, then it could turn what looked like a bargain into a total waste of money instead. From my recent experience of jumping in at the technological deep end (Finally!), it is easy to see that buying incompatible products might not be the end of the world but it could easily have the potential to spoil or enhance your user experience.

It’s not just tech products either

It isn’t just tech products which can cause problems when bought on impulse either. There are many other products which – after manufacture – are discovered to be poorly made or not fit for purpose. If you take the time to read the reviews before purchasing you will often discover this fact. If you are buying on impulse because you see a supposed ‘great deal’ however, then you may discover the problems which have been highlighted with the product when it is already too late. Sure, you may be able to get a refund but it can be a lot of hassle returning the product and sometimes you order certain things at certain times because you need them for a certain date or event, an event which may have long passed by the time you get a product that you are finally happy with.

Have you ever bought ‘a bargain’ on impulse only to find that it was not the great deal it was cracked up to be?

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6 Responses to Why You Shouldn’t Buy Technology Purely on Impulse

  1. I just bought a new AC because I saw in the mall that they are having 30% less on that item. So I immediately grabbed it, but when I went home I noticed that the AC had a problem so when I told the dealer about it, they told me that was the last item they had and I need to pick another brand and unfortunately the new AC replacement had a higher price compared to the first one.
    Clarisse @ Make Money Your Way recently posted..Just forget about your investments already!My Profile

  2. We always do some serious research first. But we’re not the kind of people who need the latest and greatest. Spend when we need to, but that’s a rare occasion.
    FF @ Femme Frugality recently posted..Around the World in 80 Books: Sierra Leone and JerusalemMy Profile

    • Adam Buller says:

      Sounds pretty similar to me femme. I really don’t feel the need to ‘keep up’ but I also don’t mind spending a little from time to time. Even then I’ll be hunting for bargains :-)

  3. People buying new tvs need to be a little cautious when spending the money on a “smart” TV. If they have a blueray player, many of those have all the same smart TV functions built in, and there’s no reason to waste the money on a smart TV. My wife and I just bought a new TV and ensured we got a “non smart” TV given a.) we don’t use any of the services very often anyway and b.) our blueray player has it when we do want to use them.
    Brock @CleverDude recently posted..Dear Garbage Company: I’m Moving OnMy Profile

  4. I usually take my time when buying electronics. I’ve learned that you really have to take your time and compare features with other brands. You also need to read a lot of reviews as well because many times users will note things that are of importance that the manufacturer didn’t mention.
    Jon @ Money Smart Guides recently posted..16 Habits of Wealthy PeopleMy Profile

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