Buyers' remorse prevalent in car shopping, AutoTrader finds

(November 29, 2014) ATLANTA — Black Friday typically kicks off the year-end deal season for car shoppers, but new data from suggests that many of these consumers may end up regretting their purchase decision.

According to a series of surveys hosted on the car shopping website, 69 percent of consumers have experienced buyer's remorse after purchasing a car. Among consumers who experienced buyer's remorse in the past, the most common reason for regretting the purchase decision was because the car had mechanical issues. Other reasons included that they felt the car was too expensive or a bad deal, it was an impulse purchase or the car didn't have the features they wanted.

"On big shopping days like Black Friday, 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, AutoTrader site editor. "In addition to hunting for a good value, consumers should search for a car that suits their lifestyle 365 days of the year."

If a consumer decides that the car they drove off the lot isn't exactly their dream car, they may have limited recourse, but only 34 percent of consumers ask the dealer what the return policy is before they 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. It's always smart to at least ask," Moody says.

AutoTrader's expert editorial team say to avoid buyer's remorse, make sure to take your time, do your research and keep these tips in mind:

    Take a lengthy test drive on familiar roads
    Bring family members or a friend to shop with you
    Decide on a price limit before stepping foot on the lot
    Allow plenty of time to contemplate the decision before signing the papers