The 10 Biggest Regrets of Online Shoppers

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Upset woman with a package
Prostock-studio /

We all know the feeling: Flush with excitement, you purchase an item — only to wonder later what the heck you were thinking.

Sometimes, it is the item itself that provokes second thoughts. In other situations, it is the circumstances surrounding the purchase that give you pause.

Recently, the website Slickdeals polled 2,000 adults and asked them to name their biggest online shopping regrets. Following are their answers.

10. Not getting a different color/size

a shopper regrets a purchase
Prostock-studio /

Respondents who share this regret: 26%

The color seemed perfect when you spied it on your phone or computer screen. But when you unbox and don the new duds, the magic quickly disappears.

Choosing the wrong color or size isn’t usually a problem when you can try on items at the mall, but it can feel like a guessing game online. And while many online retailers try to make returns and exchanges simple, having to mail your purchase back can feel like a pain.

9. Not buying a protection/insurance plan

Woman with broken cell phone
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Respondents who share this regret: 26%

A great deal on an online purchase doesn’t mean much if the item breaks down or if your own carelessness sends it to the trash heap.

It’s natural to wish you had bought a protection plan when something goes awry. But that doesn’t mean you made a mistake to forsake coverage. For more, check out “9 Types of Insurance That Might Be a Waste of Money.”

8. Missing the return window

A young man slaps his head and cringes with regret over a stupid mistake
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Respondents who share this regret: 28%

Want to return an item? Typically, it’s no big deal. Unless you miss the return window.

For those of us who regularly fall prey to the sin of procrastination — guilty as charged — this outcome is all too familiar.

7. Finding the item on sale after the fact

Woman unhappy about a sale
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Respondents who share this regret: 30%

It’s easy to strut around town, confident you have scored the deal of the century — until you see the same item being hawked online for 20% less a few weeks later.

Sometimes, you can convince the retailer to make up the difference between what you paid and the new price. For instance, Target will price match a lower price from a competitor within 14 days of a sale. Other times, you’re simply out of luck.

6. Finding a promo code after the fact

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Respondents who share this regret: 31%

The internet is a vast universe of information. Finding the right promo code isn’t always easy. But as we have reported, simply following your favorite stores online can eliminate many of these missed opportunities:

“Many major stores will text you a coupon if you sign up to receive their promotional emails. And you can collect coupons and learn about special sales by following the stores you like on social media.”

It also helps to use a free deal-seeking browser extension such as Honey. For more, check out “10 Clothes Shopping Mistakes That Are Costing You.”

5. Having to pay for return shipping

Woman upset by package
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Respondents who share this regret: 31%

We’ve gotten so used to free shipping — thanks, Amazon — that most of us hate the thought of ever paying to have something sent to us.

Having to pay to return something is even worse, as nearly one-third of shoppers will attest.

4. Finding a better brand/version of the product

Woman shopping on Amazon
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Respondents who share this regret: 32%

Trying to keep up with the latest and greatest versions of an item is a recipe for unhappiness and a surefire way to derail dreams of financial independence.

But sometimes, a newer or alternative item clearly is better than the version you bought. That stings.

3. Spending too much money

Upset man with empty wallet
Mallika Home Studio /

Respondents who share this regret: 32%

One of the true dangers of online shopping is that it’s all too easy. If your favorite retailers have stored your credit card info, it’s simple to spot something you like and have it paid for and on the way to your home in just seconds.

So it’s no surprise that so many shoppers have this regret.

2. Used product less frequently than expected

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Respondents who share this regret: 34%

Sometimes, a purchase we expected to wear out instead sits in a corner collecting dust.

“Buyer’s remorse” is such a human experience that it seems to be built into our genes. Perhaps dropping Amazon Prime will help you to avoid the impulse purchases that lead to regret.

For tips on taking this big step, check out “Ditching Amazon Prime? 4 Smart Ways to Live Without It.”

1. Feeling like the item value is less than expected for the cost

Woman unhappy with her food processor
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Respondents who share this regret: 39%

Smart shoppers compare items to find the best brands at the right price. Some go the extra mile and read reviews from experts and shoppers alike.

After all that legwork, you still can end up with a pig in a poke. And online shoppers say nothing is worse than that feeling.

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