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Especially after an anticipated purchase, no one wants to feel like they have wasted their money on something that doesn’t work, doesn’t fit, or could have been purchased somewhere else for less. Lawyers.com offers five steps to make sure you make a good buying decision.

  1. Collect information from a variety of sources when researching a product. Never put all your eggs in one reviewer’s basket, because you never know where that basket’s been. Diversify both the advice you take and from where you retrieve that advice. Find a review site you can trust.
  2. Highly emotional reviews, either negative or positive, are a red flag. Look for reviews that are objective and balanced. Find reviews that focus on a few positive and negative aspects. After all, what one person finds as a negative might be an attribute to you – like a restaurant that is (or isn’t) kid-friendly.
  3. Trust those closest to you the most. Always tap into your inner circle of friends and family for advice. They know your personal style or needs and, at the same time, have your best interest in mind. It’s old school, but you might find the best advice by making a phone call or walking across the street.
  4. When visiting a retail spot or business, talk to other customers and employees. Be sure to ask about warranties and return policies especially when dealing with large purchases. Take note in the ease in dealing with the sales staff. Sometimes it’s great to support a small local retailer, even if their prices are a tad bit higher, because there’s absolutely nothing more frustrating when you feel like a faceless number trying to get something fixed – particularly when it’s big, new and expensive.
  5. For major purchases that have a significant impact on your life, be sure to research companies and products through an unbiased source such as the Federal Trade Commission.

Finally, if you have either a great or horrible buying experience, be sure to document your experiences along the way. We all need to be vigilant in not only our research, but also follow-up. It’s a sort of Pay-It-Forward for the buying cycle.