Can You Rescind an Auto Purchase

How long do I have after a purchase to return the vehicle because of breach of contract?

How long do I have after a purchase to return the vehicle because of breach of contract?

Read full question
Bill's Answer
4.5
/5.0
(6 Votes)
Bills.com Team
Pro

By

Highlights


  • Learn about the common misconception of a "cooling off period."
  • Find what conditions a car sale contract can be voided.

Generally speaking, there is no time period during which you can return a vehicle and cancel the sale. The existence of this right, called a “cooling-off period,” is a common misconception among American consumers. Once you sign a purchase contract with a dealer, you are basically stuck with the car, unless you can prove that the dealer intentionally misled you about some aspect of the contract or vehicle, in which case you can sue the dealership and finance company in an attempt to have the contract voided. In real life, it is almost impossible to prove that a car salesman lied to you about a vehicle, as you likely have no written evidence to back up your claim. This type of case is basically your word against the dealer’s word, which makes proving wrongdoing very difficult. In addition, purchase agreements are usually written to favor the dealer, so establishing that the dealer breached the contract will likely be an uphill battle.

You will almost never find a dealership who will willing accept the return of a vehicle and the cancelation of a sale because the buyer alleges breach of contract or buyer’s remorse. If you believe that the dealership intentionally misled you about the terms of the contract or the condition of the vehicle, you can sue to have the contract voided, but proving these allegations will be difficult. I encourage you to seek the advice of an attorney if you feel that you may have a case against a dealership for breach of contract. An attorney licensed in your state will be able to advise you of the strengths and weaknesses of you case, and whether filing a lawsuit is appropriate.

I hope that the information I have provided helps you Find. Learn. Save.

Best,

Bill

www.bills.com

56 Comments

Recent Best
1500 characters remaining
  • AA
    Jun, 2012
    Ann
    We purchased a vehicle from a popular dealer here in Dallas and the internet price and price the salesman us was $11500. Upon looking on the paperwork today the price is $11988. Also we were told we had to buy gap insurance for $510 and in the contract it says we can cancel within 30 days. Then the finance manager told us that we had to buy a warranty agreement so the bank would finance us. That was $2500 and it is for Ford products. We did not buy a Ford product. Help in my mind we are paying $3498 more for the vehicle. We gave them a check for $2000 that they said they would hold until we could get the money out of my husbands 401-k. We love the vehicle but do not want to pay all these extra charges. We feel line we have been misled. What can we do?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Jun, 2012
      Bill
      Your story reminds me of the car dealer in the movie "Fargo" who tried to push the useless product Trucoat on his new-car customers. A mandatory extended warranty is Trucoat-like gimmick.

      Stop payment on the check immediately. Explain to the dealer you reviewed the contract, and believe it contains unfair, undisclosed fees for product that provide no benefit to you. Then find another dealer that will honor its offered prices, and will not pack your deal with flim-flam.
      0 Votes

  • ER
    Apr, 2012
    Evelyn
    My husband and I bought a jeep today. Online it was listed at one price (we have this document). We got home and was looking through the paperwork and realized they charged us $1500 more then what was on the internet. Husband said when he was signing the contract the salesman had his arm over the price showing him where to sign and he thought nothing of it. Is there anything we can do?
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Go back and talk to the dealer. You described a form of bait-and-switch, which is not allowed by most states laws. If the dealer does not refund the $1,500 or rescind the deal, then talk your state attorney general's office, and a private lawyer.
      0 Votes

  • TA
    Apr, 2012
    Trisha
    I bought a used BMW June 2011 the bill of sale says the car was black sapphire metallic. The day I bought the car, it was new on the lot and had not been washed so I did not get a good look at the paint, it appaeared to be black at the time. Long story short, my car is navy blue but I always thought the color was black sapphire metallic like the bill of sale says. I checked under the hood of my car today and the color is "Monaco Blue" NOT black. Is there anything I can do about this? The dealership sold me a car that they claimed was black and is not.
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Unlikely, in my opinion, if at the time of purchase you thought the car was black, and the dealer also mistakenly thought the color was black. In common law this is known as a "common mistake" problem where both the buyer and seller share the same mistaken idea about the condition or status of the item bought and sold. The question is whether the common mistake is material or significant. If, when you bought the car, you told the dealer you wanted to enter it into a "most black car" competition, or had an uncontrollable compulsion to buy only black items and would be inconsolable if your car was anything but black, then you have an argument to reverse the sale. If, on the other hand, you just think black cars are cool looking and always wanted one, or only a trained observer could tell the color is a shade off from black, then you may not have much of a case. Consult with a lawyer in your state who has consumer law experience to get a more precise opinion.
      0 Votes

  • DH
    Apr, 2012
    DEBBIE
    bought a car on 3/8/2012. the car said 1 owner, went sign papers, they added a fee of 1495.00 on to the sell price of the car. i didnt get to look over the car til I got it home in the day light. but it had a strong cleaning smell. I have allergies. so after finding some problems took the car back they fixed some but not all refused. i talked to my loan company 3 times and the they all told me to go in and ask for a flat cancel, also i asked them about the 1495.oo added o my loan that my loan company was suppose to be charging me they all said thy dont charge the last customer service rep filed a complaint about the car not gettin properly fixed and the charge of 1495.oo that is actually between the dealership and them for business. now the dealership has fixed almost everything the refused but is giving me a ring around the 1495.oo what can I do?? ( my car had baking soda in the trunk by the seats) there is so much to this story. also, It said one owner not rental return , I told them i wouldnt buy one of those cars after I signed the papers they told me. I did get a car fax. I tried to return the car twice now.
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Apr, 2012
      Bill
      Contact your state's Attorney General's office, to make a complaint. You may need to consult with an attorney, to see if you have a case against the dealer for deceiving you.
      0 Votes

  • FJ
    Mar, 2012
    freddie
    Can I go back on my car purchase if I signed the papers and made down pymnt but didnt take the car off the lot in the state of FL? This was yesterday and the salesperson just left a message on my phone about an hour ago stating he needs to ask me a few more questions before submitting my paperwork. thanks
    0 Votes

    • BA
      Mar, 2012
      Bill
      I assume that the salesperson is not willing to cancel the purchase and you have signed some type of contract. I recommend that you speak with an attorney regarding your rights to cancel the purchase. Bring to the meeting all the relevant documentation.
      0 Votes