I bought a car and now I’ve changed my mind

Car buying advice
If you have bought a car and now changed your mind, can you get a refund?

Buyer’s Remorse is very common in the car industry. You signed on the dotted line for a car. Maybe you rushed into it, getting carried away in the showroom. Or perhaps you bought one car and then spotted a better one advertised cheaper elsewhere – and now you’ve changed your mind. What can you do about it? 

On the TCE forum, Chris asked: “I recently went to purchase a new vehicle & paid £250 deposit to ‘hold’ the vehicle. The following morning I no longer wished to purchase the vehicle as I had found a much better offer. I called them up, explained the situation and asked for my deposit back but they refused. Am I entitled to get my deposit back?”

Buying a car in the UK differs from most retail industries in that you don’t usually choose your car, pay for it and drive it home on the spot. Finance, insurance and registration requirements mean there’s usually a gap of up to a week before you collect your new pride and joy. In fact, it can be much longer if you are ordering a new car from the factory rather than buying one in stock.

This waiting period often leads to the buyer reflecting on the enormity of the money they are spending, and starting to question whether or not it is a good idea. Once these thoughts start creeping in, buyers often start looking for ways to get out of their new car purchase.

If this sounds like you, then what are your options and what rights do you have?

The answer depends on whether you have bought a car from a dealership in person, bought it from a dealer via phone/internet (“distance selling”) or bought it privately.

A deposit on a vehicle purchase from a car dealer is not normally refundable

I bought a car from a private seller

Let’s deal with the last one first. If you have bought the car privately, you basically have no rights and no protections. Simples. You can go back to the owner and ask them nicely to take the car back for a full refund, but this has probably never happened in the history of mankind.

I bought a car from a dealership

If you bought a car from a dealership, your cancellation and refund rights are different if you are buying in person or buying via phone/online (distance selling).

To buy a new or used car from a dealership, you generally need to do two things:

  1. Sign a vehicle order form (which is a binding contract)
  2. Pay a deposit.

Once you have done these two things, you have committed to buying the car. The dealer takes the car off sale so no-one else can buy it, and you arrange to make payment for the vehicle before taking possession of it.

When you sign a vehicle order form, you are signing a legal contract to buy that vehicle. You are committing to purchase the vehicle at the price shown, with any extras listed on the order and subject to any caveats listed on the order.

If you are part-exchanging your old car, you are contracting to sell the car as presented to the dealer at the price listed.

Buying a car in person from a dealership
A vehicle order signed on the dealer’s premises has no cooling-off period. Once you sign it, you are legally committed to everything shown on the form.

Obviously you have consumer rights that allow you to return a faulty car for a full refund. But you don’t have the legal right to simply change your mind either before or after taking delivery. You have signed a contract and you are expected to fulfil it.

A dealer may be prepared to negotiate changes to the contract in order to keep you from walking away. But they do have the moral high ground here as it’s you who wants to change the contract.

Buying a car at a distance or off-premises
If you are buying a car over the phone or online, which can be quite common if you are buying a car located in a different part of the country, then you do have more legal protection. The same applies if you are buying a car off-premises (eg – a dealer brings a car to your house and you sign a vehicle order there).

The same applies if you are buying a car off-premises. For example, a dealer might bring a car to your house and you sign a vehicle order there, rather than you going to the dealership.

In a nutshell, you have the right to cancel from the moment an order is placed until 14 days after taking delivery of the car. It doesn’t matter if it’s a new or used car, the law is the same.

The dealer must provide you with details of their returns/cancellation policy. They must also explain who pays for the cost of returning the car if you change your mind. Their policy may include charges for returning/collecting the vehicle, but they must provide you with this information up front. You are liable for any damage you cause to the car.

What is important with regard to Distance or Off-Premises Selling is that the specific act of sale must be done at a distance. This means that you and the dealer both have to sign a contract without you setting foot on their premises.

Many dealers will try and avoid this by taking a deposit to “hold the vehicle”, or sign a draft contract “subject to viewing the vehicle”. Then the final contract is only signed when you trek over to collect the car. The new contract supercedes the old, and vehicle is technically sold on the premises rather than at a distance.

Dealers often use this technique to try and avoid their cancellation obligations under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, which replaced the old Distance Selling Regulations.

What does this mean in the real world?

In reality, rather than legal theory, there’s very little that a dealer can do if you walk away from the contract before you have taken delivery of the car (after you take delivery of the car, it’s a different story).

The dealer could try and take you to court to force you to pay for the car and take it, but that would probably cost them more than the profit they would make on the sale. Which is the reason for…

Your deposit

When you sign a vehicle order, you will be usually be expected to put down about 10% of the purchase price – or at least a reasonably hefty sum of money that you wouldn’t want to lose. There’s no legal requirement for this, but it’s standard practice.

A dealer incurs costs in preparing a car for sale, processing paperwork and taxing the vehicle. They are not going to start spending money getting your car ready without a significant financial commitment from you, especially when they know you can walk away from your contract without any real repercussions.

Once you pay a deposit on a car, you are committing yourself far more than simply signing a piece of paper. The deposit is usually non-refundable, so it is a way of holding you to your purchase if you start to waver.

A deposit is also used as a way of forcing a commitment from an undecided customer. If you are looking at a nice car at a dealership, but want time to think it over or get your finances in place, the dealer will often offer you the chance to put down a deposit to “hold” the car.

Don’t be fooled. Once you give a car dealer your money, you’ll have to fight to ever get it back again.

Cancelling your order – what rights do you have?

If you signed the vehicle order on premises and later change your mind, the dealer is within their rights to keep your deposit – or at least any monies that they have spent on getting your car ready.

But they can’t really force you to pay the remainder and take the car, so at worst you walk away having lost a few hundred or a couple of thousand pounds.

You can fight them to try and get your money back, and if you battle long and hard enough you will probably get there, but it won’t be easy.

If you are buying at a distance or off-premises, then you are entitled to your full deposit back, regardless of your reasons or any money the dealer has spent.

If there is a clause in the contract that the dealer has not fulfilled, or the car is not as advertised, then you are entitled to cancel the contract and have your deposit returned. For example, the car was advertised as having 30,000 miles on it but turned out to actually have 60,000 miles on the clock when you got it. Or if the purchase was subject to any condition noted on the contract that was not met.

If the contract cannot be completed so you are unable to take delivery of the car, then you are entitled to get your deposit back. For example, you ordered a car from the dealer, but the dealer was unable to get the car from the manufacturer because production ended.

This also applies if the price goes up. If the dealer cannot honour the original contract because of a price rise from the manufacturer, and you refuse to pay the increased price, they can cancel the contract and refund your deposit.

The same applies if you fail a finance application. If a dealer takes a deposit from you before your finance has been approved, they will usually give you your money back with no problems if that application is rejected.


It’s very simple. Don’t sign a vehicle order or pay a deposit for a car if you are not 100% comfortable being held to it.

If you are unsure about anything, or want to sleep on it, then do so before signing or paying a deposit.

Even if a salesman promises that your deposit is fully refundable, you will probably still have a fight on your hands to get it back.

Don’t be talked into signing or paying unless you are sure that it is what you want. Then once you have signed your life away, do yourself a favour and stop combing the internet looking for a better deal!

You should definitely read: The Car Expert’s ten golden rules for buying a car

Stuart Masson
Stuart is the Editor of The Car Expert, which he founded in 2011, and our new sister site The Van Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the car industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.


  1. My wife and I approached our local caravan/motorhome dealer with the intention of purchasing a new motorhome, this was in March2014. We were undecided on the model as there are so many different layouts and paying out the sum of money requested was something we did not want to rush into. The money going towards the payment of the motorhome would be coming from my pension which I would be receiving in October 2014, the dealer was well aware of our circumstances and said he would take our caravan as a part exchange and offered us £9250.00 which we accepted. The caravan was sold by the dealer at a profit before the end of March 2014.
    The company still have my deposit from the sale of my caravan, I did sign a contract to say that the caravan was used as part exchange for a motorhome but we still have not decided on model or delivery of the vehicle. My pension fund was going to be used to back up our purchase but unfortunately the projected figures did not materialise, I informed the dealer by letter of the problem and told him that I would like to cancel the contract as I was in no position to proceed. I received a letter from the dealer informing me that I have lost my deposit or it could be used against any other of the vehicles he had on his forecourt. I have explained my situation with my initial letter. He has had my deposit since March which has been gaining interest and I have been informed to buy something that I don’t want or lose your deposit. Can you please tell me where I stand.

  2. stuart

    Hi Eddie. It is going to depend on the legal legitimacy of the contract you signed with the dealership. You will need to speak to a lawyer to get advice. I suspect that you will be able to get your deposit back or some kind of settlement, but that it will cost you some legal fees along the way.

  3. I think I got flashed but I was going slow another car passed me then I got flashed

  4. stuart

    Hi Brian. To be able to prosecute you, the police have to be confident it was definitely you exceeding the speed limit. If there are two cars in the photo, chances are they won’t be able to send out a fine to either of you. If you do get a notice and you know that you were under the speed limit, you will be able to challenge it. I think that you have either posted this comment under the wrong article, or if not then you should read this.

  5. Thanks

  6. I recently visited a dealership looking at cars. I found a car i liked the look of but not too keen on the colour. I looked on the dealership website and found exact same model in a colour i liked. It was based over 100 miles away but the dealer said they could transport it to their premises for me to have a look at. I was told i had to sign a order and pay £200 to show i was serious. The car came, i test drove it and liked it. I was going to buy it but overnight my circumstances changed which meant i no longer had the funds to buy the car. I informed the dealer who said they had sent of v5 to register in my name (always thought i had to sign this before it was sent). My questions are,

    – Dealer is pestering me and i get the impression they saying i agreed to buy the car which i didnt unless saying you like something means you are buying it. What could i expect?

    – £200 deposit paid, is this refundable? Surely for it to be non-refundable it has to say this on the order form? Salesman told me it was 100% refundable.

    – What rights do i generally have re the above situation and can they claim costs against me?

  7. stuart

    Hi Dave. Since you never visited the dealership, this falls under Distance Selling. As per the link in the article above, you are absolutely entitled to cancel the order and get your money back. They can only claim costs if they were set out in the contract. By the sounds of it, there was nothing discussed or written down, so you can have your full £200 back.

  8. Stuart,

    Thanks for the reply. I signed an order in the dealership but the car was at another location.

    I went in to see the manager at the weekend who basically said the car was mine as they had bought the car from the other branch. I informed him the sales rep told me the £200 was refundable if I did not want the car. Manger told me they didnt just bring a car up so I could look at it. I explained his staff were con men tdeposit ofknow, I know, salesmen are its their job to get the sale) and asked if the part where I could drive away and if I was not happy I could return within 5 days. Suprise suprise this was a lie too which resulted in him calling the sales rep over who suprise suprise denied it, cant blame him really as he would of lost his job im sure of admitted to it.

    So anyway the manager said he would keep my deposit to cover his costs, I kind of agree with him but so disappointed mainly with myself for falling into the trap. As said in original post they registered the car in my name without me even seeing it, which then resulted in me having to pay a further £200 deposit which i get back once i return the logbook. I have made sure this deposit makes reference to it being a refundable deposit on return of logbook. Should I chase me initial deposit with head office? I do not want him to come chasing me for full payment of the car.

    Any suggestions will be much appreciated


  9. stuart

    Hi Dave. You may as well chase Head Office, and complain at the way you have been treated. At the end of the day, you did sign an order and pay a deposit, so you did buy the car. A complaint to their Head Office regarding the way they do business is the best chance of getting your £200 back, since it appears unlikely the dealer will refund it of their own volition.

  10. Hello Stuart,

    Just had a bit of a nasty shock. I agreed with car dealership over the phone to buy a 1.2 huyndai i10 on PCP. I was happy with the deal they offered and accepted and gave a deposit. A week later I went to the garage and signed the finance agreement. I read the agreement terms and conditions and understood what I was signing for and I was still happy with the agreement. I am due to collect the car tomorrow so I was looking up insurance quotes when I suddenly realised that on the agreement it says the engine size is 1.0 not the 1.2 as agreed over the telephone. I feel like I’ve been tricked as when I went into sign I assumed the car was as requested as all the figures they had quoted me were the same as over the telephone where I had reiterated several times so this offer is for the 1.2 i10 in metallic grey and I know that Its not something I would have skimmed over as I test drove the 1.0 and the 1.2 and knew that I definitely did not want a 1.0. This is my first car buying experience and it has not been a good one so far. I feel ridiculous for missing such an integral specification on the documents. The only excuse i have is that I thought the deal had been done and the finance was a matter of finalising the payment. I am waiting until the garage is open to contact them on this matter.

    Any advice on how to possibly resolve this situation (I am assuming that the garage is going to deny me ever asking for a 1.2 and is not going to let me go back on the agreement easily)
    would be greatly appreciated.

    Thank you

  11. stuart

    Hi Chloe. Unfortunately you have left it a bit late to notice this problem with your vehicle order, which means that it will probably take a bit of untangling. However, it is important that you stick to your guns and don't get pressured into accepting something that you do not want.

    First thing to check is what is on the vehicle order form. If the finance agreement is for a 1.0 model, then the vehicle order should say the same, but check it anyway. If the vehicle order says 1.2, then happy days and the finance docs will simply need to be redone. However this is unlikely, as finance companies won't normally pay out unless the vehicle order form matches the agreement (ie – they both say it's a 1.0 model).

    You will need to be very clear to both the dealership and the finance company that you specifically wanted a 1.2 litre engine and not a 1.0. This does not absolve you of all responsibility, as you have signed (presumably) a vehicle order and a finance agreement for a 1.0 litre engine model. If you are collecting the car tomorrow then it is possible that the car has already been registered in your name, which means that the dealership really won't like having to untangle that mess with the DVLA. Make sure you talk to the dealer first thing in the morning and they may not have taxed the car yet, which will help matters.

    If you make it clear that you do want a car from the dealership and the finance company but they have got the wrong car, then it should be resolvable. It would be different if you were trying to get out of the purchase altogether. If you are not getting anywhere with the Sales Executive and Finance Manager, then insist on speaking to the Sales Manager or the General Manager. If they won't help, then call the finance company (probably Hyundai Finance but not necessarily) and explain that the dealership has mis-sold you the car and finance. You can even call Hyundai Head Office (if you are buying from a Hyundai dealership) and complain to them. Just remember to be calm but clear, and refuse to accept the car or sign anything at all for the car. It may take some time to sort out, but these things happen and can be worked out. They should still want to keep you as a customer so they should be able to help you. Good luck.

  12. Hi Stuart, I ordered a new car through a broker in July with an estimated delivery date of October 14. At the time of ordering, the agreed future value of the car was £14500 after 4 years and 60,000 miles; however, the car will now not be ready to collect until Feb 15. The guaranteed future value of the car is now apparently £12200, meaning my monthly payments are significantly higher. Should the finance deal offered not be equal to the terms at the time the vehicle was ordered? I have paid £1000 deposit but have never signed a physical form other than an online form on the brokers website. I have also never visited the dealership. If the dealer refuses to honour the original future value, I’d be tempted to cancel. Firstly, should the dealer honour this? And would I be entitled to my deposit back if I cancelled the order? Thanks in advance. James

  13. stuart

    Hi James. Unfortunately you are unlikely to get the finance company to honour the originally advertised deal. All offers have an expiry date, and if the car is not delivered by that date then the offer is void. This should be made clear, both at the time of quoting and when ordering. Part of the problem with quotations and orders via brokers is that they often don't behave to the same standards that the dealers do – they are ultimately an intermediary, so you are still buying the car from the dealer and financing through the manufacturer's finance company. When I used to work for car dealerships I would often see deals advertised by brokers that we know they simply could not fulfil or that we couldn't match, but ultimately they have no accountability and conveniently blame any problems on the dealer, manufacturer or finance company.

    The dealer and finance company are certainly not going to honour any promises made by a broker, so if you are not happy with the offer as it currently stands (which may change again by February) then your best best would be to cancel the order and start again.

  14. Stuart,
    Many thanks for the reply. Would I lose my £1000 deposit if I were to cancel?
    Thanks again, James

  15. stuart

    You will need to check your contract to see if the broker is in breach. If you can show that they have breached their contract, you should be able to cancel it and get a full refund. However, if you can't show it then there's little chance they will give you your money back. Brokers are not bound to the manufacturers' standards like dealers are, so it can be very Wild West in terms of how they operate.

  16. Hi Stuart, I signed an order form for a personal lease car hire. The bottom of the form sates:

    “By signing this form you are entering into an Agency Contract (for the supply of services) and a Supply Contract (for the supply of goods). Gateway2Lease will act on your behalf to source the vehicle(s) described above. It is your responsibility to ensure the specification of this vehicle is suitable for your requirements. You will not have the right (under the Distance Selling Regulations) to cancel the Agency Contract once we have begun to source the vehicle(s). An agency fee equivalent to the initial rental (incl. VAT) is payable in the event of the supply contract being cancelled. On confirmation of this order you recognise that you waiver your right to a cooling off period under the consumer act 1974.”

    I have since received the finance terms and I don’t agree to a lot of them. I have marked up the finance agreement and returned it to the lease company who are saying that no changes to the terms are allowed and I would be liable for a £1500 cancellation charge. I was not able to see the finance terms before placing the order.

    Where do i stand on this?

  17. stuart

    Hi James. I think you stand at the start of a long argument if you ever want to get your money back. I don't know if they can enforce a waiving of your legal rights under the Distance Selling Regulations. I would have thought that if they can't provide a satisfactory finance agreement then the agreement would be void – especially if they were unable to provide a copy of the agreement before requiring an order. However, I don't expect they will have any intention of refunding your money.

    For future reference, avoid dodgy leasing/broking companies and stick to big names who provide better levels of service. Or go straight to the dealer, as the little leasing companies generally use the manufacturer finance companies anyway.

  18. Hi Stuart

    I agreed to part ex my car and pay additional £2000 on top. I have signed the order form and term and conditions.
    I have changed my mind and want to cancel as I have just found out I’m expecting and would like to wait to get a bigger car in the future. I still wish to sell my car to them.
    I went into the dealership to do this, but have not test driven the car.
    Will I get my £2000 deposit back minus any costs to them? I am due to pick up tomorrow. I haven’t given them the log book for my car yet

  19. stuart

    Hi Samantha, and congratulations on your good news. Unfortunately, if you are picking up the car tomorrow, there is a good chance that the dealer will have already registered it. They can probably undo this, but they will be highly unlikely to simply give you your £2000 back. They may also refuse to buy your car, or may reduce their offer, if you are not buying a car from them now. If you still want to buy a car from the same dealer but would like to choose a different car, you may be able to negotiate for them not to charge you anything for cancelling this order.

  20. Hi thank you, it was a used car order, and I have been to see them and they are going to refund me, I have to wait 5 days, but I am glad I didn’t purchase anything from them as their customer service is appalling! I’m selling my car elsewhere.

  21. stuart

    I think you’ve done well to get them to agree a full refund. Keep an eye on your bank account, as you may need to chase them up to get it actioned.

  22. Hi. I put 1,100 down on a car on dec 16th and was told I can drive it off the lot after I get the car insurance, however after I showed proof of car insurance the car dealer took my contract from me and demanded $450 more dollars down cause he said he changed his mind and wanted more money then I could take the car. I ask for the contract back he said not until I pay him more money, so I demanded my full refund back and he said no refunds. I ask for a refund back less then 24 hours of the down payment. Now he has the car, my deposit and contract and wont give me the refund. Is this legal? The car dealer also said I was financed from a bank, however when I contacted the bank they said they didn’t get that contract yet and I was not in there system. I eventually got the contract back after having someone demand it back for me, but no refund still. I even mailed out a certified letter demanding my full refund back to make sure they received my request. On my receipt it says non refundable deposit of 1,100 on the car if I don’t take delivery of the car purchased within 48 hours. Can I get my deposit back? Thanks

  23. stuart

    Hi Love. Yes, if things are as you say then the dealer is being a complete asshat and you should be able to get your money back. Unfortunately it is going to require you to do all the chasing work and he will presumably make it as difficult as possible.

    Contact the Citizens Advice Bureau for help, or get a lawyer, but it may take a while to get justice.

  24. Hi, I saw a land rover online that i liked and drove up to the ‘dealership’ that was selling it (A car park on his property). I paid a deposit towards the final value fee of the land rover, but did not sign any documents. I have a card receipt to prove who and how much i paid, but not what for. Do you think i would be entitled to my money back, as i have found a different vehicle elsewhere?

  25. stuart

    I’d say your chances of getting your money back are slim to none.

  26. Hi Stuart. A bit of a long story mine. Went to a dealership for a test drive for a brand new car being told a car will be ready for me. Went for the test drive only to be told that car available on show room only. Ended up paying £500 deposit but without agreeing if it was going to be cash buy or finance as it was late Sunday evening and agreed to go in a week time to finish paperwork. Few days later phoned another dealer who said they could find that car for me to test drive. Went and drove the car, liked it and signed a finance agreement with this dealer paying also a deposit as well. Rang first dealer the next day telling them that need to cancel as I agreed with other dealer about finance. They refuse to return my deposit now. What are my chances of getting my deposit back from first dealer? Both dealers sell same car and the car ordered is brand new vehicle.
    Thank you

  27. stuart

    Hi Roland. The first dealer has no reason to give you your money back. From their point of view, you decided to buy a car from them and paid a deposit. IF you have chosen to go and by another car from another business, that’s not really their problem. The most likely way you are going to get your deposit back is to kick and scream and generally be really annoying until they give you a refund just to get rid of you, but they have no legal obligation to give you a refund.

  28. Hi Stuart,

    I went to buy my first car at a dealership in person. Right there I agreed to put a deposit down on a car I test drove and then went back a few days after to purchase the car. Unfortunately I hadn’t change all of my details to my new address so have had to go away to change them before their bank will give me a loan on the car. I am therefore provisionally accepted for the finance and signed the documents there but haven’t actually paid for the car. Since then my personal situation has changed and I no longer want the car.

    My questions are, I only put 50 pound down on it which was a small amount. I don’t care about getting it back but will I have to pay more if I pull out?

    Do I have to buy the car now? I haven’t received the vehicle so is there a cooling off period on it? I signed a document agreeing to pay the amount but really don’t want it. Whats my options?

  29. stuart

    Hi Jonathan. You have signed a legally binding contract and finance agreement, so your chances of getting it cancelled will depend on the dealership. You need to inform them of your intention to cancel (in writing) ASAP, as the dealership will be prepping you car for sale and will be invoicing the finance company to pay for the car. Once the finance company has paid for it, it is much harder to cancel. You also need to inform the finance company that you wish to cancel so that they do not pay the dealer for the car.

    If you can cancel before any of the above happens, it is unlikely that the dealer will be able to get any more money out of you. However, once the finance company pays the dealer for the car, the dealer will have very little interest in undoing it all and sending the money back.

  30. Hi Stuart,

    Thank you for the reply.

    Though we have applied to finance company, the actual company hasn’t agreed to pay until I resolve my address issues. So I have been provisionally accepted on supply of the documentation.

    Does this change the situation?

    It has been 13 days since I went to the garage initially and put down the 50 pound.


  31. stuart

    In that case you should be OK to cancel the finance agreement (the contract hasn’t yet been activated, and you have 14 days from that date) without penalty and cancel your vehicle order. The dealer probably won’t be happy, but there’s not really a lot they can do about it.

  32. Great! Thank you! About to call them so wish me luck!

    I really appreciate your advice.

  33. Hi Stuart,

    One quick note. I have called the company regarding the car and told them I will not be buying it. As suspected they were not happy.

    Should I send them a letter/email to confirm my decision?

    Kind regards

  34. stuart

    Well there’s not really much they can do. The finance company is not going to give them any money, and neither are you, so wise businesses get over it quickly and get the car back on sale as soon as possible. Yes, write to them and confirm your cancellation. You can ask for a refund of your deposit while you’re at it, and your cheque should arrive just after hell freezes over…

  35. Hi Stuart,

    I went to look at a car yesterday signed an order but didn’t leave a deposit. It was subject to getting the finance. After coming home and doing my sums I just don’t think I can afford it. I’m planning to call them first thing to cancel, but where do I stand with this legally?


  36. stuart

    There’s not really a lot they can do. If you haven’t given them any money then they have no real hold over you. They might not be happy, but it happens and they’ll get over it. Make sure you follow up your phone call with a written cancellation via email or post.

  37. Hi Stuart

    I paid £500 deposit on a car over the phone to a dealership.

    Noticed a better deal.

    Am I entitled to my deposit back.

    Thanks Emma

  38. stuart

    Hi Emma. Whether you are entitled to your money back is questionable since you haven’t signed a contract. However, it will probably take you a lot of arguing before they agree to refund you.

  39. Hi Stuart, I went to a car lot yesterday 1/31/15, test drove two cars, a 06 Pontiac G6 and a 06 pontiac grand prix. I test drove both and decided to get the G6. I paid $2200 down and agree to make monthly payments, signed all the dotted lines, and drove off. I have nothing against the G6, but now I want to take it back and get the Grand prix. The grand prix costs $500 more than the G6 I chose. I was just wanting to know if I could do so, even though I chose the G6? I was told by random peope that I have so many hours or days to do so and some say that I can’t do that. I want to take the G6 back tomorrow and get the grand prix. I just need your advice and expertise about this. Thanks

  40. stuart

    Hi Catina. I’m assuming that you’re from the USA? I’m not familiar with the rules there, so can’t give you any specific advice. If the Grand Prix and the G6 are from the same dealership then your chances are better than if they are different dealers. With most car scenarios, anything can usually be done but it will always cost you money!

    If you are able to change cars, it may cost you quite a bit more than the original $500 difference now, as your car will have lost value due to dealer’s costs and any state/federal taxes (again, not familiar with your local rules) but the Grand Prix’s value will still be the same. There may also be admin costs to get the finance agreement cancelled and a new one made up.

  41. Yes I’m from the US and thanks again for the advice. Could you tell me what I may need to say or do when bringing this to my dealership’s attention? I really don’t know how to speak or what to say when dealing with something like this

  42. stuart

    I think you simply need to explain your position and reassure them that you still want to do business with them, but would prefer the other car. I’d spend as much time as you Googling info in your own state or local area before you go in, or contact the relevant authorities (your equivalent of the UK’s Financial Conduct Authority) to find out what your rights are. Have a thorough read through of your contract to see exactly what it says. Usually if you have any statutory rights or cooling off periods, they should be noted specifically in your contract. Good luck.

  43. Thanks Stuart, you’re the best

  44. Hi, I went with my daughter to buy a new car from a VW dealership, we went away to think over the purchases and finally agreed a price via email and paid a deposit over the phone, no paperwork has ever been signed, subject to getting finance from them, they then couldnt get finance for my daughter without her having a guarantee that I would not agree to being, they are now refusing to refund the deposit, what rights do I have?

  45. stuart

    Hi Lorna. If the car was always going to be bought on finance, and the purchaser is not able to get finance, then the contract should be void and the deposit should be returned. Take it up with the general manager of the dealership and then with Volkswagen UK if necessary. With regards to the guarantor situation, all you need to say is that it was never a condition of financing and it’s not possible in your situation – they don’t need to know any details at all.

    You will get your deposit back, it’s just unfortunate that too many car dealerships make life so difficult for people all the time.

  46. Hi Stuart, hopefully you can help me. I paid a £2000 deposit for a car I haven’t viewed over the telephone. I haven’t signed any paper work and the car isn’t as described as it is advertised with a longer warranty than it actually has and also that the car is hpi clear which I have since found isn’t the case as the garage actually have finance on the car. Am I within my right to cancel and get a full refund? Thanks

  47. stuart

    Hi Al. Firstly, yes you do have that right. However, a couple of points:
    1) I assume you mean new car warranty? Dealers can usually arrange an aftermarket warranty to start on the day you take delivery.
    2) It is perfectly normal for the dealer to have finance on the car while they have it in their possession. Dealerships can have hundreds of thousands of pounds’ worth of vehicle at any one time, and none have the cash to buy them all outright. They should be able to provide written evidence that it has been paid. HPI and finance companies can be slow to update their records, so that’s not a disaster. When a dealer advertises a car to be ‘HPI clear’, they mean there is no finance outstanding from the previous owner.

    I would get confirmation of point 2 from the dealer. If you like the car, then point 1 should be a tool to negotiate the provision of a warranty and/or discount on the price. You haven’t signed anything and you haven’t been to the dealer, so they can’t keep your money if you change your mind. Faced with the prospect of you walking away, they may be prepared to renegotiate.

  48. Hi Stuart
    We have ordered a brand new audi which was due to arrive in March with 2015 plate.. They have rung us to say we can have it next week but it will have this years reg. we are doing it with a PCP deal. Could you advise if this will make any difference if we get it now rather than wait till March.? Thanks kate

  49. stuart

    Hi Kate. Assuming it won’t change the price of the car and your monthly payments, I’d be inclined to wait until March and take a car with a ’15’ plate. If you are looking to sell it down the track, it will be worth a bit more with a ’15’ plate than with a ’64’ plate

  50. Hi, I could really use some advice if anyone could help? My sister and I recently lost our father unexpectedly. The only asset he had was his taxi, a 52 plate vehicle with high mileage (190000) which we sold to somebody who had approached us about it. Our buyer was aware of the high mileage and the fact that we had never driven the car but never the less agreed to buy the vehicle without checking the car over and did not ask to test drive it. The car had recently been repaired from a previous accident, which the buyer was aware of and had been taxi pit tested in preparation for its return to the road so as far as we were aware it was in good running condition and was definitely road worthy. This was also backed up by our Dad’s long term mechanic who had looked after the car for years. Unfortunately, shortly after buying the vehicle, it broke down, obviously the buyer is not happy about this and is now ( a month later) is demanding either a full refund, a new engine at our cost or he will take us to court to recover his money AND loss of earnings….Please could anyone tell me if the buyer has any rights to anything, as this was a private sale?

  51. stuart

    Hi Jacqui, sorry to hear about your father. However, be reassured that there is nothing that a private buyer can do about a car that breaks down after purchase. He can threaten you all he likes, but as long as you have not knowingly lied to him about any aspect of the vehicle, there is nothing he can do (even if you had told a stack of lies, there’s not much he can do!).

  52. Thank you for your reply Stuart, I thought this was the case but he was quite convincing so needed to be sure. I certainly will not be handing any money back, thanks for your help :)

  53. Saw a van on eBay and made contact with the seller as I was travelling from Northern Ireland to Kent, the seller sent me a video and told me about a few of the faults, we agreed a £500 deposit which was taken via debit card through sellers business, nothing signed but before I gave card details I was told to ask seller if I came over and van wasn’t to my satisfaction would you return my deposit
    The van had more wrong with it than advertised even though I did see a video, now I don’t have the van and can’t get my deposit back, where do I stand, seller denies saying she would return deposit but did ask us to meet her half way
    The ad only went off eBay the next day after we viewed the van. Please help

  54. stuart

    Hi Michelle. If the seller is a trader, then you have every right to have all of your deposit back. Firstly, distance selling laws mean that you are entitled to it regardless of whether there is anything wrong with the vehicle; and secondly, if the vehicle is not as advertised then you are entitled to your deposit back. You can refer the dealer to the Consumer Contracts Regulations linked in the article above.

    If the seller is a private trader, then there’s basically nothing you can do.

  55. HI,
    I found a car online at a used car dealership, called up for information with a view to coming down that same day to look at the car, spoke with the trader who said unfortunately the car was in for its MOT, service and had a minor engine fault that needed to be dealt with before i could view it and wouldnt be ready for another two days. I explained that if im unable to view it today it would have to wait at least a week, the trader suggested I leave a deposit.
    After going though the motions with the trader in the end I left a deposit on my credit card over the phone. As far as I was aware this was only a holding deposit and would be refundable without obligation, no T’s & C’s were read to me and I signed no paperwork nor agreed to nothing. The trader said he would call me as soon as the car could be viewed.

    I did more research into the car and I got my work timetable though and I realised I wouldn’t be able to drive up to view the car for at least 3 to 4 weeks, that alongside some other minor reasons I decided id like to cancel and have my deposit refunded, otherwise they would have to keep the car held for over a month.

    I called them the day they said they car would be ready to be viewed, before they called me to say it was ready. I explained the situation and I was told they had turned down other potential buyers and wouldn’t be refunding me my deposit. I even offered to accept 75% of the deposit back and allow them to keep some of it for any trouble caused.

    I find it hard to believe they had people rushing into the door wanting to buy and car that was in a third party garage being repaired/worked on, especially as they were yet to call me to say it was ready for viewing.

    I’ve contacted my credit card company who have sent me the paperwork to begin disputing the transaction. As far as I can work out I should be entitled to a full refund under the distance selling regulations.

    What do you think my chances are? Im still within the 7 days of the transaction if that helps my case.

    Thanks in advance for your help.


  56. stuart

    Hi James. You are certainly entitled to your 100% of your deposit back. However, the dealer will certainly make it as difficult as possible in the hope that you give up or accept only a fraction back. You are right to get your credit card company involved, as they have more muscle than you do. The Consumer Contract Regulations linked to from the article above is the legislation that covers you, and supercedes the old Distance Selling Regulations.

    And in future, don’t give a car dealer any money until you have physically viewed a car. It’s simply not worth it (unless it’s some incredibly rare car where you can afford for it to be in terrible condition).

  57. Thank you for your reply,
    As I thought, nice to hear someone in the know confirm it for me. Lesson learnt on my part. I bet they wished they had accepted my offer of a 75% refund!
    Thanks for your help, your a hero!

  58. Hi Stuart
    Great (and v useful site!) btw. Would love your advice on something. I have just paid £1,000 (in person) to a mainstream dealer, a ‘deposit contribution’ against the first 3 months on a Business Contract Hire. Nothing signed yet and I am due to sign the full finance papers imminently, from which I understand, the car will then be ordered. If I have now changed my mind, as my personal circumstances have now changed, I presume I can get this deposit back – what do you think? I have a receipt for it, both credit card and dealership.
    Many thanks

  59. stuart

    Hi Neil. If you haven’t signed a contract then they have no real legal basis to be holding your money. This doesn’t mean the dealer will be helpful in giving it back to you. If they don’t want to play along, then contact your credit card company and the manufacturer’s head office. Complain long and loud enough and you will usually get it back, especially if the dealer is being questioned by the credit card company or by the manufacturer.

  60. Thanks for that Stuart, cheers

  61. Hi, my friend ordered a new Audi from a dealership on Tuesday and has paid in full, however he has changed his mind and wants to cancel. The manager of the dealership emailed him and said it was too late to cancel as the car has been registered on the DVLA. It is now Friday and the car is due with the new 15 plate on Sunday. Is there any ‘cooling off’ period or is he stuck with it?

  62. stuart

    Hi Tony. No, as explained in the article above, there is no cooling off period. He is stuck with it. Once a dealer has your money, they are not going to ask “Are you really sure you want to do this?” before they process the order.

  63. Hi. I’m hoping you can help. I recently paid £500 at a main dealer peugeot garage but didn’t sign any paperwork as they had to try and source the vehicle I wanted. This wasn’t a problem. The problem is that they promised to call me the following week (last week) and never did. They also promised to email me the registration plates for me to pick my own reg. We didn’t hear anything last week so went in on Saturday and another sales guy promised me that the guy who had dealt with us would call me on Monday morning. Yet again – nothing. I have the receipt for the £500 paid but am I legally within my rights to request my money back under teh 14 day cooling off period due to such bad service from the main dealer? Many thanks, Vicky

  64. Hi, we went to look at a car with our daughter on Saturday 28/2/15 at Allen Ford dealership and before we knew it we had chosen a car and paid a deposit of £500.00 and they would allow another £500 trade-in on her own car. The next evening as we were reflecting over the car, we saw a much better deal on another car. We called into the Allen Ford dealership this morning and told them about the other deal we had seen and how our daughter really wanted the other car. After much discussion, they made an attempt to match or better the deal, they were unable to totally match the deal and we informed them that we were going to look at second car again with a view to purchasing it and the Manager said, ‘let me know later when you have made a decision’. My daughter has arranged her finance and purchased the second car. We telephoned Allen Ford and told him of our decision and he informed us that he was withholding £300 of our deposit as a charge for the work they had done on the car. The car had not been moved from the position it was in on Saturday so no further work had been carried out, all they had done was marked it Sold. Can you please advise where we stand, my daughter is 19 and is a student and p/t casher at Nandos. Please advise as £300 is a lot of money for my daughter to lose.

  65. stuart

    Hi Vicky. There’s no such thing as a cooling-off period on a car, but if you haven’t signed a contract then they have no grounds to hold your money. Contact the dealer principal or general manager, and if you can’t get anywhere then call Peugeot HQ in Coventry and complain to them. You’ll get your money back, but you may ave to kick up a fuss to get it.

  66. stuart

    Hi Jo. You have absolutely no legal right to a refund. You bought the car, so the dealer is within their rights to try and enforce the contract. That will never happen, but they can make life difficult for you trying to get your deposit back. Never give a car dealer money if you’re not 100% committed to buying their car. There is no legal provision for changing your mind, as explained in the article above.

  67. Hi Stuart,

    We went to our local Renault dealership over the weekend with the intention of purchasing a new Renault Captur on PCP finance. We test drove the car on the Saturday and liked everything about it. We were offered the option of going for a pre-registered car so that the deal will go through much quicker and with cheaper monthly payments, we agreed to all of this. We then paid a £100 deposit over the phone on the Sunday, with the added agreement to part exchange our car. We went into the dealership and signed the agreement last night. However, upon closer inspection of the signed agreement it states that the car as a Odometer reading of 10,204 miles. As far as I am aware this would make the car pre-owned and not pre-registered and therefore incorrectly sold to us. Where do we stand with cancelling this agreement? Or would we be able to amend it so that we could get the new car that we were originally hoping for.

    Many Thanks

  68. Hi Stuart,

    We visited our local Renault dealership on Saturday with the intention of buying a new Renault Captur on PCP finance. We took the car out for a test spin and really liked it so we decided to go ahead. The dealership offered us a pre-registered car which they informed us would be cheaper and more affordable on the monthly payments side. We paid a £100 deposit over the phone on the Sunday with the agreement that we would also part exchange our current car. We went down to the dealership last night and signed all the relevant paperwork, but upon closer inspection it says that the odometer reading is 10,274 miles. This, in my opinion, means the car is pre-owned and not in fact pre-registered and therefore it has been mis sold. Where do we stand with regards to cancelling the contract? Or would they be more likely to move the finance onto a new car.

    Many Thanks

  69. stuart

    Hi Brett. That doesn’t sound like a pre-registered vehicle. If you have signed the order on site at the dealership and the mileage was clearly noted on the contract, then you don’t really have the right to cancel the order. However, if you can successfully argue that you were being mis-sold by the dealer then they may agree to cancel. Kick up a fuss with the dealer principal/general manager if necessary, as they generally don’t like hearing that their sales staff are misleading customers. You can certainly cancel the finance agreement if that has been activated (although it probably hasn’t been yet), as that has a 14-day cooling-off period. The finance can’t be moved to a different car; it will require a separate application. Make sure you put everything in writing so you have records of it.

    If you then want to proceed with purchasing another car from the same dealership, that’s entirely up to you. But cancel this one first before doing anything with the same dealer or anyone else.

  70. Thank you for your speedy response!

    Would I be right in thinking that the PCP value of this car would be much reduced if it is pre-owned. Our current agreement is £194 PCM over 48 months. Should this be reduced if we were to go ahead and keep the same car?

    Many Thanks

  71. stuart

    Well the finance quote is specific to the vehicle, so the quote they have given you should already incorporate the mileage. I am assuming that the dealer has quoted you on this exact vehicle, rather than a different car.

    Every used car finance quote is specific to a particular vehicle, as they all have different registration dates, mileages and options. New cars are slightly different as they are all 0 miles and will be registered new when the finance commences.

  72. Hi Stuart, I’m just wondering what the likelihood of getting my deposit back is. This is the story, I have paid a £499 deposit on a PCP car lease over two years. I’ve now changed my mind and no longer continue to proceed with the lease, I’ve not signed any finance documents at present. The only document I have signed is a car order form I believe. Thanks

  73. stuart

    Hi Aaron. Based on what you’ve described, the dealer is under no obligation to refund your money. You have signed a vehicle order, so they have the right to hold your deposit. You may be able to get it back by asking nicely/kicking up a fuss, but you are reliant on the dealer choosing to refund you rather than being forced to.

  74. Hi Stuart.
    Have paid a £500 deposit on an ex demo car. It can’t be released for 90 days, and I am worried that when the time comes to collect it the condition and mileage of the vehicle may not be acceptable. I have not signed any contract, just given them the deposit for which I have the receipt. Should I go back to dealership and thrash a contract with conditions on it. Or do you think I can get my money back. I feel now the dealership think they have secured the sale, I am worried that the car will not be treated with any respect. Your advice would be very much appreciated.

  75. stuart

    Hi Chris. If you haven’t signed a contract then they can’t withhold your deposit. However, you may ave to fight them to get it back (never give a dealer money unless you don’t intend to see it again).

    In terms of the vehicle’s condition, there may be absolutely nothing to worry about. Most of the mileage on demonstrator vehicles usually comes from sales staff driving to and from work every day, and the car should be perfectly fine. This situation is perfectly common, as dealers are not usually allowed to sell demonstrator vehicles until they have been registered for a minimum of 90 days. You are basically buying an ex-demonstrator in advance. In many cases, if a demo has been sold in advance, the dealer will ensure the car is driven as little as possible anyway, as they don’t want to jeopardise the sale by having it damaged in daily use.

    Rather than giving them your money without signing a contract, you should have signed an order for the vehicle, so you could specify a maximum mileage for the car by time of delivery, as well as a firm delivery date.

  76. Hi need some advice. Ordered a new car online for a three year lease only so far have completed an order form, and no money has been paid, after 7 days I have decided that due to a change of curcumstances to cancle the order, have contacted the company and they have requested I pay £250 plus VAT.
    Just need to know if this is aceptable and legal.

  77. stuart

    Hi Martyn. The legality of the fee will depend on the T&Cs of the contract you signed. If there is a clause stating that you are obliged to pay a cancellation fee, then they are within their rights to demand it. If there is nothing in writing, then you can happily tell them where to go.

    In practical terms, if you haven’t given them any money then there’s not a lot they can do – unless they want to start legal proceedings against you or engage a collections agency. They would have to be on very solid legal ground before they undertake either.

  78. Thanks Stuart, Here is the statment on the order form:
    This Order forms a binding contract between you and us and is non-cancellable. Should you not proceed with the Order after signing it, you will be
    liable to us for any reasonable costs and losses we incur as a result of you not proceeding. Those costs and losses will be determined on a case by
    case basis and invoiced.

    And the reply to my request to cancel:
    The completion and signing of the Order Form forms a contract binding on the parties to it. In any situation where one party to a contract does not proceed to compete its obligations under that contract, the other party is entitled to damages reflecting its reasonable losses. In this case, those losses are those costs for which we are liable as a result of acting upon the Order.

    The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013, section 28 specifically dis-applies the right of cancellation from amongst other categories of activity vehicle rental services. The Order was not for a vehicle sale but was rather for a vehicle rental. Accordingly, there is no right to cancel.

  79. Hi Stuart, I’m looking to buy a car from a dealer who are 200 miles away from me. They are pushing me for a deposit and are asking for £500 to secure the vehicle for 24 hours. I’m going to view the vehicle later this week and am concerned that I might fail a credit check for HPi as I’ve recently moved house. If the car is good and I do fail the finance check would I be entitled to my £500 deposit back? Thanks for your help…

  80. stuart

    Hi Mr J. As outlined above, you are buying a car (or at least considering it) under what is referred to as ‘Distance Selling’. This means that you can change your mind and get your deposit back once you see the car. However, if you are going to give them any money, make sure you make it clear to them that you understand the Consumer Contracts Regulations as linked above (replaces the old Distance Selling Act) and that the deposit is refundable.

    However, I would always advise not giving a dealer any money unless you are 100% committed. If that means that this car gets sold to someone else, so be it.

  81. Thankyou Stuart! Much appreciated….

  82. Hi Stuart, Your article has been a great help. I ordered a new Fiat earlier this week agreeing to part exchange my present car and paid a deposit of £200. “Buyers remorse” set in when I discovered the part exchange is probably undervalued by £1000. Having read your article I accept all you say but perhaps I may have a nuisance value. If I can sell my present car independently and offer to still complete the purchase of the new Fiat, is it reasonable to hope that the dealer will agree to forget about the profit he would have made from my part exchange? The Fiat dealer in question has a good reputation and I would like to think that they would not want to sue a previously loyal pensioner-customer. Thanks for any comfort you can give.

  83. stuart

    Hi John. If you have signed a vehicle order, then you are contracting to sell them your car for a given price as well as contracting to buy their car at a given price, so the daler is well within their rights to demand you present your car as you have contracted to do.

    However, in reality it will depend on how much they expect to sell your car for. If they are not expecting to make a significant profit, they may be happy for you to take the part-exchange out of the equation and have one less hassle to deal with. If they have factored potential profit from the part-exchange into the deal, they won’t be as happy. But you can certainly ask them.

  84. Many thanks Stuart. I bitterly regret having acted so hastily in agreeing to part-exchange at an undervalue and have now decided to walk away from the deal. I’m not comfortable about it and must hope they will be content with the deposit.

  85. Hi Stuart, im really hoping you can help here (and as soon as possible!!). I have gotten myself into a sticky situation and after reading the length of this forum im not sure i can fully be confident in what i can/cant do. The story is this…

    I saw an advert for a PCP deal on a new which i thought was excellent. So I went into a dealership on Saturday afternoon just gone. I was looking at getting a brand new, unregistered car on PCP and p/x my car against it.. Anyway, a deal was done to this effect and I signed a new vehicle order form for a brand new car and had my PCP application accepted. Now all of this was a bit of a rush job as the deal was only available until 31st March. So, I left a £500 deposit and asked if, on the monday they could ring me with a choice of new registration plates . On the Monday they rang me and i chose my registration plate, in a rush as they needed to get it registered that day. Later that day they sent a copy of the PCP/finance agreement via email to me for me to check, sign and return. Naturally i checked the details on the finance document matched that of those on the copy of the new vehicle order form, prior to me signing and returning the finance document. Upon inspecting the new vehicle order form, it dawned on me that deal that we had agreed to verbally and shown to me on hand written figures by the car salesman wasnt what ended up on being transcribed on the new vehicle order form i had actually signed and thus i felt i had been mislead. The following morning (Tuesday 31/03) i rang the dealership and shared my anger with them and told them i had been mislead and i wouldnt be signing the PCP/finance document until all this was resolved to my satisfaction. The car salesman i dealt with on the saturday wasnt in so i spoke to another car salesman who took up my complaint with the General Manager and said “leave it with me il look into it”. After many phone conversations and negotiation with this chap, they agreed to honour what was originally verbally discussed/agreed and i asked them to email me a new quotation and a revised new vehicle order form, which they duly did (eventually), along with a revised PCP/finance document. I checked all this over again, was happy with what it said and therefore signed the PCP/Finance document and emailed it back to them that very afternoon. I didnt however sign the revised New Vehicle Order Form. It had been agreed on the Monday when choosing the car reg plate, that i would take delivery/collect the car this Friday (3rd April) collecting it at the dealership, hence why I need urgent help!

    Since then ive had time to think…

    Its occurred to me that the new car they are selling me may have been sat, unregistered on their premises for some time, and i have no way of checking this without seeing the physical car VIN and stamp found on the actual car, to identify when it was manufactured. Coupled with this and the troubling experience of all this, something just doesnt sit right with me and my gut feeling is to walk away from this altogether.

    However i dont fully know what my options are and im hoping you can help here…?

    I know from reading on the forum already, that the PCP/Finance agreement should have a 14 day cooling off period but the vehicle order form doesnt. So, with that respect, the finance agreement shouldnt actually have been activated until i take delivery of the car, right? Im hoping that the finance agreement can simply be cancelled and worst case scenario, i will just lose my £500 deposit? Am i right in thinking this??

    Please please help!

    Thankyou in advance

  86. Hi Stuart,

    2 weeks ago I went to Audi to purchase a vehicle, I managed to find one I liked and they went to work trying to get me finance, Unfortunately due to bad credit in the past, I couldnt get finance with Audi themselves so they used a 3rd party Broker to find a lender. On Monday 16rd March, they told me finance had been found and so i went down to get the deposit paid and the contracts for the finance signed up, I was told I would be able to pick the car up in a weeks time as it needed to undergo Audi’s 150 point check.

    I called up on the following Monday and Audi let me know the car would be ready for pick up on the following Thursday 26th, I went down to collect the car only to be told the finance company wouldnt be paying out till the following day. So I had to take a day off work only to be told the next day the Finance company had pulled out.

    The finance Broker found another lender, but they would only do a fraction, meaning I would have to stump up the cash for the rest and I literally can not afford £4.5k right now.

    I have called Audi to get my deposit back, but they are unwilling to give the deposit back telling me these reasons…

    It has cost them money to put the car in my name
    That they have taxed it for 12 month (which they havent, I opted for monthly payments)
    The car has been off sale for two weeks
    A third owner has been added to the vehicle which reduces its value.

    I have just read your article and it says this,

    “If the contract cannot be completed so you are unable to take delivery of the car, then you are entitled to get your deposit back. This usually also applies if you fail a finance application. If a dealer takes a deposit from you before your finance has been approved, they will usually give you your money back with no problems if that application is rejected.”

    Does this apply to me?

    Is it part of the British consumer rights?

    I would be very grateful if you could point me in the right direction where I can find official written laws or the like, that I may quote in a letter back to them.

    Many thanks


  87. stuart

    Hi Mike. It’s perfectly normal for cars to be kept in storage for weeks or even months before you take delivery. If you are buying a car from stock, there is no guarantee that it will have simply arrived the day before. As long as the car is in good condition, there shouldn’t be any problem. Your new car warranty doesn’t start until the car is registered, so you won’t be missing out on that even if the car has been sitting in a showroom or in storage for a while.

    You have signed an order form on the premises, so you don’t have the legal right to cancel and get your deposit back. The second order form, which was meant to replace the first, has not been signed by you and is therefore not a valid contract until you sign it and send it back.

    Whether or not the finance agreement has been activated will depend on the finance company. Some are very strict and will not pay the dealer until a properly signed order form is provided to them (which hasn’t happened yet). Others will activate without this as long as they have the signed PCP agreement, so it’s possible that the dealer has already been paid and the car has been taxed – especially since it has top be done today as the admin staff will not be working tomorrow.

    You can cancel your finance agreement (even if it has been activated), but you may well end up in an argument with the dealership if you try to walk away from the deal now. It seems to be a grey area, since on one hand there exists a valid contract and on the other hand there exists an unsigned replacement. The existing contract is the legally binding one.

  88. stuart

    Hi Steve. I don’t think it’s a formal consumer right, more a matter of good business sense. If a dealer taxes a car before the finance is approved, they are carrying a lot of risk if it goes wrong (as it has in this case).

    You should be entitled to your deposit back, as it’s not your fault they have registered the car and added another owner to it. The safety check is not an issue as they would have to do that anyway as part of their Audi franchise requirements, so that’s not a cost they can hold over your head.

    Speak to the Dealer Principal if the Sales Manager won’t co-operate. If you are not getting any joy from them, call Audi UK’s head office in Milton Keynes. That normally jolts a dealer into action.

  89. Hi Stuart,

    many thanks for the reply. Ive since received more info directly from the manufacturer about the car and im happy with that.

    I phoned the finance company first thing this morning and they informed me the agreement was activated yesterday, so if i cancelled the agreement with them i would have to pay for the car in full. So really, i do have to take delivery of the car now.

    The only other grey area, as you quite rightly put it, and my biggest concern now, is the fact there are 2 new vehicle order forms in existence, one with my signature and one without that the finance documents i signed match. Ive spoken to the dealer today and im still on for taking delivery tomorrow. I know this sounds ridiculous, but im just worried if they could, in theory, claim ive made a contract to buy 2 cars of them. Effectively buying the same car twice and p/x the same car twice. All the details match except the prices and i have a lengthy conversation on email, thereby giving proof that they are amending my vehicle order form (not simply a new one) but still i was reluctant to sign it. They’ve also never asked me to sign the revision either, which is interesting.

    All will become apparent tomorrow morning im sure. But, should i be ensuring that they give me it in writing that there is just 1 contract in existence. I cant see it being in their interests to even attempt to hold me to both contracts, or indeed the original (which really is for only for a few hundred pounds more). The problem is, if they do try it on, i cant really just walk away can I?


  90. Hi I hav jus got a car of finance 2 days a go. Today I tried gettin insurance but can it’s too expensive. I’m jus wondering if I can return it… n cancel the finance. I believe I have 14 days peace of mind although Ave sign all paper work. What’s your advise please.

  91. Hey Stuart,

    Thanks for the reply,

    Is there anyone in particular or an email address I can obtain for the HQ?

    Audi are currently trying to lay blame on myself as to a mishap on my finance application, as to why the application all fell through.

    Yet the application could of fallen through at any point, but they still jumped the gun and signed the car over into my name before any money had hit their bank from myself or finance company.



  92. Hi Stuart, last week on the 25th, March 2015, went to Subaru car dealer to have a look at their outback (brand new) anyway it was for my husband. We told them a specific vehicle that we are looking for, we have a few more to check it out. And they told us to put down a deposit of AUS$250.00 to hold a price that they’ve offer, and We told them we have a vehicle I’m thinking of trading it in, and they said it’s ok, we can sort it out later, so we pay a deposit of Aus$250.00, and off we went to the next car dealer which was Toyota. And then we saw the Landcruiser Prado, and my husband was happy to take the Landcruiser Prado 2015.
    After we had finalised everything with the Toyota, and we trade in our vehicle for it, plus we paid extra cash on the top of it, they gave us a contract, and an official documents for the vehicle, then we went back to the Subaru to cancel the outback, and they told us , legally we have purchase their vehicle, and I asked them,how can that be.
    So they said once you paid a deposit you are locked in for the full price of the vehicle.
    We did not know anything about that, and if we did, we will not paying for whatever deposit, so they ask us to look at our contract, but we did not have any.
    We signed the deposits little we know that we were signing the contract. They did not explain anything to us, about what will happen if we agree to put a deposit down, plus they did not say that the deposit is non refundable ,


  93. stuart

    Hi Rachel. I don’t know what the law states in your scenario (in Australia, it will be different in different states). In South Australia, for example, there is now a 48-hour cooling-off period for car sales.

    From what you are saying, you have signed a legally valid and binding contract for the Subaru. Whilst the salesperson may have been deceptive, the unfortunate reality is that you have signed a document of your own free will without reading it sufficiently to realise what you were signing. A vehicle order form/contract will be clearly labelled as such, and should contain a back page of terms and conditions of the sale. If you have signed that form, you have bought a car.

    If you were simply paying them a deposit to lock in a quoted price (which you should never need to do), then you would not need to sign anything – and certainly not a contract of sale.

    In theory, they can take you to court to enforce the contract and demand that you pay for the car that you’ve bought. In reality, this never happens and you will have to have an argument with the dealer principal/general manager of the dealership to have the contract cancelled. if you can convince them that you have been misled, you may get your deposit back.

    For future reference, never give a car dealer any money or sign any forms unless you are 100% committed to buying the car. As you have found out, you are simply asking for trouble.

  94. stuart

    Hi David. I assume that you have not taken delivery of the car since you have not got insurance. If that’s the case, you can cancel the finance agreement within 14 days. You can cancel your vehicle order with the dealer, but you don’t automatically have the right to get your deposit back.

    If you have already taken delivery of the car, than you can’t simply return it. You can try to sell it back to the dealer, but you will be offered a lot less money than you paid for it.

  95. Hi stu – seen a car from a dealer I really liked on autotrader – registered my interest and was asked to pay a £100 deposit to keep the car for me for a week.

    If I go to the dealership and don’t like it will i be able to get my deposit back?

  96. stuart

    In theory, yes, as there has been no sale (no contract has been signed so they can’t hold your money). However, you’ll probably have to argue with them.

    £100 is a very low figure for a car dealer, so they are either assuming that you won’t fight too hard and they’ll pocket an easy £100, or if they ignore their promise to hold it for you and sell the car to someone else, they can just give you your £100 back.

  97. Hi Stuart
    I went through carwow website for a new mercedes car purchase. I was keen to get a car ordered in March deadline to get a good deal. I was given a quote by mercedes for a car model they had in stock. I was happy with the model, price and PCP monthly payments for the car. I paid 1000£ deposit over phone with my card, he did a credit check and took all my previous address for finance application. He said they will send the value order form in a day for me to sign and return. He messaged via carwow website the same evening, that my finance application has been accepted.

    After 4days the sale manger comes back to me over phone and says the car which was in stock with them has been sold accidently by a different branch and therefore they cannot offer me the car now. He was apologetic and said, they are happy to return the 1000£ deposit back or they will order a new car from factory which will take another 3-4months and he will price match the offer provided before.

    I said i will rethink and call back. Today when i spoke to the sales manager he says, the new car order will be based on the new price as it is now not within the 31st of march order and therefore will be based on a completely new price and PCP Plan.
    I am very disappointed now, as the PCP offer they had given was great. Now they are even refusing to order a new for the same price as promised before. He was blatant enough to say take your deposit back and go.

    Do i have any right to demand them to honour the offer they had promised on the car in stock they had and took my deposit. How do i go about getting the car and the price they had promised. I have not signed any legal document or contract with them so far, apart the telephone discussion and payment of 1000£ deposit.

    Would appreciate your suggestions.


  98. stuart

    Hi Chan. If you don’t have a valid contract then there is nothing you can do. All you have is a promise from a car dealer, which is worth nothing.

    It is perfectly normal for deals and finance offers to expire by a certain date. These offers are generally set by the manufacturer rather than the dealers, as it is usually the manufacturer and their finance company who are covering the costs for all or most of the offer. And it is perfectly normal for the March price to no longer be available in April. If you had a valid contract then you could try to hold them to it. But you don’t.

    All you can do is write a letter of complaint to Mercedes-Benz UK about the behaviour of the dealership. However, given that you went via carwow and were presumably dealing with a dealer who is not your local dealer, they are unlikely to be too interested in taking any significant action.

  99. Thanks stuart for your prompt reply.
    I guess it’s the dealers who win majority of the time, either way. A lesson learnt.
    Atleast i have to be grateful they are returning the deposit.

    Appreciate your time.

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