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. Stuart Masson

    Hi Matt. They don't sound like a particularly great company to be buying a car from. The MOT excuse is rubbish – they could have the car's MOT inspection done anywhere.

    At that price of car, I certainly wouldn't be taking it without a full MOT. If anything expensive comes up, you will end up in an argument trying to get them to pay for it. I suggest taking your deposit back and finding another car.

  2. Hi Stuart,

    This page is super helpful, but I wish I'd come across it before, much like David before me, I gave Carworld in Peterborough £500 back in Feb 2015 to 'hold' the car for us to view and test drive and which they had lied and told us was 'fully refundable'.

    Before going to view this car we also asked them to give us a ball park estimate of what the rates of interest might be for the car finance, for which they took a few details from us over the phone.

    When they told us what we were looking at in terms of interest rates we told them straight away that it was too high and we would never buy it since monthly payments at that rate wouldn't be affordable. They then told us that we should come down and view the car anyway, and they would have another look to see what they could do on the interest rates once we decided whether liked the car or not.

    We test drove the car, and told them it was decent. But since manager in charge of finance was busy we went away to have a think and view a few other vehicles one of which was better than theirs. We decided to buy that one instead and called the dealership who still had our £500 to inform them. They said and I quote "You know you can't get your money back, right?" The 'fully refundable' holding fee was suddenly converted into a 'deposit'!

    After much yelling and name calling, I spoke to Citizen's Advice and Trading standards who adviced me to write to them threatening legal action and also to try and use Visa Chargeback through my bank to reverse the disputed charges.

    I am writing here today because yesterday we got a couple of emails from Barclays Partner Finance saying we could view our finance agreement documents with the help of a password they were sending us. Since the email looked authentic and I know we have not bought anything on finance apart from our car, which is with a different finance company I called Barclays.

    The moment they said 'Carworld' I told them all of the above and said we have made no purchase from the dealership and therefore there should be no finance agreement floating around. The customer service agent at Barclays was sympathetic and said she would cancel the application. My question is, how did Barclays think there was even an application for finance in place when we signed nothing through all of this? And secondly, what other implications does this have for us, for our credit rating for example (don't know if you know anything about that or can point me in the direction of someone who does.)

    Thanks in advance for reading the loooong moan I've typed!

  3. Stuart Masson

    It is unfortunate that stories like this still abound in the car industry, but sadly some traders still seem to get away with it.

    With regards to your finance application, if you have given the Business Manager all of the information required for the application (personal, residential, employment, bank details), then they can submit an application on your behalf without you having to sign anything – however they certainly shouldn't be doing so without your permission. Given that you have been approved for finance from Barclays, it shouldn't materially impact your credit rating unless you repeatedly apply for finance from different institutions. You only actually have to sign the finance agreement itself, which is the contract setting out how the agreement works.

    I hope you get everything resolved in the end and finally get your £500 back. Of course, you won't get any compensation for the considerable inconvenience that they have put you through…

  4. Hi, I went to look at a car at a main dealers last week but it had been sold so the dealer went to check the stock list. He found the same make model and colour of the one that had just been sold but 200+ miles away.
    He said he could get it transported up here but I would have to pay a deposit to "hold" the car, and sign a order form. I paid £200
    I still haven't seen the car but what are my options if I want to walk away am I cover in the fact I never saw it or it is 200 miles away when deposit was placed.
    I really wish I had not of signed anything but the dealer said this was the only way he could get the car moved.

  5. Stuart Masson

    Hi Jamie. Legally, they have to give you your deposit back if you cancel. Doesn't mean they won't fight you over it, though.

  6. Stuart,

    I have taken hand over of a land rover defender form a main dealer having left a £3000 deposit with £5000 further to be paid when i sign the paper work and finance as i said i needed the vehicle and the dealer was happy with this arrangement. However, my financial situation may be about to change. I have had the vehicle for two days now. The car is not yet taxed in my name and nor have i been handed the V5C document. So i am not yet the registered keeper of the vehicle, i believe. I have been registered as purchasing the vehicle on their system as i have received some of their complementary add ons in the post thanking me for the purchase. The vehicle is an ex demo so i presume it is still been classed as a demo as i have been provided with land rover insurance free of charge for 7days. As i say no paper work has been signed. If i decide i don't want to continue with the purchase at this stage can i walk away and importantly get my £3000 back? I presume i will incur some cost of them preparing the vehicle for me to take and associated paper work but not £3000?

  7. Stuart Masson

    Hi Ed. It is highly unusual for a dealer to ever hand over a car before they have received full payment – dealers I have worked at have sent customers home empty-handed or provided loan cars if there had been hold-ups in payments, but never actually handed over their actual car as it is a major risk if the customer fails to pay the remainder.

    It is likely that the V5 has been sent off to the DVLA, so you would expect to receive your copy in the next couple of weeks. If this hasn't been done yet and you tell the dealer you want to cancel, they will probably send it off immediately to put the car in your name to stop you handing it back.

    I would imagine you are in for a fight with the dealer to get your £3,000 back, and they will probably try to enforce the contract in full. They will have declared the sale for their monthly accounting, so there will be financial implications if it doesn't go through. They are quite probably not going to let you walk away.

    You say no paperwork has been signed, but I imagine you must have signed a used car order form? It's incredibly unlikely that a dealer would hand over a car without asking you to sign anything.

  8. Hi Stuart. Put down a £200 deposit last week to hand in our car (halfway through finance, purchased new from renault) back to renault in exchange for a new car (increased mileage agreement for new job). Change of circumstances mean me and wife no longer want a new car and wish to carry on with original car and finance. car is due to us on 21st, so 10 days away. Plan on phoning up to cancel tomorrow. Where do i stand? thanks

  9. Stuart Masson

    Hi Liam. You'll almost certainly lose your deposit, but realistically there's not a lot the dealer can do to force you to take the car. Make sure you follow up your phone call with an email to confirm. If you have already signed a finance contract (which is unlikely since the car is still a couple of weeks away), make sure you confirm that you are withdrawing from that as well.

    The dealer may kick up a fuss, but stay calm and polite and they'll eventually accept it and move on.

  10. Hi, I’ve arranged to buy a car over the phone. I put a £500 deposit on the car all the finance was done over the phone. When I was to go to the dealership I was told not to because they heard a noise in the clutch. I have now changed my mind and am being told my deposit won’t be refunded and I will be sent a bill for the balance on the car so I need to come and collect the car. I haven’t signed any contract. Can they force me to pay the balance and can I get my deposit back.

  11. Stuart Masson

    Hi Sonja. If you read above, you will see that you are covered by what is known as Distance (or Off-Premises) Selling in the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. The dealer can’t hold you to the verbal contract and they have to refund your money.

    They will quite probably fight you quite hard, simply in the hope that you will give up and they can keep your £500. However, the law is on your side. If you paid your deposit by credit card, you can also contact your credit card provider who should be able to assist in having the transaction reversed.

  12. Hi, I realise this is an old article but still hope you can help. I am due to collect a new car from the dealer later this week but have serious remorse as the repayments are higher than I thought they would be (and the GFV is less than originally quoted). Can I cancel at this late stage? I have paid £500 deposit and the car was built to my spec. I have not signed any finance agreement.
    At this point I am not too worried about losing the deposit but there is a clause in the sales contract that says if I don't pay then the car will be auctioned and I am liable for any losses for reduction in the sale price and any related sales costs. I imagine this could amount to a significant figure – possibly thousands.
    Is this enforcable?

  13. Stuart Masson

    Hi April. I assume that you signed up at the dealership and therefore don't have the right to cancel as explained in the article above.

    If you cancel now, you can expect to lose your £500 deposit. As to whether the dealership would pursue further action, it would depend on how difficult your ordered specification is likely to be to sell to someone else. If the dealer is able to sell the car to another customer, they've not lost anything. If you ordered a pink car with purple velour interior and green wheels, it's not likely to find another customer and they are more likely to pursue you for losses. This doesn't happy very often.

    If the finance agreement you are being asked to sign (or have already signed) is significantly different from the quotation you were provided, you can argue that it's not what you agreed to. If your quotation does not have an expiry date, you can argue that they should honour the quote offered. Assuming the quote does have an expiry date (it almost certainly will), you can argue that the change in pricing has made it unaffordable for you. It probably won't help getting your deposit back, but it should be enough to stop them chasing you for anything further.

    It's unlikely that the dealer would send a brand new car to auction. Assuming it's a new car, they are more likely to register it as a demonstrator and use it for a few months, then sell it as a used car.

  14. Hi Stuart,

    I have a 2-year leased VW which I took delivery of in March 2015 (brand new). I have found that the engine is part of 'diesel-gate' and therefore will require the recall to reflash the ECU to reduce the NOx emissions.
    My concern is that the new software will have to reduce the bhp and torque of the engine in order to ensure it meets the emission standards (else, why wouldn't they have just installed the correct software in the first place) and the car will be less powerful than I originally ordered.
    Yes, I can choose to not get the software done, but I'm then left with a car which is emitting significantly more NOx than originally quoted, which is just as bad (I live in London, so I don't really wish to contribute significantly more than I thought I was).

    Where do I stand on returning the lease? It's through VWFS (indirectly through a broker) and I don't want to leave VW entirely – but I'd rather change the car for another VW not affected by this issue – so ideally I'd like them to transfer the deposit to a new leave and start again.

    What do you think are the chances?
    I understand this is probably rather new ground for the automotive & finance industry to resolve, so I'm expecting my first attempt to be a straight "no" as it's never been a viable issue in the past.


  15. Stuart Masson

    Hi Andi. I imagine that there will be a number of people in a very similar situation to you. The Volkswagen diesel scandal is still unfolding, and there may be a way to go yet.

    There will undoubtedly be people who will be trying to get their leases cancelled and cars returned on the grounds that they did not meet their advertised specifications. Whether or not this will be successful remains to be seen. If you are looking for specific legal advice as to whether you have a case to argue, I would suggest visiting http://www.legalbeagles.info and asking questions on their forum. I imagine that there will be a lot of debate going on across the country about whether the cars are 'fit for purpose' or whether customers have been mis-sold. That will depend on what Volkswagen has advertised and whether it cheated its EU testing programme, and no details of that have yet emerged. There will be a large numbers of people at VW HQ Germany and in each market frantically working out where the company stands legally as well as commercially.

    If there is an offer to recompense owners in your position, it may not be the offer you want. Basically you want them to take a 6-month-old car back and give you your deposit back. Normally that would be highly unlikely, as the company would lose a lot of money. But it could depend on what else is going on and what sort of pressure Volkswagen is under (both legally and commercially, as they need to keep building and selling vehicles).

  16. Stuart Masson

    Incidentally, latest reports today suggest that Volkswagen has still not decided how to 'fix' the offending engines. So although the company has now announced which cars are affected, it seems it does not yet know what work will be required – and the work will vary depending on the model and specific engine. It will really only be once we know what modifications are going to be made that we will know how they will affect the car's economy and performance, and only then will you be in a position to decide whether you want to take any action.

  17. Hi Stuart,

    We put a £1000 deposit on a Range Rover Sport on Monday with the agreed date to collect the car with payment of the remaining amount. However, my partner called up the car dealer today pretending to be someone else and asked if it was still for sale and the dealer said yes. They are still advertising it for sale? Does this mean that the car is still for sale and we can lose our deposit? Where do we stand with this and can we get our deposit back ? Thanks

  18. Stuart Masson

    Hi Kathryn. What it means is that the dealer has low morals. If anyone rings up asking if that car is still for sale, the answer over the phone will be 'yes'. So that person gets in their car and drives all the way to the dealership, and when they get there they are told 'oh sorry, it's just been sold. But we do have another one right here that's only £5,000 dearer!' It gets people into the showroom so the sales staff can try and pressure them into whatever stock they have available. It's pathetic behaviour, but it's very common, unfortunately.

    If you have a contract then (subject to you paying for it) it's your car. Legally, title doesn't pass to you until it's paid for, but to all intents and purposes it's yours unless you can't complete the contract. If, for whatever reason, the dealer decided to sell the car to someone else, you would get your deposit back and a mumbled lie about how there was some kind of problem and they couldn't sell it to you.

  19. Hi Stuart, I signed a car sales invoice and put a deposit down on a car and payed a deposit via a credit card, in between that time, I found out via a friend, that the vendor was charging approx £2,500.00 above "Glasses" retail price for that vehicle, so I made an excuse and pulled out of the deal, the dealer has refused to refund my deposit even though I was prepared to lose some of the deposit to include administration costs, but the dealer tell me they do not do refunds and are issuing me a credit note that will remain active for 12 months!

    Do I have any recourse in law to have some of that money refunded!


  20. Stuart Masson

    Hi Barrie. The dealer is not obliged to follow Glass's Guide to set the price for their car. As outlined above, if you signed a contract on the premises then you do not have the legal right to walk away and get your deposit back.

    You could try asking the credit card provider to reverse the charge, but they would want a good reason.

  21. Hi Stuart. I signed a vehicle order form on Friday and was due to pick the car up on Saturday. The car was then taxed in my name. I couldn't pick the car up on Saturday & when I told my wife about the purchase she was thoroughly annoyed I had bought it and told me to cancel. I rang up on Monday & told them the situation and was told that it had been taxed & it will prove a problem to fix this etc. They rang me back & told me they had managed to get it cancelled but I will have to pay a £300 cancellation fee. Do I have to pay this? Many thanks.

  22. Stuart Masson

    Hi Gill. If you haven't already given them any money or your card details, it will be difficult for them to force you to pay them anything. If you have given them money or your details, you will have a hard time trying to get it refunded.

    As the post explains, you don't have the legal right to your money back because you changed your mind (or because your wife doesn't want you to buy the car). The dealer has the high ground legally, but they are unlikely to chase you too hard for the £300 if they haven't already got it because it's more trouble than it's worth.

  23. Hi Stewart
    I have just rushed into buying a car on hp but when I took the car yesterday I realise I have made a mistake of not test driving before committing to it and also only realise it's not suitable for a family person.
    I have called the car dealer that I am happy to swap the car and I realise they have been dribbling me about
    please what can I do?
    I felt so bad that I feel like just taking the car back and defile the contract and the finance and go to court .I don't mind if they hold the 1000 I deposit as well
    its a used car and it was already overpriced which I do not mind but I want a car suitable for me as it's 5 years contract

  24. Stuart Masson

    Hi jossy. I'm not sure why you are so upset with the dealer, since by your own admission "you rushed into buying a car". There is no easy way to get out of it now – you can cancel the finance agreement, but that doesn't entitle you to give the car back.

    Unless you can show that the dealer has acted improperly, you don't have an argument and you would lose in court, which will only make your problems worse.

  25. In the terms and conditions it says that if the order is cancelled i would have to pay 20% of the price of the car. Of course i didn't read this at the time. This will come out at well over a thousand pounds. How likely do you think they will be to pursue this legally. I wasn't told any of this at the time and don't have the money to pay as I was going to get a loan for the car. Thanks.

  26. Hi, I bought a 6 month old Mercedes Benz A class from a Mercedes Dealer. During the sale we discussed the fitting of reverse parking sensors. They said they could do them at a cost of £300. I also commented the reverse camera would be nice to have as the screen is already there. The sale went ahead with agreement on the sensors fitted. Upon research before I collected the car I found out that the camera can be easily fitted if the head unit was the correct type On collection of the vehicle I brought this up ad they checked and said it was not the correct one so we continued on with the sale including parking sensors to be fitted the following week. At no point was I told non genuine reverse kit would be installed. I would of thought my expectations were clear regarding the research I had done and discussed with them.
    Sensors were fitted and car returned. On first attempt to reverse the sensors were beeping quickly indicating there was a very close object. they car was in open space. This happened again when I got home and parked the car. My wife has had the same experience. They are not working as they should. I am not happy at all that they fitted non genuine reverse sensor kit without my knowledge or permission. I would not of bothered if I had known. It may of even been a deal breaker before the sale was agreed. Car was collected 8 days ago on the 8th October.
    What are my rights to have the car put back to as it was before the sensors were fitted?
    Have Genuine sensors fitted?
    If they refuse either can I force a return of goods?

    In my opinion I was miss sold the extra. My full expectation was genuine parts especially after the sales blurb about genuine service plans etc…


  27. Stuart Masson

    Hi Pete. Mercedes-Benz only offers a complete front & rear parking sensor option for the A-Class as a factory option, and nothing for retrofitting. The smaller screen is not video-compatible (unless this has changed recently, but it wasn't when the car was launched), so you have to option up to the factory satnav with bigger screen to get a reversing camera.

    You are unlikely to win an argument about whether you were told the parking sensors fitted were not genuine Mercedes-Benz ones, as there is unlikely to be any evidence that you ever questioned it or that it was an issue (unless you had emailed the dealer about it before purchasing). I can understand that you feel you should have been told that the sensors would not be genuine Mercedes-Benz parts, but the salesman could swear on a bible that he did tell you and there's no way to prove who's telling the truth. You are unlikely to be able to reject the car. Demanding that they remove the sensors isn't a great solution, as they will simply take them out, bog up the holes and paint over them with paint that will never look as good as the original paintwork. They are not going to agree to replace the entire rear bumper.

    In reality, the parts are probably of comparable quality and are possibly from the very same supplier in China or Taiwan somewhere, so you are better off getting the sensors fixed. You are certainly within your rights to get them fixed so that they work properly, and the dealer should have no problems about doing this. They should even be able to get the installer to come to your home or work, since the work is usually done by a mobile contractor.

  28. Hello my wide and I recently put 5000 dollars down on a new 2015 toyota highlander. My wife signed the document and paid the deposit. The next day we spoke to someone that said we got a good deal but could get a better deal on the over all price. I am wondering what are the chances of voiding the contract as well as re negotiating at this point being that we already signed the contract. Anything would help a great deal. I am in Alberta Canada. Thanks so much

  29. Stuart Masson

    Hi Marc. I don't know what the law states in Alberta, but here in the UK you wouldn't have the legal right to change your mind because you found a better deal after you signed the contract.

  30. Hi Stuart,

    Thanks for the excellent blog and your quality and time in responding to the queries.
    On Friday, I went into a local Volkswagen dealership and as I had been shopping through CarWow explained that I would like them to match the other dealer's price. I showed them the offers I had received on my phone (at one point the phone was even asked to be taken into the back room). This meant the dealer was fully aware of exactly how much the offer from their competitor was. The dealers stated they could not match it but stated their offer would be within a "a couple of hundred pounds". On the basis of the understanding that I was receiving a competitive offer, albeit one that was "a couple of hundred pounds" greater in the interest of setting a good relationship with the dealership in case any problems arose in future. I therefore paid a £1000 deposit and signed an order form. Sadly, on Monday I realised I had been duped and that the £1000 deposit contribution from VW Finance had been used to obfuscate the true competitiveness of the deal being offered. The deal wasn't in fact within "a couple of hundred pounds" but actually a full £1200 short of their competitor. I felt extremely dissatisfied and called my dealer to explain that I would like to cancel the contract. The dealer is now refusing to refund my £1000 deposit and claiming they will incur significant financial losses. This is even though the car is not scheduled to be built until December. This clearly cannot be true. In the paperwork I signed, was also a section outlining the cancellation rights on the last page of the contract. I had read this at the dealership and assumed, as with the vast majority of purchases, that my consumer rights would be protected if I needed to cancel. Reading your blog, this now appears that these cancellation rights do not apply to my situation. The page included was in a different font to the rest of the contract and at no point was it outlined to me that these rights would not apply. Reading this again now, I recognize this as the "Distance Selling Rights" which makes me wonder whether they were included there on purpose to mislead me. My annoyance and frustration with the dealer is unlike anything i have experience previously. Do you have any advice for how I should deal with this situation?

    Many thanks,

  31. Stuart Masson

    Hi Dave. Start with a complaint to the Dealer Principal/General Manager, pointing out the poor sales practices of his/her Sales Manager and sales staff. If that gets you nowhere, make a written complaint about the dealer to Volkswagen UK at Milton Keynes. Given the PR nightmare they are dealing with on their diesel cars at the moment, they will probably be quite happy to assist anyone who is still interested in purchasing a Volkswagen.

  32. Stuart,

    Thank you very much for the sound and prompt advice. I have called the dealership directly to speak to the GM and left a message. I also created a complaint through the Resolver website that I hope will be routed through the UK Head Office.

    Many thanks,

  33. Hi Stuart,
    Wonder if you can help me, I hastily agreed to a PCP contract from a ford dealership for a year old fiesta zetec 1.25.
    I went on a test drive on a specific route! liked the car and went back the following week to get it.
    I am now finding my car extremely gutless!! in the sense that it doesn't like going up hills at all and slowing down before going at normal speed again you have to put your foot to the floor before you reach 30mph which i find ridiculous as I only really drive around town, to work etc.
    It's a daily slog to get to places and very frustrating given that the car is only a year old.
    my question is can I swap it on this PCP before 3 years are up and would there be a charge, and could i also change from PCP so that the car is actually mine at the end of the contract?
    I have contacted the dealership salesman by email but have yet to receive a reply.

    Many Thnks

  34. Stuart Masson

    Hi Cass. I would ask the dealership to inspect the car to make sure everything is actually working properly, as any modern car should be able to cope with 30mph city driving comfortably.

    If there is nothing wrong with the car, then changing it early is likely to be expensive. Have a read of our article about settling a PCP early.

  35. Stuart Masson

    Thanks Dave. Let us know how you get on; hopefully it will be resolved fairly painlessly.

  36. Ive bought a golf from VW and they have sent me my refund back and its been comfirmed with a recept. However, they are still sending me emails about ordering the car such as thank you for ordering your car will be ready shortly.
    Has the car been cancelled or are these emails automated?

  37. Stuart Masson

    Hi Daniel. It is probably an automated email.

    If the dealer has given you the money back and provided as receipt, they have cancelled your order. I would still suggest getting written confirmation (email is fine) from the dealership, preferably from the Sales Manager, that your order has been cancelled for your own records and peace of mind.

    It may be that the dealer is still ordering the vehicle from the factory anyway, to keep for their own stock or to use as a demonstrator, etc. For whatever reason, the dealer has not taken your details off the vehicle ordering system – this may be an oversight or it may be deliberate for their own purposes (customer orders often get production priority over stock orders). Regardless, it's not your worry as long as you have written proof that your order has been cancelled.

  38. I went to a local car supermarket and paid a £200 deposit for them to transfer a car from another branch. I signed a vehicle order form (which had a higher price then was quoted on their website) and I also signed an authorisation form which said in the comments box 'STV' (subject to viewing). I signed the document on the car dealers premises and I can kick myself for being so stupid as the dealer said the deposit would be refundable, but the documents they have given me are saying I have purchased the car. Can you advise if I am covered by the distance selling act?

  39. Stuart Masson

    Hi Jim. You are not covered under distance selling regulations, but if it is in writing that the contract is subject to viewing then you should be able to cancel and get a refund of your deposit. This assumes that you have a problem with the vehicle or that it is not as described/advertised.

    The dealer will usually act in presumption that you will go through with the sale – if they actively leave the door open for the customer to walk away, it's far more likely to happen. You may have to argue it out with the sales manager or general manager, but you should be able to cancel if the car is not as described.

  40. Many thanks for your reply Stuart. Would I not be covered by the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations as what they have told me verbally and put on their authorisation form is wrong and I have a witness as to what they said. Also they say said on the phone that their calls are recorded and the manager repeated in two separate calls that I was covered by the distance selling regulations.

  41. Hi Stuart,
    I went to my BMW dealership for a used car and was willing to pay 4k cash and 10k in the form of a bank loan. I got sold PCP by the business manager. I have signed all paperwork but not picked the car yet. No deposit has been made either. I do not want a new car every few years and feel more in control paying upfront and making the car last 7-8 years. Can i still cancel the whole deal.

  42. Stuart Masson

    Hi swarn. There is a difference between cancelling the purchase contract and cancelling the finance contract. The finance contract has a 14-day cancellation period included by law, and if you haven't taken the delivery of the car then it will not have started yet.

    However, cancelling the finance does not give you the right to cancel the car – it just means you have to find another way to finance it. So if you choose not to go ahead with the dealer finance, you would be back to Plan A of getting a bank loan instead.

  43. I have picked up and signed for my new Peugeot 208,they taxed it for me there and I went on my way this was late afternoon, got home and went to put my pram in the boot and it doesn’t fit…so I put my car seat in rear seats and seat belt is a struggle to get round as small, also on the forecourt the guy knew I needed a bigger car and ar first offered me a shitty 108 and I said no yhen looked at this and at the time looked bigger, but obviously after everything signed, and agreed to and I px my old car I get home and find that the car is far to small I even tried my fishing kit in the car with rear seats down…no good, after not even 24 hours the following day I email and ring the garage and explain, look car to small, I can’t get my pram in the boot and it doesn’t fit my needs I’d like to return the car plz, they say I can’t and I have two options pay the outstanding finance or come back and replace my new car for a bigger car but a older model because obviously they cost more but under same monthly repayments, so I said let me have a think, I ring up my insurance etc. It’s a no can do far to more expensive so I ring them back up and explain and they just flog me off to finance company to i get in touch with them and explain “look I’ve committed to a car not even 24hours ago in wich is far to small and ni effective for me and dealer have told me to come to you” there reply is ” we can cancel agreement but it’s down to dealers discretion” so contact dealer and they just say same thing come back and swap or pay balance off….any advice

  44. Stuart Masson

    Hi Ricky. You do not have any legal right to return the car because it’s too small. You can cancel the finance agreement with 14 days, but that just means they will send you an invoice for the car instead. If the dealer did agree to buy the car back from you, it would be for much less money than what you have just paid for it.

    Assuming that there is nothing actually wrong with the car, you’re either stuck with it or you are going to take a hefty loss to change it. Ultimately it’s your responsibility to make sure the car you are buying is suitable for your needs, not the dealer’s.

  45. hi stuart i applied for finance online with we sell car finance they supply car.i was told to go down with proofs (2n half hours on train)on the 14 th nov 15 i was told dont worry we will refund your trave.i got there at 4pm pitch black went in was quickly taken to a room to print 3months bank statements and left for around an hour then the sales guy came and said what car i was after i said a focus or astra he knew i had disable daughter through my proofs of dla n benefits, he walked me outside in the dark into a car park full of cars n led me up to this astra sri sports 2010 said this one will be right for your budget we went back inside didnt get a chance to look inside car or test drive. waited another hour he came back n said your monthly income is just a bit low for the car n would need £200 deposit which i didnt hadnt have,i went with my daughter in law i said id choose another car he was pressurizing me for deposit so my daughter in law said she would loan me money £200 but ive have still to pay her back. he dissapeared with my deposit came back half hour later with someone from finance n i signed agreement then he said sorry u cannot take car you will have to come back monday when a payment device is fitted my daughter in law stepped in said you said on the phone she could drive away today he said he would sort a courtesy car out he then came back n said you can take the car but you must come back monday to have payment device fitted. got home 8.30pm, so i rang him mon he said if u come now ill have the device fitter here ready i arrived at 10.45 am n was told device fitter wasnt there and was told to wait, 1130am the guy came and said hes gonna be at least 45 minutes and i m second inline for fitting he said it takes around 45 minutes to fit.so at 1240 i decided id waited long enough n set off back home on way back i got a text message at 1.33pm saying device fitter is here so when i got home i had a call from them at about at around 4pm i said i had to come home as i would of been late to pick my daughter up from school i was told i need to get back there tuesady morn really early i said i couldnt till friday as didnt get any money till then, i rang the finance company the (car finance company) and was told i could cancel up to 14 days from signing the agreement that is just the finance side which was nearly £4000 with them but i would need to pay them (we finance cars) the £5100 and give them the car, i have a 3door sports car 1.4 sri 88 astra no good for a disabled child i just dont want the car please can u give me some advice please i am thinking just going to there garage leaving the car n come home thank you for reading julie

  46. Stuart Masson

    Hi Julie. If everything you say is true, they sound like a pretty terrible organisation. If you would like advice on your legal rights, I suggest going to http://www.legalbeagles.info, as they have people on their forum who can provide you with some good advice. You can also contact the Financial Ombudsman Service for advice on how to proceed. Have a look at their site here: http://www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk/contact/index.html

    The difficulty will probably be having enough information in writing to show that the company was misleading you. Unfortunately, telephone conversations are not helpful as there is no record of the conversation. Evidence from a third party (eg – your daughter-in-law) will be helpful.

    Hopefully you will be able to get it resolved.

  47. Hello. I bought a new Factory special jeep from a dealership in Toronto, Canada via phone from newyork. I’m now living in Toronto and the place I live in the jeep won’t fit in my driveway. Now I’ve given 1,000 dollar deposit but I haven’t signed anything. I tried using my credit card for the deposit but they said it wasn’t going through. So I ended up using pay pal. Now I don’t want the jeep. Will I be able to get the deposit back?

  48. Hi stuart,
    I have a toyota yaris 63 plate at the moment on a 0% agreement for 3 years with toyota. I was offered an upgrade as I complained about their service (customer and car service deals). Im now 2 years in with this deal. They have offered me a new yaris for more money a month. I agreed to this, mainly due to the salesmans gift of the gab. but now my job is on the line and I don’t want to pay more a month. I have put down a £250 deposit to hold the new car which they said is refundable… however I have not signed any agreements for the new car. They haven’t even told me how much they would give if I traded my car with them in at the moment but this is part of the deal.
    I have phoned and told them that I have changed my mind due to financial reasons with my job. I still want to keep the car I have with them and just buy this car out. So they will still have my business. I have not yet had a reply from them.
    Am I entitled to a refund of the £250
    Or would they take it as an extra payment on the car I have now instead of loosing it all together ?
    Thanks for your help.

  49. Stuart Masson

    Hi Jesse. Unfortunately I don’t know what the law says in Canada, so you will have to look up Canadian websites, or maybe even more specifically, Ontario-based websites.

  50. Stuart Masson

    Hi Vicki. If you have not signed anything, they can’t hold you to anything. However, you may have to argue a bit to get your £250 back.

    Your deposit for the new car is with the dealership, but that has nothing to do with your current car agreement. Your car currently belongs to the finance company, not the dealer (and not you). So the dealer will not be putting the £250 towards your current car payments – either they will give it back to you or keep it.

    Have a read of our article about the tricks of the trade with our article about early upgrade offers.

  51. Hi Stuart, I have just plopped down a £3k deposit on a car costing £12k

    I have agreed to PX and arrange finance myself for the remainder. I didn’t actually sign anything on site….indeed the only thing I did was pay the deposit. If I now decided I didn’t wish to push ahead with the sale, can I insist on the return of the hefty deposit?

    Many thanks

  52. Stuart Masson

    Hi Philip. In theory, you should be able to get your money back, but you may have to fight them for it. Basically you have handed over £3,000 to a car dealer without a contract to say what the money is for, so in theory they could say it was for anything.

  53. Hi Stuart,
    I went to a showroom and have paid a £500 deposit for a new car. I was given a receipt and agreed that as the printer at the dealership wasn’t working at the time I would accept the paperwork by email. The next day the salesman phoned me to say that the finance had been agreed. That was 3 weeks ago and despite me phoning 4 times have still not received anything. When I first phoned the dealership and asked for some paperwork, the salesman said I wouldn’t get anything until I came to collect the car. The car was delivered yesterday (to the dealership) and I received an order form by email last night.
    What is concerning me is I thought it was agreed that the dealership would pay for a towbar to be fitted – I don’t think it was included on the costs as the salesman wrote the figure down at the bottom of the finance quotation form, but the cost is on the order form. I am now worried that I may have misunderstood what was agreed and have emailed back to the dealership stating that I don’t think their figure are correct and whether they could send me the finance agreement as the monthly payment is the only figure I am sure about.
    What should I have expected paperwork-wise and what are my rights as per my deposit?
    Please advise.

  54. Stuart Masson

    Hi Elaine. I would suggest you hold your ground on the towbar and insist that the contract being offered does not reflect what was agreed. It may be that they are just trying it on to see if you would pay up.

    You haven’t got a signed contract and you haven’t signed a finance agreement. Therefore, there’s nothing they can do to stop you walking away. You may have to fight them to get your deposit back, but if you do so then you are likely to eventually win. If you are having trouble with the salesman, escalate it to the sales manager. If he/she is not helpful, escalate it to the general manager/dealer principal. Don’t be shy about it; keep going up the chain and eventually they will either give you the towbar or your money back.

  55. Hi Stuart

    Hope you can help. Visited a dealership the other day and my girlfriend went to test drive a car. A deposit of £200 (paid by Barclay credit card) was already done to reserve viewing the car. After sitting for a few hours trying to get a deal my girlfriend said yes to purchasing the car. A handshake was done with the salesman, a vehicle order form given to us (not signed), apart from the initial £200 no further payments were made for the car. My girlfriend later decided that she didn’t want to pay the extra £320 warranty initially agreed on the vehicle order form. She has sent an email informing them that she is no longer interested in pursuing with the purchase. My question is can the dealership do any legally against her as only a handshake was done and nothing signed? Im concerned that its like shaking hands with the devil and its legally binding so unsure on repercussions of walking away. Is an email cancellation acceptable as ‘cancellation in writing’?
    thanks in advance

  56. Stuart Masson

    Hi Andrew. There’s not much the dealership can do to force her to take the car, especially without a signed contract. However, you may be up for a battle to get her £200 back.

    Yes, email is acceptable. Make sure you request confirmation that they have received it – include a read receipt with the message, but more importantly ask them to reply with written confirmation that they have received your email.

  57. I went into an Audi garage yesterday and as it was Sunday most of it was rushed I ended up signing the contract and paying the deposit. At no time had the salesman stated to me that the deposit was non-refundable and was more in a hurry for me to make the purchase. The contract also does not state that the deposit is non refundable and He has not signed my contract. Do I have anything to stand on?

  58. Stuart Masson

    Hi Ayesha. You are likely to have to fight to get your deposit back if you have simply changed your mind. While the contract does not state that the deposit is non-refundable,it also doesn’t state that it is refundable. Once you hand money over, you are making a commitment to purchasing a car.

    If you have signed the contract, again, you are committing to the purchase. It is quite possible that the salesman did not have the authority to sign it off, and it would have been signed by his manager this morning.

  59. Hi,

    Thank you for your response, I had mentioned to the salesman that I would rather comeback next week to make a decision which I was clear about however he insisted I paid a deposit to hold the car which was what I thought I was doing, just holding it. Is it not compulsory to mention when making a payment that a deposit is non-refundable.

    The sale took place at 04:00pm Sunday when the store was closing and I called back first thing at 8:30am when store reopened to tell them of my decision meaning they had not lost any resale time as surely they could not have sold the car in the night anyway.

  60. Stuart Masson

    If you sign a contract and pay a deposit, you are buying a car. It’s up to you to read the form that you are signing. If you’re not 100% comfortable, don’t sign a contract and don’t give a dealer any money.

    What the salesman says or doesn’t say is largely irrelevant. He can swear on his grandmother’s grave that he told you absolutely everything you needed to know, and that you were fully aware of your obligations. At the end of the day, what matters is what is written on the contract. And unless the contract says that your deposit is refundable, there is no obligation to give you your money back. Why would there be?

  61. Just to give an update I was actually refunded as a gesture of good will, I played it cool and didn’t argue with the contract and just played Silly Billy card.

    The manager was very nice so luckily he refunded me as a gesture of good will as he incurred no costs and it was near Christmas!

    Lesson Learnt

  62. Stuart Masson

    Great news Ayesha, well done.

  63. Hi I just purchased a new car from dealership at agreed price. Paid deposit. No paperwork because computer not working. One our later salesman calls to say they have made a mistake and they quoted for a manual not automatic and I have to pay another £1400. I find this unbelievable as they were actually price matching an on line quote which he took a copy of. Can I insist they supply the car at the agreed price?

  64. Stuart Masson

    Unfortunately, if you don’t have a written contract which sets out the exact specification of the car, then you can’t insist on anything except a refund of your deposit.

  65. Hi Stuart,

    I basically went to the dealers one day and paid a £500 deposit for a Brand New car for me and my wife and signed a purchase agreement . The dealer didn’t have the same trim level of the car I wanted and showed me the lower trim level. I looked at the brochure and the images looked great and so I ordered the car from factory order and was going to surprise my wife. The salesman told me it could take 12 weeks to arrive. A few days later and my wife was admitted to hospital and is pretty serious. I don’t really want to go ahead with the purchase of the car anymore as I feel a bit stressed with everything going on right now and it simply doesn’t feel right. I just want to cancel the purchase and focus on my wife. Have I any way of getting out of it? Will I only lose the £500 or do I have to now buy it from them?

    Any advice?

  66. Stuart Masson

    Hi Faz. If you want to cancel your order, you can expect to lose the £500 deposit. However, there’s no realistic way the dealer can force you to buy the car.

    Cancel as soon as possible, which will minimise any costs to the dealership in terms of committing to a car that they may otherwise not want to order. It might not help get your deposit back, but may stop them wanting to chase you for any other costs they incur.

  67. Hi Stuart, I was very excited buying my 1st car over the weekend and found an older micra than I wanted. The dealer was in a seclued area & he was very rude but offered to MOT & sort the car. My dad paid the deposit without checking papers (I had no clue on cars just passed my test relied on dads help), he filed out a form stating Non-refundable & then other things he would do like repairs & delivery. When we got back I had a bad feeling and looked up the vehicle which had no tax for months & the dealer wouldn’t answer his phone, we then looked up the website reviews it was all negative making up now not want the car. What should we do from here as £200 is alot & its a very upsetting 1st car experience =-(

  68. Hi Stuart I got a used car on finance from Vauxhall, happy with the car for a couple of months and started having problems with various things in the car which they say is not included in my warranty and they are billing me thousands of pounds to get it fixed which Vauxhall and I have refused to pay. The car is a 62 plate and its really shocking to be having issues already. Now I am thinking of Cancelling the contract, is there a way of going about this or am I stuck with the car and the issues???? please help!!!

  69. Stuart Masson

    Hi Mimi. if a car is sitting on a dealer’s lot, it won’t be taxed. So that is normal and it won’t be taxed until the day you collect it. As for poor website reviews, it doesn’t absolve you from the contract signed. If you want to back out, you are almost certain to lose your £200.

  70. Stuart Masson

    Without knowing the problems and their causes, it’s impossible to say whether or not your concerns are justified. You can try contacting the finance company (since it’s actually their car) to see if they can pressure Vauxhall into warranty repairs, but otherwise you’re stuck with it. You don’t have the right to cancel your finance contract because the car broke down.

  71. Hi Stuart,

    Great article. Just one variant on the above to ask you about.

    I test drove a used car at the dealership but wasn’t sure if I wanted to buy it. I went home and later in the day paid a deposit over the phone. I received an order form by email which I signed and returned.

    Will I be covered by the Consumer Contract Regulations?

  72. Stuart Masson

    Hi Steve. Yes you will be covered, because the contract was not signed on the premises.

  73. Hi Stuart,
    I visited my local Mercedes dealer (North Wales Mercedes) today in order to Test Drive a car that I had seen on their website and that I had been informed about by one of their salesman. On completion of the Test Drive we were eventually able to agree a deal on the vehicle that included my car in px. I was informed by the salesman at the time that he thought the car I wanted to buy had been undervalued by the organisation and that it should have been about 3k more expensive. Nevertheless, a deal was brokered and I agreed to pay a £1000 deposit and in turn received a receipt. The salesman had to leave for a dental appointment therefore we did not complete any further paperwork and I agreed to return tomorrow to complete the documentation.
    About an hour after leaving the dealership, I received a telephone call from the sales manager informing me that they had made a mistake and the car had already been bought by another buyer from another dealer within the group. I have received my deposit back>
    I feel that I have been deceived by the dealer and I cant believe that in today’s hi tech, computer driven society, that this didn’t get flagged up as soon as they began the negotiations with myself!!
    I’m guessing that they have reneged on the deal due to the fact that the vehicle was incorrectly priced in the 1st place (although I can’t prove this)

    Where do I stand legally and did the dealer act in a proper manner?

    Many thanks.


  74. Stuart Masson

    Hi Dewi. This does happen, and it is entirely possible that they are telling you the truth. Having been in the salesperson’s position, it is very frustrating to spend a lot of time with a customer and eventually sell them a car, only to subsequently find out that another customer in another dealership has bought the car minutes beforehand.

    Some dealer groups are very large with multiple sites (each with large numbers of sales staff), and it is entirely possible that a number of salespeople can all be trying to sell the same car at the same time.

    The car should be taken off sale immediately and transported off to the other site pretty quickly. If the car is still on site and for sale in coming days, then they may not have been telling you the truth.

  75. Hi Stuart,
    I have a situation with a new car purchase which is at the moment un-resolved.
    I purchased a new car from their existing stock on a pcp deal and placed a £250 deposit as asked. When it came to finalise and collect the car it is apparent that the roof and wing mirrors are the white body colour not the black as stated on the new vehicle contract.
    I only briefly saw the vehicle in it’s pre pdi state in the rain with all the protective sheeting on the bodyork etc so nothing seemed amiss at the time. I refused the vehicle as it was not as described but due to an urgent apointment i left the dealership with the matter un-resolved, where do i stand with this?

    All help greatly appreciated.


  76. Stuart Masson

    If the car is not as specified in the contract, then the contract is void. You are entitled to your money back, or insist that a car is supplied which meets the contract specifications.

  77. Hi Stuart,
    Thank you very much for taking the time to reply.
    That’s great to know as i am going back tomorrow to resolve the situation one way or another. Is there any bargaining wiggle room ie if i decide to accept the vehicle in exchange for some dealer fitted accessories etc if offered ?
    I am also more than happy to walk away with my deposit back or insist on the correct specification vehicle but i may also accept the vehicle if they make it worth my while.
    As i’ve not been in this situation before i haven’t a clue what to expect when i go back down to the dealer to talk with the business manager.



  78. Stuart Masson

    Hi John. Yes, absolutely there is an opportunity for you to negotiate on this vehicle if you want to do so.

    The original contract is void, so you can use the original price as a starting point for whatever you would like. The dealership will probably be very keen to get you to accept this vehicle and take delivery by 31 December, rather than sourcing another vehicle that won’t arrive until next year (it’s all about the numbers), so they are likely to be prepared to offer more than they otherwise would. AS long as you are not being unrealistic, there’s a good chance you can renegotiate the price and/or have extras thrown in. However, you have to be happy with the vehicle – if you don’t really like it with the white roof and mirrors, it’s likely to annoy you long after you’ve forgotten about any savings, in which case you should hold out for your preferred specification.

  79. Hi Stuart
    I bought a car off evans halshaw agreed on a price and monthly payment plan in the deal i had a verbal agreement with the sales man a managers special that i would get £35 cash back each month on the deal for 12 months and 3 months on and i have not had one payment would i be able to go back to them for breach of contract and terminate the payment contract.

  80. Stuart Masson

    Hi Mark. Feel free to go and have an argument with the salesman and his manager, but a verbal agreement is absolutely worthless. You have no case for breach of contract because it’s not in the contract.

  81. Hi Stuart,
    Last week we got a call from our car dealer to trade inour existing car and get a new car for only £55 per month for two years. Sounded a really good deal and we decided to go ahead with the new car. At the showroom we discussed the price and etc and we agreed to get a new car with some extra stuff for £68 per month for 2 years. We paid £200 deposit and when I got home I noticed that in the order form saying “Balance due from finance company £6000” I was really supriced and when I called the sales manager said that we have to pay that amoun back. The sales person never told as that after 2 years we will have to pay that amount in order to keep the car! I really feel that they tricked us, we never did finance for a car and we did not know how this works. Is there a chance to get our deposit back?

  82. Stuart Masson

    Hi Anna. It sounds like you did not read the finance contract before you signed it, as it would have been set out clearly in that. “The sales person didn’t explain it” is never an excuse that works, as the sales person can easily say that they did explain it, so all that you can rely on is the finance contract, which you presumably signed of your own free will.

    £55/month for two years works out to £1,320. What sort of new car did you expect to get for that amount of money?

  83. Hi Stuart.

    My wife & I plan on parting with both our cars & buying one decent sized family vehicle that we can share.
    We were looking for a Land Rover Freelander & found one that we liked the look of online.
    We visited the dealership & the vehicle was brought into the showroom.
    My wife instantly fell in love with it & wanted it, so I asked a few questions first.

    One of them was “does the 4wd work ok? (as I know there can sometimes be issues)
    The dealer gave me a slightly puzzled look & said it was a 2wd model & this one isn’t the 4wd version.
    I said ah okay, but by this time my wife didn’t seem too bothered as she had fallen in love straight away with this one due to the great condition it appeared in (we had looked at others for around the same budget that didn’t look in as good condition).

    We have small children & I explained that safety was paramount, he reassured us & said that before the final sale/release of the vehicle, Any issues at all would All be addressed, the car would get a Full new MOT, Full check & Full service before it was released to us, so we went ahead & paid the deposit.
    We have done a small online check & it shows that since paying the deposit it had failed the mot & also some advisories.
    I told my wife not to worry because they would of course All be addressed before we got it & that was the point of him putting a full new mot on it.

    Next check by us has revealed that All failures addressed & has passed the mot,
    BUT this is where I am needing advice before I speak to them.

    The advisories are all still there so obviously have Not been addressed.
    The advisories are that the brake pipes are:
    “slightly corroded from front to rear of the vehicle”
    And the other states that the “propshaft is missing from the vehicle” ???

    I had an idea what the latter meant & sure enough, after doing a little research on the net & enthusiast forums & it has been known for these vehicles to develop a fault on these parts
    & replacing them (by a garage) can be quite expensive. Some drivers have opted to remove the propshaft thus rendering the vehicle 2wd instead of 4wd (there are also some claims that it saves fuel but others argue that it is minimal)

    I have also since found out that land rover in fact didn’t make a 2wd version until 2010 (this is a 2005 model)
    So it looks like the dealer wasn’t exactly honest with us as it obviously Was originally & is meant to be a 4wd model??
    Also the fact that the brake pipes are corroded worry us too & my wife has said she doesn’t want the car if these issues aren’t’ addressed.
    This has left me now feeling uncertain about going ahead with the purchase of this vehicle but at the same time not sure where we stand?
    We have after all paid the deposit & agreed (in writing) the part exchange figure for our current car & the dealer has now obviously went to the expense of mot’ing & repairing the vehicle (even though he hasn’t done the brakes or propshaft).
    Are we able to request that the 4wd (propshaft) is rectified & the brake pipes also done or if not request our deposit back & walk away?

    Oh one last thing is that I have also since noticed that it doesn’t actually say 4wd in the online add so deliberately missed out for obvious reasons.

  84. Stuart Masson

    Hi Darren. The dealer can argue that the ad did not mention the car was 4WD, and that the salesperson specifically told you it wasn’t 4WD (inevitably it will save fuel, as you lose a large chunk of weight and reduce friction losses, which is one of the reasons LR ended up offering a 2WD version eventually). They can also argue that work was undertaken to pass the MOT test – advisories are just that, an advisory note that a particular issue will need addressing if it continues to deteriorate, which may not happen for a long time.

    I can understand that you feel that the salesperson wasn’t being honest about the vehicle, but the dealership has probably complied with the letter of the law. It is probably a situation where you can kick up a fuss and get your money back, as there is quite a bit of grey in the description over the 4WD/2WD aspect of the vehicle. They will need to do the same work for MOT purposes for anyone who buys the car, so as much as they may claim that they have incurred expenses, you can equally argue that they would have to do that anyway.

    The dealer is almost certainly not going to fit a new propshaft and any other 4WD bits to the car, as it would presumably be far too expensive. The brake pipe issue would depend on how much corrosion and whether it is likely to deteriorate and fail its next MOT. You can try to renegotiate the deal to include either of these, but you are probably better placed to get your money back and find another car – simply for peace of mind.

  85. Hi again Stuart.

    Thankyou for such a detailed, informative & prompt reply.
    I will show the information you have provided me, to my wife & we can have another chat about it & then contact the dealership in the morning.

    Thankyou once again.

  86. Hi Stuart, I viewed a car on Monday at a dealership. I called yesterday to pay £100 to take the car off sale and was told I had to complete an online order confirmation, which I did.

    Circumstances have now changed and I no longer want the car. Can I contact the dealership to back out and get a refund of my £100?

    Many thanks

  87. Stuart Masson

    Hi Andrew. As explained above, since you did not sign an order on the premises, you can cancel and get your £100 back. The dealer may want to fight you over it, but it is your legal right.

  88. i have bought a used vehicle from a dealer on the 16 of december 2015. the vehicle was fully paid but they could not deliver the vehicle to me as the same day as they said they have to check vehicle, i left the car there and it was agreed they will deliver the vehicle to me by next week tuesday 22-12-2015. i received the vehicle in the evening . as i was dark i could not check it , so waited for next day and the body looks fine and i drove the vehicle. on the 24 december 2015, i was driving the car when suddenly the OIL light came on. and it indicates me on the dash ” oil sensor workshop”. i pull over checked everything and came home. once home i call AA . they came down and inspect the vehicle and said it could be the Oil sensor that need to be change. i then email the company i bought the car from but i could only get a reply back on the 27-12-2015 due to Bank holidays. i explained to them what happen, the service manager told me that i have to bring the vehicle down to them as they do not provide recovery service. it is down to me to bring it. i told him the vehicle is still under warranty and if you confirm on an email that he will take full responsibility , i will then drive it down as it is a four and half hours drive. After a long chat, he then suggested that i drop the car to another branch of their which is a bit closer to me. i took the vehicle there and it has now sat there till the 7 of january. everytime i call for an update, the goes that they are waiting for a response from the other branch i bought it from so that they can go ahead with the repair. they have also told me that the vehicle need to go to main dealer. i had a call from their HR DEPARTMENT which i explained to them and i have told them that i cannot wait any longer due to the fact i need my car for work. i have not been working for nearly three weeks that i i ask them for a full refund . they said that it will only be the decision from the principal of the branch from where i bought it from. i am still waiting for a call from the manager till now. Now the vehicle is booked with main dealer vw on the 12-01-2015 and i still does not know how long it will take

    many thanks .

  89. Stuart Masson

    Hi Shakeel. If you are referring to the manufacturer warranty, any warranty work must be carried out by a Volkswagen dealer. if it is a dealer-provided warranty, you will need to correspond with the selling dealer. In short, whoever is providing the warranty gets to decide where any warrant repairs are done.

  90. Hi Stuart

    I’d really appreciate your assistance. Since 2009 I’ve been ‘buying’ cars on Hire Purchase through a dealership. Up to now I part-exchange my car for a new car every 3 years. The car which I’ve recently part-exchanged is a 2013 reg with 17,500 miles on the clock. I was initially contacted by my finance company to explain my options as the time for the balloon payment was approaching. They organised for me to visit the dealership I’ve been dealing with since 2009 as I decided to do what I’ve been doing, ie to get a new car and do a part-exchange. I decided on a car, however, before I’d signed any documents or put down a deposit, I changed my mind, this after seeing the same make of car but on on the higher range of the model ie with more features etc. but for the same price. This car was purchasable from a different franchise of the same company. Apparently the reason for the price decrease was because it was a pre-reg model. The only small concern I had was whether or not I’d receive the same offer for the part exchange with the new franchise as I’d received from my first point of contact, ie £4200, (the car is in exc condition btw). The salesman advised me that they’d have to see the car first.
    The first dealer asked me to come down and to at least take a look at the car which had arrived, after I’d explained that I’d changed my mind. I went along a few days later. I was quite impressed as the car looked better than I thought. However I knew regardless I could purchase the same car with better features for less. I told him so. He explained to me that a pre-reg would devalue the car. That along with my previously mentioned concern as well as the fact that the car was there already made me decide to take the car. That was on the 23rd of Dec 2015. I signed the papers and put down the £149 deposit. My first 2 payments to the Finance Company are due out in Feb. I have yet to contact the DVLA re my part-exchange car. HOWEVER 2 days ago the new car started making quite a loud noise when I was driving very slowly. Last night it was making a quieter noise which seemed to disappear whilst I was driving. However today when I started the car it made an horrendous noise, and large quantities of smoke were coming out from under the bonnet. There were also oil patches on the ground. The bloke from the RAC said I could not drive the car, ie after he’d come out and taken a look. It sounds like the alternator belt, bracket and seal are knackered. What rights do I have Stuart, if any? Am I still bound by my contract? Is there a 30 day cooling off period? I still would like to get the car with superior features etc. I’m not sure whether this would be at all possible. I hope this makes sense.

    Any advice etc would be very much appreciated.


  91. My Wife and I test drove an 8 month old discovery sport at a local land rover dealership.
    I asked how much a new one would be and the salesman replied £4k dearer. I deemed the saving to be reasonable and paid a £1000 deposit for the used vehicle with a view to collect it the following weekend. The paperwork was emailed to me the following day and I signed and returned it.
    Later that evening, I discovered that a new vehicle was in fact £2.5k dearer, which would also include a free service pack worth £500. As I could no longer see the value in the used car, I asked the dealer if I could change my order to a new vehicle.
    They have agreed to change my order, however, they have increased the basic car price and the optional extras so that their total comes to an additional £300 over the prices publicised by Land rover.
    As they are holding my deposit, I feel that i have lost the negotiating power that another financially uncommitted buyer may have.
    If the dealership refuse to lower the price, would I be entitled to a full refund on my deposit, on the grounds that I have been provided with incorrect information?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


  92. Stuart Masson

    Hi Beryl. Yes. you should be covered under the new consumer protection legislation if you want to reject the car. Have a read of this article about the new laws.

    If you want to keep the car but want it fixed, it should still be covered by your new car warranty.

  93. Stuart Masson

    Hi Paul. If the dealership has been misleading you, you should be able to kick up a fuss and get your money back. Contact the dealer principal/general manager and complain. By the sound of it, they are not a particularly ethical company to deal with, so I suggest demanding your money back and going elsewhere rather than allowing them to ‘correct their mistake’

  94. Dear Stuart

    Thanks ever, ever so much for addressing my post so quickly and thanks for this link and the info you have provided.

    I am deeply indebted and grateful for the service you provide

    Wishing you the very best

  95. HI i bought a car on januay 9th and decided that day i did not want it, so i called to cancel to it.. to find out there is no cooling off period. it is a brand new car, all i put down was the deposit of $500. I have not given them a void check or anything, the general manager of the dealer ship said his lawyers will be contacting me in 21 days, what is the worst thing that could happen and am i still going to get charged with loan?

  96. Stuart Masson

    Hi Tanya. Legally the dealership is correct; there is no cooling-off period and you have signed a legally-binding contract. In practical terms however, there’s not a lot the dealer can really do except keep your £500. They can threaten legal action to enforce the contract, but that will cost more than the profit margin on the car. If you are forced to take the car, you are likely to be a very unhappy and troublesome customer, which is likely to mean headaches for them for years to come. Basically, it’s much more trouble than it’s worth and they will inevitably turn their efforts to selling someone else a car instead.

    If it is a franchised main dealership, you can call the manufacturer head office to complain about the conduct of the dealership, which may get them to back down on the threat of legal action. Have a read of our Ten Golden Rules for buying a car.

  97. I have been in contact with a dealership to buy a new car on a PCP via phone and email. I agreed to purchase a vehicle over the phone and gave my card details for a £200 deposit. 7 days passed and after considerations I then realised my finances would be better off by pursuing a different avenue so emailed the dealership thanking them for their time and asked for my money back. They came back to me saying the deposit was non-refundable. Is this the case? From what I understand I should have 14 days to cancel and get my money back through the Distance Selling Regulations? In addition to that, I haven’t actually signed any documents yet.

  98. Stuart Masson

    Hi JB. You are correct, you should be able to get your money back. That doesn’t mean they will automatically hand it over, as you have found, and you will probably have to chase hard to get what you are legally owed.

  99. Hello Stuart

    I have brought a new car from BMW dealership in early January via HP finance(contract signed) and I’ve paided seen deposit of £2000, on the contract I have agreed to pay total of 10k deposit, but BMW have come back to me yesterday said they can only offer me finance if I pay a total deposit of 17k (as I don’t have any credit score, I don’t have a credit card or mortgage).
    17k is more than 50% of the car.
    What do I lose if I can’t afford it?
    Do I lose £2000 deposit that I’ve already paid or do I lose 10k deposit?

  100. Stuart Masson

    Hi YinYin. If the finance company won’t finance the car at the original quote that was offered, then you should be able to get your £2,000 back and have the contract cancelled. You signed a contract based on a quote provided by the dealer, who was acting on behalf of BMW Finance. If the finance company now wants to offer you different terms, then your contract should be voided.

    It may take some arguing with the dealer to get your £2,000 back, but it is your right.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

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