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. Thank you so much Stuart for the reply, if I do decide to buy the car, do you think I can get a further reduction with the price of the car?( I’m already getting £8000 off the original price.

  2. Stuart Masson

    No idea. Ultimately, it comes down to who wants the deal more – you or the dealer.

  3. Dear Stuart
    It is with regret I have to contact you. I have spoken with the VW franchise in person, sadly with no resolution. I have recently purchased a car through VW finance for my son. In order to get the very best deal I was going between two separate franchises.
    The franchise I finally went with had offered money off list price, a more attractive APR rate, and also interior and exterior protection – strongly recommended by the salesperson to protect the future value.
    Since taking delivery of this vehicle I have realised we have no paperwork stating the interior exterior protection has been applied. Obviously this is necessary for future value of the car. I have spoken with the franchise who now tell me “we can not give you such a warranty but can tell you it was done”
    When I questioned this, the salesperson whose voice had become very stuttery, gave the following ‘excuse’. “We can’t give you the warranty, as this is what costs the money”
    This to me equates to underhand backstreet dishonest selling. Had I been informed I would be receiving a service that I could not observe or have proof of I would not have gone ahead with this sale or this franchise.

  4. Stuart Masson

    Hi Maryk. I wouldn’t get too worried – the overpriced paint and fabric protection will not enhance your resale value in any significant way.

    Yes, it is dishonest and I can’t imagine why they won’t provide the certificate saying it was done, other than the fact that it probably wasn’t. You should write a complaint to the dealer principal / general manager, but there’s not a lot you can really do other than insist that they re-do it properly and provide the warranty certificate.

  5. Hi Stuart

    I contacted you previously on the 12 Jan 2016 and I was most grateful for your advice. I really would appreciate your help again concerning the same matter ie I p/x my car for a new car. As prev explained I’ve been doing this since 2009 on the PCP Hire. The car broke down onthe Tues, late pm after having it for 12 days. The RAC who are contracted by the dealership advised me they’d collect the car on the Wed am. They organised car hire for me which was delivered on the Thurs, initially they said I could only have the car for 24 hrs but I was then advised I could keep the car for 5 days. This was through EuropeCar. I’d contacted the dealership to sort out a courtesy car on the Wed. Thursday I received a voicemail saying that the courtesy car was ready. I never used the courtesy car. On the Friday the dealership left a voicemail saying my new car had been repaired and was ready for collection. I contacted the dealership and had no option but to leave a voicemail for my car salesman. I stated quite categorically that I did not want the car. I tried contacting him several times again on Sat. I decided to go into the dealership on Sun after missing his call. I was passed onto the manager and I explained that I did not want the new car. I was told that the car that I’d p/x had already been sold, this after asking for it back. I explained to him about the new customer consumer legislation (which you prev advised me about). He said he knew nothing about this. He advised me that their legal team would be aware of the new legislation. He also explained this was not a matter for him to deal with and that I’d need to contact their customer care dept and obtain a customer ID number which I was to give to him first thing the next day. After saying he’d not be dealing with the matter, he then said that he’d take care of the matter once I passed the case ID number on to him. I did as he advised however after a number of failed attempts to speak to him (I was given a number of excuses) on the Mon and the Tues, (and then promised that another manager would contact me, who btw did not either!), I finally got to speak to him on the 4th attempt on the Wed where he advised me that he was expecting a call from The Customer Care Worker who’d been assigned to my case later that day. That was the last I’ve heard from him. Sorry just to backtrack the Customer Care worker assigned to my case contacted me on the Mon afternoon (after my initial contact with Customer Care earlier that day) and told me that she’d been dealing with the matter! I explained the situation to her and felt that she was asking the question of whether or not I’d authorised the RAC to repair my car quite ambiguously. She seemed to suggest that my allowing my new car to be removed by the RAC (they never asked me to remove it btw, they advised me) was the same as authorising the repair, being somewhat confused I said yes. She asked how the car was. I explained it seemed a bit noisy but wasn’t sure. After letting my friend listen to the engine, and him telling me that the engine was pretty noisy, for a new car, I phoned her back, later that week, to advise her. She contacted me earlier last week to ask whether or not I’d been in touch with dealership regarding the noise. She advised me that I needed to after I explained to her that I’d not. She seemed taken aback when I brought up matter concerning rejection of new car, and asked me whether or not I’d changed my story about authorising the repair of the car. She then said she had to ask me some questions and that how I answered these was crucial? Did I authorise the repair, yes or no? Did I know where the car was being repaired? Did I use the courtesy car? Why did I take the new car back etc? I was confused as I didn’t get where she was coming given the new legislation. I explained that I never authorised the repair, the dealership never advised me that they were repairing the car. I assumed that the car was being repaired onsite although I could not say for sure. I’d not used the courtesy car and that I only took my ‘new’ car back on the Tues (I’d been advised it was ready for collection on the Fri). The reasons that I’d collected the ‘new’ car on the Tues were; the car hire had to be returned on the Tues and that after speaking to the manager on the sun, he suggested (or to best of my recollection said) that my taking the ‘new’ car on the Tues would not implicate me.

    The customer care worker said she’d be back in touch on the Friday, 29 Jan. I’m still waiting for her call. Here is the crux of the matter, sorry for the lengthy explanation, but basically I cancelled the direct debit with the finance company (who the dealership originally set me up with). I’m concerned as I’m not sure whether or not this action is advisable. I’m concerned that my p/x car has been sold and that I’m having to pay for a car I don’t want when I could be paying it off on another car. The delay will cost me. I hope this makes sense Stuart…once again apologies for the essay! I really would be most grateful for any advice.

    Thank you


  6. Stuart Masson

    Hi Beryl. My advice would be to put your argument in writing to the dealership, the finance company and the manufacturer, as it will be easier for you than trying to argue your case over the phone with ‘customer care’ advisors who seem more intent on tripping you up than helping you. Make it very clear that you are aware of your rights under the legislation and that you are not happy with the way that your matter is being handled. All of the rest of the questions they have been asking you are simply smoke and mirrors, and you need to make sure you do not get diverted by any of it. You may well need to engage a solicitor to assist you in getting your matter resolved, as just because you have the law on your side doesn’t mean that the dealer will play along.

    You definitely need to get in touch with the finance company and explain what’s going on to them. The car is legally their property, not yours, and cancelling your direct debit is likely to trigger their recovery services rather than getting them on your side. You will probably need to reinstate this while the matter is ongoing and try to claim anything back afterwards, or else you will be fighting the finance company as well as the dealership and the manufacturer.

    Regarding your part-exchange, it’s perfectly normal for the dealership to sell on your car as soon as you have sold it to them. Either it will be sold to another customer or sent off to a trade auction. Once you have signed your car over to the dealership, it’s theirs to dispose of as they please. In the event of you being able to reject your new car, you would get a refund for the full value of the car, including the cash value of your part-exchange, but you are never going to get your old car back.

  7. Stuart massive thank you!

  8. Stuart just want to thank you for this excellent service that you provide, really grateful for it, indebted to you. Have put complaint in writing and decided to reinstate the direct debit as you so rightly advised.

  9. Stuart Masson

    Great stuff. Fingers crossed it all works out well, and that it’s relatively painless from here on in.

  10. Hi I recently paid a deposit on a car but didn’t sign a vehicle order form or any paperwork. I only left the showroom with a receipt for my deposit. I changed my mind on this car as I got a better deal elsewhere. I have asked for a refund but they said it none refundable but were not made aware of this at the time. I hadn’t test drove this car as it was road ready as it had only arrived at the dealership a couple of hours earlier. I was wondering would I be entitled to a refund. Many thanks amanda

  11. Stuart Masson

    Hi Amanda. Yes, you should be able to get your money back because there is no contract which outlines the terms and conditions of any agreement. However, that doesn’t mean the dealership will give it back without a fight.

  12. Hi Stuart, I have signed a finance agreement and paid a deposit for a 3 Series BMW Touring. It is due to arrive in the UK in just over 3 weeks. I have been in 2 minds for a while since I ‘bought’ it as I think I should have gone for a 4×4 option from Landrover or similar. I know it is not the best decision making to be thinking this 4 months after ordering a car. I have paid a £1,000 deposit and I know I will not get that back (signed the form in the dealer ship etc). I have signed a New Vehicle Contract with BMW, the T&Cs say: Effects of Cancellation 17. basically say what happens if they cancel – I am not sure what would happen if I cancel. The deal was agreed with my old SAAB as part exchange and with the usual discounts for buying through their standard finance model. The car does has £5,600 ex VAT add ons – so is quite high spec. Is there any chance I can cancel at this stage and only loose my deposit? Thanks.

  13. Stuart Masson

    Hi Simon. Understandably the dealer won’t be very happy with you for cancelling the order, but in practical terms there is not a lot they can do other than keep your £1,000 deposit. Of course, if you told the dealer that you were off to buy an Audi instead, they might try to take action against you…

  14. Hi Stuart,

    Please help, 4 days ago I put a deposit down on a PCP deal for a car only a month or two old. I put the £500 deposit down over the phone via credit card and now I’ve changed my mind. Is my deposit refundable? Am I not covered under distance selling regulations because its a PCP.

    Also I was mislead to to think the annual road tax on the car was £20 when in fact its £30. Does this mean the dealership has broken the contract as the car is different to what I agreed to buy?

    Kind regards,


  15. Dear Stuart,

    First of all congratulations on your excellent site. It is actually a very useful tool for car buyers to learn their lessons (even if it is a bit too late due to their own mistakes) and others to use your advices for their own benefit. Following reading through almost all of your replies above I still haven’t found the answer to my question(s). I was wondering if you coud help me out with your advice on my issue?

    I have signed up, and ordered a Brand new vehicle (Skoda Superb 2016 L&K with top specs) on the 21st December 2015. I was given an estimated delivery date of 1st April 2016 at the time of the order, and the dealership has accepted a part exchange of my old vehicle. As my previous car was running out of tax and MOT by the end of 2015, I have decided to deliver it to the dealership on the 31st December 2015 (Thursday) which has been accepted by the dealer.

    For your information a friend of mine has also ordered a car with special setup from the same dealer, and his car has been delivered a month and a half earlier than the estimated delivery date.

    I have just returned form a holiday from the far east and tried to contact the dealership to give me an update on the delivery date of my vehicle. It took me 6 phone calls to finally being contacted by the manager. It was a major shock to learn from this person that the delivery date has now been changed to mid August 2016 (!!!!). In the meantime I assume they have already sold my car on an auction and I will have no access to theat vehicle any longer.

    I am living in a rural area of England where cars are a must to get to work and other places. I am working as a private medical professional and whilst I was planning to use a rented vehicle for a few more weeks (but not longer than the estiated delivery time), it now seems to be rather a six more MONTHS waiting than 6 monre WEEKS. Big difference.

    The company has offered a refund of my deposit (£ 1000.00) which has been paid buy the placement of my order and used my money in th epast 2 months for their own purposes. They have not offered any further compensation, spare vehicles or any other solution for my mobility problems, but those you can find in their email delivered to my mailbox a few minutes ago. Please find a copy of this letter below.

    Can you please advise me if they are handled the same way as the customers are handled? If I walk away, I loose my deposit. If I do not pay in time I will not have the car. What is their obligation? How can I have a car from them during the time of the delay caused byu them? Is there anything which they are obliged by, or they can just throw me away like a picece of rubbish without further consequences?

    Thank you for your advice in advance.

    Kindest regards, Sol

    Copy of email received approx 15 minutes ago (names and confidential details are removed, all other parts has been left untouched):

    “Following on from our conversation today regarding your car on order, the information we have at present is the car will be built week 15 2016 so mid-July and delivery would be August.

    Based on this updated information and the discussion we have had today I can confirm we will refund for deposit of this car due to extended length in build / delivery dates,

    I understand your situation regarding mobility for the time being – but due to the length of time we are unable to offer you use of a car until such time your car arrives,

    If you wish for me to do this, please contact me with the card details and I will do this ASAP.

    We will keep your car on order in case anything changes , but please let me know your decision on this matter.

    Kind regards”

  16. Stuart Masson

    Hi Ross. Yes, your deposit is refundable, although that doesn’t mean that the dealer will play nicely. However, they can’t refuse to provide a full refund. The matter of the road fund licence is irrelevant.

  17. Stuart Masson

    Hi Sol. These sorts of delays do happen, but it does sound like the dealer doesn’t really care too much about your custom.

    You should certainly be able to get your deposit back, as well as the cash value of your part-exchange since it will certainly have been sold off by now. There is no provision for compensation or a courtesy car unless you have something written into your contract (which I am sure you don’t).

    If you are not happy with the way the dealer is treating you then make a complaint to Škoda UK head office in Milton Keynes. It is possible that head office may be able to find a similar car at another Škoda dealership that they can get for you much sooner than your local dealer.

  18. What about if the car was on a HP deal? I can’t remember which deal I went for…

  19. Dear Stuart,

    I am impressed by the speed of your reply. Thank you very much for your advice.

    It sounds like we – customers – are all bound by certain obligations, but dealerships can walk away with actions actually ruining their customers life on a very high level. Very clever solicitors behind them. I will most definitely get this clause written in an enforceable way in my next contract by my own solicitors.

    Best Wishes, Sol

  20. Stuart Masson

    Should be irrelevant. Even if you have signed a finance contract (and it doesn’t sound like you have), it will have a 14-day cooling-off period from date of activation, and that won’t have started yet because you have done nothing more than place a deposit over the phone.

  21. Dear Stuart,

    I recently went to Ford Dealer and agreed on a deal for used Ford Ecoboost car. I paid a deposit of £1000 using my debit card that day and signed the Hire Purchase agreement for 3yrs Ford Options. I have yet to pick up the car which is due this Friday 19th Feb.

    However, my circumstances have changed and it has affected my mortgage amount as I am trying to buy a property. Thus I was wondering if I can cancel the contract as I have not yet received the car and have not received any information on my finance being authorised or received V5C document.

    The deposit sum has already been deducted from the bank but the first payment for the car is due on 15th March. Can I get my deposit back and as well as cancel the contract?

    Thank you very much for the help.

  22. Stuart Masson

    Hi Bachan. You can cancel the finance contract, but that doesn’t mean you have cancelled the vehicle order – it just means you have cancelled your planned payment method. You will need to try and cancel the vehicle contract, but as stated in the article above, you don’t have an automatic right to do so. Usually it works out that the dealer will agree to cancel the order but keep your £1,000 deposit.

  23. Hi Stuart,
    i recently agreed to buy a used car from a dealership and put down a £500 deposit. we went through finance options and then came to an agreement, i have since thought about the finance and decided i would like to pay using different means. i have not taken the car yet. will i be able to do this without the deal changing any?
    thanks for any help.

  24. Stuart Masson

    Hi Craig. It should make no difference at all, as you are within your rights to pay however you like. The only difference to the deal would be if there was a deposit contribution associated with taking the finance package.

  25. Hi Stuart, I recently visited a dealership after seeing an advertisement on their website, After telling them what I was interested in I mentioned to them that i would like this to go through asap and they came back and told me they had the vehicle but with the winter pack which would be ready to pick up in the next few days and so I agreed. I put no deposit down, agreed with the finance p/x deal and signed the vehicle order agreement, on the agreement form there is no information in the vehicle ordered section E.g. no colour, Stock no, Chassis no, etc… not sure if this is a big deal, didn’t think much of it at the time but now I’m having 2nd thoughts, I’m due to pick the car up this friday and at the same time they collect my vehicle for p/x, which they have not yet appraised, I think the vehicle is worth less than what they have stated on the agreement as i think i may have failed to mention a few issues with the car although i was not asked about any specifics but i’m worried about how this may effect things. Where do I stand?
    Appreciate any help.

  26. Hi Stuart, great article, wish I read this earlier….I read through most of the comments here, and I have a similar situation to most, but need some advise. I saw a car which I liked, but wanted to get an inspection done on it. The dealer kept referring to the service history and MOT, and said it wasn’t necessary, but eventually agreed, provided I put down a deposit of £300 which I did.

    I was made to sign a piece of paper that says that I am agreeing to purchase the car and will be paying the remaining amount. On top of the paper, he wrote “customer is getting car inspected by AA”.
    After the inspection, the engineer called me back, and advised of the issues, and one major problem with steering. He said that it was so severe, that he didn’t want to take it for a 10 mile drive test which is meant to do, and returned the car back to the car yard.

    I haven’t contacted them yet, but I am now hesitant to go ahead with the purchase, because even if they fix it, or say they fix it, i’d be very uneasy driving the car. and I’d have to pay again to get another check done just to be sure! what are my options here? Can I refuse to buy the car and ask for my deposit back? The contract that I was made to sign, how far does that carry? He wrote on there that I was getting the car inspected, but didn’t mention that the sale was pending the inspection, (something which I failed to pick up as well in the wording ).

    What do you think are my options, and also if I do have a right to my deposit back, and he doesn’t’ want to comply, what are the next steps I should take?


  27. Stuart Masson

    Hi Tom. If you have not put any money down, there is not a huge amount the dealership can do if you cancel the order. They may well get upset and angry with you about it, and normally they would keep your deposit. If you want to cancel the order, you need to tell the dealer ASAP as they will be putting the car through its pre-delivery process and arranging registration, etc. This all costs money, and they may well want to try and recover these costs from you.

  28. Stuart Masson

    Hi Rob. The easiest solution would be for the dealer to agree to refund your money. If he forces you to go ahead with the sale, you would be able to immediately reject the car under the Consumer Rights Act 2015 for having a fault at the time of purchase.

    You have the law on your side, but that doesn’t mean that the dealer will necessarily play nicely. Hopefully he will, but you may have to fight to get your deposit back.

  29. Hi Stuart, I hope you can help me with this one which is causing me quite a bit of concern. I saw a second hand Renault Trafic advertised on Autotrader and went down to see it (45 miles away). It was a dealer and the vehicle was a SWB with a three seat sliding and folding unit behind the front seats and all fitted out professionally, perfect for my needs for the family and holidays. I paid £250 cash deposit and got a receipt (signed by him but not signed by me). This was Wednesday and I said I would pick it up Saturday and he said no problem. I phoned my insurance company and they would not insure it as it is registered as a three seater (front) only. I was also emailed some paperwork by the company with a sales invoice and warranty details. The details have my first name wrong, the model completely wrong (Its a Renault Trafic 1.9D, they have it as a Renault Master 2.5 but with the correct reg but different vin no.). Any advice would be greatly appreciated as I am reluctant to go ahead with the purchase of this vehicle and where do I stand in regards to my deposit considering I have signed nothing?

  30. Stuart Masson

    Hi Mark. You should be able to walk away, but that doesn’t mean the dealer will make it easy for you and you may not get your deposit back.

    In theory, the contract errors are simply mistakes when writing it up and can easily be fixed, so the dealer could easily argue that you are using a paperwork error as an excuse to walk away from your legal obligations. It is also possible that another insurer will happily cover that vehicle, even if your current insurance company won’t. If multiple insurance companies turn you down, you can legitimately go to the dealer and say that the vehicle is uninsurable – however the dealer could argue that you should have checked that before committing to the purchase.

    Depending on how well you can argue your case, you might see your £250 again, but you might not.

  31. Thanks for your prompt reply, I am waiting for an insurance broker to get back to me at the moment so we will see. I was thinking along the lines of “not fit for purpose” (Trading Standards) as t was advertised as a crew cab when in fact it is a panel van but we will see.

  32. Stuart Masson

    The likely difficulty with that approach (bearing in mind I’m not a lawyer or a judge) is that you went and saw the vehicle, so it could be argued that you would have known what you were buying.

    But given an incorrect advertisement, incorrect contract paperwork and your insurer refusing to finance the vehicle because it is not what was claimed, the dealer should probably realise they’re well in the wrong and refund your deposit. Doesn’t mean it will happen that easily, though.

  33. hi, i put a deposit down on a vehicle while i was trying to sell my car. The sales person insured me that if i was unable to sell my car that i was able to get my deposit back, ive spoken to the same person today and he has told me that the deposit is non-refundable and that he never said such thing, any help would be appreciated thanks.

  34. Hi Stuart, great site and forum.

    I’m a little pushed for time and I’m hoping you can provide your usual excellent advice asap.
    I ordered a brand new car from a dealer via a popular online broker. Was happy with everything and paid a £1000 deposit. The main things for this purchase was first of all it was at distance and over the phone, it was placed in my girlfriends name and neither of us have signed the vehicle order form. My girlfriend has not spoken to the dealer at all. I have arranged all of this. The car has take 4 months to be built to spec and is ready for collection next week.
    All good so far. I recently found out the manufacturer has reduced the car price by over 2K meaning at even our reduced broker/dealer deal it is £750 less than what we are due to pay and that is not including broker discounts which can be as much as 3K. We both still want the car but at the very least don’t want to spend £750 more than what the manufacturer is now advertising the car for at any dealer as a new customer. Do we have any legal obligation to complete the sale, at worst if the 1K deposit was lost. The same car could be ordered at a much reduced rate. This is not the dealers fault, I have not contacted them as yet. However as the manufacturer has reduced the car price would we be not entitled to an adjustment also?
    I take little pleasure on messing the dealer around I wouldn’t expect to have to pay more if the price went up. However on this occasion do we have any leverage to adjust the price or obligation to complete?



  35. Stuart Masson

    Unfortunately, if it’s not written on the contract, all you have is a “he said, she said” situation, and a deposit with a dealer is not refundable unless it says so on the contract or if you are protected by law (eg – bought over the phone)

    You can probably get your deposit back by kicking up enough fuss with the sales manager or general manager until they just want you to go away.

  36. Stuart,

    Impulsive I know but you can see from the posting time I was reading up late. There is very little online about the exact scenario in my case as above but for anyone else searching I called the dealership this morning and they are honouring the price drop. Just though I might save you the reply but to others reading in similar situation, is to not give up hope :)
    Again great site and advice and I will for sure be looking at more hints and tips for next purchase.


  37. Stuart Masson

    Hi Allan. Usually if you buy the car directly from the dealer, you would have no problems getting the lower price (since generally the money for the discount doesn’t come from the dealer anyway; it usually comes from the manufacturer). Going through the broker may complicate things, but it should still be OK. Talk to the broker and point it out to them, and they can normally sort it out. If not, kick up a fuss and complain to the dealer principal/general manager and you should be able to get the extra discount.

  38. Stuart Masson

    Excellent news. I was just answering you when your follow-up news popped up!

  39. Stuart,

    Wow you are dedicated, early on a sat morning. As you can tell I was pushed for time with the car collection due on Fri. Good news all round. Enjoy your weekend.


  40. Hi Stuart.

    I recently paid a deposit and signed a finance agreement on a VW Tiguan from a franchised VW dealer. On the way to pick up my car I crashed my car which was due to be part exchanged as part of the deal. The dealer said to get mine sorted and they would hold out on the deal. My car is now in for repair through my insurance company but I’ve decided to cancel the sale due to the fact I’ve also found out my job may be at risk. I have notified them that I wish to cancel the sale now and they are going to get back to me. Where do I stand? I did pay a £100 deposit which I’m happy to forfeit.

    Thanks in advance.

  41. Stuart Masson

    Hi Jason. Your car accident does not entitle you to walk away from your new car order. You will still need to get the dealer to accept your cancellation.

    In terms of how difficult this may be, it will depend on whether the finance has already been activated and the car registered in your name. If you were on your way to pick it up, it is likely that you are already the registered keeper and the finance agreement is active. You can cancel the finance agreement as it has a 14-day cooling-pff period, but that simply means you have to find another way to pay for the Tiguan.

    If the dealer has not already registered the car, you may be in luck and able to get out of the deal with only a loss of your deposit. Either way, they’re not going to be happy with you.

  42. Hi stuart,
    I went to a main dealer and found a used car i liked. I wanted to trade in my old car and pay the rest in cash. We went through paperwork to value my current car and signed a form about agreeing to its condition etc. The deal they offered was a touch more than i wanted to pay with trade in, so i went away to think about it.

    Next day i paid £250 deposit on debit card over the phone to reserve it. The day i go to pick it up and they ring me as the whole drivers side footwell is saturated. They say they cant fix it until 10 days later. I drive over to see the damage and it is wringing wet the floor. I decided not to pay for it and to go away and think about it.

    Can i claim my deposit back as im worried the car could be a bit of a lemon?

  43. Stuart Masson

    Hi Dave. Yes, since you paid the deposit over the phone and had not signed a contract, they cannot refuse to refund your deposit. Of course, that doesn’t mean they won’t try, but legally you are entitled to cancel the order and get your deposit back.

  44. Thanks for the reply Stuart. What legislation does this come under:

    distance selling protected transaction due to deposit over phone (But did meet face to face beforehand)


    the Consumer rights act

  45. Stuart Masson

    Hi Dave. You would be covered under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 – which replaces the old Distance Selling Regulations.

  46. Hi Stuart,
    Been to a dealership today to look and get a finance quote on a brand new car.
    I booked the appointment and test drive on Friday of last week. I arrived at the dealership early to have a look around. The salesman was able to see me straight away. He sat down and asked me what I was looking for and roughly how much I would be willing to pay per month. He looked over the car I was putting in part exchange and obviously pointed out all the defects and asked me to sign to say if I agreed with his findings, which I did.
    We then went to go on the test drive, the automatic which I specified I wanted to drive was not available as it was hired out as a courtesy car. So off we went in a manual. Was very impressed.
    Back at the dealership, the salesman disappeared for 15 minutes or more to “do some sums”. He just left me in the showroom. Wasn’t happy with the figures he presented so done some bargaining. The current deal was for 1 years free insurance and dealer to put deposit contribution. Was told the free insurance was no longer valid and they could only contribute £650. The showroom was littered with posters advertising free insurance, if this deal had been cancelled, why were they still advertising???
    The salesman said that he would honour the free insurance and the deposit contribution and reduce the finance costs by £20 per month. Was happy with that but wanted time to think it over! The dealership would not issue me with any figures on paper to mull over.
    The head salesman then came over and said that I had the option to have deposit contribution OR the insurance but not both and would not agree any finance until I signed there and then and paid a deposit. I didn’t part with any money and said I would be in touch later today.
    I went to another dealership which had a better deal but was unable to offer the automatic option on the model I liked so I walked away, no problem.
    I contacted the first dealer to see if they could give me a final figure over the phone and a best deal. The salesman was very off and said he would call me back. He called back with a final deal which seemed very reasonable and I said I’d go back and finalise today. Having spoke about it with a relative they have advised me to think about it overnight. The dealership has not given up ringing me and sending messages asking where I am as they need the car ordered today for 1 week delivery!
    Are these dealers allowed to harass people like this? I must say the dealer is a massive name in the motoring world and I think the way they are hounding me is wrong! Is this normal?

  47. Stuart Masson

    Hi Tim. To address your points separately:
    – the free insurance posters should have had some fine print with dates on them. It’s possible the deal was for last month and they haven’t got around to taking the posters down, but I doubt it. If the offer is still valid, they can’t really tell you it’s been cancelled. Sounds a bit dodgy to me.
    – there are no real rules for bargaining and haggling over the deal, other than that you should expect them to honour what they are advertising. However, as a buyer it is very simple: if they won’t put an offer in writing then it doesn’t exist. Walk away.
    – In terms of them ‘harassing’ you, you told them you wanted to buy a car and you asked for their best deal. Unsurprisingly, they now expect you to make a commitment. You told them you would go back and finalise today, so it’s not surprising that they are chasing you. From their point of view, they have done what you have asked for, you have told them you would be in to sign up and yet you didn’t turn up, so they probably feel that you are simply wasting their time.
    For more information, have a read of our article about the Ten Golden Rules of Buying a Car.

  48. Hi Stuart, I have just purchased an Audi form a Hyundai dealership as this was given in PX.

    I was informed that the Audi had full Audi service history and it was also advertised as such. Upon getting the vehicle home after I purchased it, and checking the records there seemed to be no record of any service history apart from something being done at 12000 miles – the car has now done 50000.

    I spoke to Audi directly and was told that they have no record of any service since the 12k and that a service to bring the car up to date will cost £750!! If I had known this I certainly would not have purchased the car unless it was serviced up to date.

    What I wanted to ask is if the dealer who I purchased the car from, has any responsibility to get the car serviced for me as it was advertised as having FSH, or if they don’t – do I have any rights to drive the car back and demand my money back as it is in the 14 day cooling off period.

    Appreciate any advice

  49. Stuart Masson

    Yes, you should be able to reject the car as it was falsely advertised. You are better off calling them and writing first, rather than just turning up and demanding your money back (since they won’t be able to give it to you on the spot anyway).

    Alternatively, and it may be a better option, you could get the dealer to pay for the servicing required to bring the car up to date.

    For more information, have a read of our latest article on resolving a dispute with a dealership.

  50. Hi Stuart

    I wonder if you could help me with a problem I am having with a car dealership. I have today signed a Vehicle Order and Agreement along with a finance agreement to purchase a used car. I did not take the car away or pay a deposit. However, I have realised that the finance is too expensive and have contacted the dealership to say I do not want the car. They have said I already own the car and the finance has paid them. I have a 14 day cooling off period on the finance and therefore rang them to cancel. They have said it is the dealership’s decision whether to give them the money back. Do I have any rights here?


  51. Stuart Masson

    Hi Dave. I am surprised that you signed a contract today and it has already been paid out; that is extremely rare. It’s also rare for the finance company to pay out immediately if you are not taking the car immediately. You may want to press the finance company further on this to find out if the funds have actually been paid to the dealership, as they may be stringing you along a bit.

    You do have the right to cancel the finance within 14 days, but that does not cancel the vehicle order. It just means that you have to find another way to pay for it. When the finance company says “it’s the dealer’s decision whether to give them the money back”, what they mean is that if the dealer does not give them the money back, they will be sending you an invoice for the full amount.

  52. Hi Stuart,

    I went to buy a car last weekend and it had some cosmetic damage to it (minor scratches). I said to the dealer I wanted all the scratches removing apart from the 2 we agreed on (as they were dents so he said he couldn’t repair them at the price I was buying it at) and also said he would service and MOT it (and any advisories would get done as I noticed it had 5). I signed a contract for the car and left a £200 deposit.

    It says on the agreement that he will MOT, service, buff the scratches and re-spray the wing mirror on the car and it also says “unsubjects to Test Drive” as I haven’t driven it yet so I said aslong as i’m satisfied with the drive i’ll be happy to have it.

    My concerns are the garage is going to ignore the advisories and just get his garage to MOT it and not put the advisories on the new MOT? Do I still have a right to cancel it if this is the case? As I can check if they put a new tyre on it or not. It doesn’t say anywhere on the contract though that he will fix the advisories? It just says “MOT” so I presume I will have no right here?

    My question is if I noticed the advisories aren’t done can I say it’s failed the test drive so I want a refund? He said it was refundable but as it will cost him money to fix the car up for me to take if I then reject it I doubt he will give it back willingly even though it says on the contract subject to test drive?


  53. Stuart Masson

    Hi Daniel. You are jumping the gun somewhat, as you don’t know whether the dealer will address all the advisories listed on the MOT report.

    You will be bound by what the contract says, since that’s what you’ve signed for. “Subject to test drive” is very vague, so you could end up arguing about it if you’re not happy.

    However, it may all be absolutely fine so don’t rush to cancel before they’ve had a chance to do what was promised.

  54. Hello Stuart

    I have a slightly different set of circumstances. I bought a brand new Mini Convertible at a dealers on 24 february. The Mini is a new model with a worldwide launch date of 5 March, and so I couldnt have it before this date (not even a test drive). I signed a VOF and applied for finance, I paid a £1000 deposit on my credit card but thos was due to be refunded on buying the car as I was part exchanging my car. Later that day I had a call from the dealer confirmi g the fnance had been agreed. A week later the salesman advised me that there was a complete worldwidea recall on the new car, due to a problem with the roof opening mechanism, and that the launch date had been put back. I wasnt unduly worried although they couldnt give me a date at that time. A few days ago I learned that my financial circumtances are going to change in about 6 months and buying a new car now is going to put me under a lot pressure. Atthe same time the dealer rang to say my car would be being fitted with the new roof in the next couple of days and ready next week, and wantng me to complete by, 1st April. so I spoke to the salesman and explained that I didnt want to go ahead. Obviously had I picked up the car on the original date this wouldnt be their problem but as there has been a 4 week delay things have changed. I have not actually seen or signed the finance agreement. Initially the salesman was a bit lost but promised me a call back after speaking with his manager; this never came so after reading your website I am now realising that Its not so straightforwards. I would appreciate your comments, thankyou.

  55. Stuart Masson

    Hi Hilary. If you haven’t signed the finance agreement, basically you can expect to lose your £1,000 deposit but they can’t really force you to take the car (well, they can try, but it’s probably not worth the effort).

    You will need to inform them in writing (email is fine) that you no longer want to continue with your purchase of the vehicle. They make kick up a fuss and threaten you with legal action, but it is unlikely they would go to this effort (it would cost them more than their profit margin). If they are smart, they will just keep your deposit and move on to selling a car to the next customer.

  56. Hi Stuart, need a bit of advice please & thanks. Long story short. Put a £250 deposit on a car in a garage, came home did a hpi check & found out the mileage was 30111, whereas they are trying sell it me with !ileage of 15015. Rang them told them said I don’t want the car now, sent them the email from hpi check showing them the national mileage of the car. They are quibbling giving me back my deposit. Am I entitled to my deposit back or not?? Also, they are still advertisingthe car online!! Thanks, Helen xx

  57. Stuart Masson

    Hi Helen. Yes, a mileage of double what was advertised should be reason enough to cancel the order. You would need to be sure that the HPI mileage was correct – the dealer should be able to show you service and MOT records to verify the mileage if it really is 15,000. Errors can and do occur, and HPI is reliant on information provided to them rather than physically checking the car.

    As for the car still being advertised, this does happen quite often right up until the money is paid in full and the car becomes yours. Most dealers will pull their ads as soon as the car is sold, but not always.

  58. Oh no errors do occur how can this be!! I hope the hpi is correct else I’m not getting £250 back :( if this is the case, the dealer will not refund me my £250, what can I do? Anything? I paid £19.99 to have the hpi check will they refund that if thy are wrong?? Arghh blood pressure!!thanks xx

  59. Stuart Masson

    The value of the HPI check is the information it provides on finance and insurance history (ie – whether the car is still under finance and whether it has been declared a write-off). There will be disclaimers on the HPI report about mileage accuracy and verification.

    If the mileage of the car is actually 15,000, then you should be delighted and you won’t need to worry about the refund because that’s presumably what you want. If the mileage is 30,000, you should be able to get your deposit back with a bit of persistence. Have a read of our latest article about resolving a dispute with a dealer.

  60. Dear Stuart, Just to update you but ai feel very relieved that the dealer have refunded my deposit without any hesitation. Possibly because I am a good customer, possibly because of the differnt circumstances. Anyway I feel very lucky but do appreciate all the advice given in your column and time you havetaken to keep this thread going. I wish it was more widely known that if you buy in a dealers the VOF is a binding contract with t&c’s and no cooling off period as you have highlighted. best wishes, H

  61. Hi, great article though not what i wanted to read. I just put down a £400 deposit for a Mitsubishi Colt (£2800) – it has alot of body work (chips) needing repair.

    When i got home i found out the invoice had a disclaiming “We are unable to confirm the reading on the odometer so therefore you should consider it incorrect” This wasnt bold and i never noticed it nor was advised of it. He tells me its standard practise but with the body work dmg on a 6 year old car i am concerned it has been clocked.

    Do i having any grounds for a claim on this to get my deposit back if he refuses?


  62. Hi Stuart. I was looking for a bit of advice, I went to look at a car yesterday and put a £300 deposit on it, a used cars dealer this was around 4pm yesterday on the way home we did a vehicle check and the results told us the car had a category D vehicle damage. I when called the dealer at 10:30 this morning to explain what we had discovered and I told him I would not be buying the car because of this reason, he told me he would not refund my money because it does say cat D on the advent which I never picked up on.
    I also agreed to pay the deposit but would not sign the agreement/ invoice until the weekend when we came to test and collect the vehicle which the dealer was happy with, do I have a leg to stand on.
    Thanks Malcolm

  63. Stuart Masson

    Hi Hilary. Glad it worked out well for you, and thanks for coming back to let us know. It would be good if there was a statutory requirement for all contracts to state clearly on the front page that they are binding with no cooling-off period, but obviously the industry would fiercely resist such a reasonable idea!

  64. Stuart Masson

    Hi Andrew. The dealer is correct, the mileage disclaimer is standard across the industry on sales contracts, vehicle history reports (eg – HPU reports) and so on.

    There is no real way a dealer can confirm an odometer reading to be correct, hence the disclaimer; even if it shows no visible signs of tampering, there’s no guarantee that it has always worked to perfection. I once had a car with an odometer that only worked sometimes, so my official annual mileage was about half the real figure!

    On its own, this is no reason for rejecting the car.

  65. Stuart Masson

    Hi Malcolm. Dealers are required to declare if a car is a Category C or D in their advertisements, so if it is shown in the ad then they have no reason to refund your deposit. They are entitled to expect that you would have read the ad fully before making your enquiry.

    If it was not advertised as a Category D vehicle, then you have every right to demand a refund. But you would need to have a physical copy of the ad which backs up your case.

  66. Yes you are absolutely right, I signed a piece of A4 for the VOF and giiven a receipt in a folder with all the glossy brochures etc. It was only when I read your article that I found tucked in the folder the 20 odd clauses of small print t&c’s on a separate piece of paper which I definately wasn’t given to read at the time of signing ( I always read the smallprint). I am surprised the Industry hasn’t been pulled up on this before by any consumer watchdog, it should be made crystal clear in plain English on the front page of the VOF. This would protect the dealers as well as there could then be no dispute that this was understood by both parties. cheers H.

  67. Hi Stuart
    Thank you for you reply, unfortunately to many people like myself dive into these things without carrying out the basic checks and then look to someone like yourself for help when things do not go our way.
    Once again thank you


  68. Hi Stuart

    I put a deposit down for 1k at an audi dealer… when I did my groundwork on the car(HPI report) it showed the car had outstanding finance on it. The car I put a deposit down for was a demonstration model which was being used as a company car by one of the audi employees.
    They did not tell me this before I put down a deposit and now it makes me question what else they are not telling me about the car. As its only been 4 days since I put a deposit down, I now would like a refund on this. Am I entitled to my refund as I do not want to go ahead and buy the car? No paperwork etc has been signed only a deposit to hold the car has been placed by me


  69. Stuart Masson

    Hi Nick. Virtually any car that you buy from a dealer will be under finance, as the dealership usually finances all of its vehicles – few dealerships could afford to own all of their stock outright. So check with the dealer that the finance listed is actually the dealer’s own finance.

    If the finance is not the dealer’s, they are not allowed to sell the car, so you would have every right to be concerned.

  70. Hi Stuart I financed a used Vauxhall Mokka in February 2016, a 2013 plate the car has had an oil leak, needs the water heater replaced and now I cannot turn off the heating either I have complained often and have to wait for them to fix it all. Is this classed as faulty and is there a way to get out of this finance? As I am now worried about what will happen next. I have just had it for 2 months and also paid £1000 deposit. Where do I go from here?

  71. Stuart Masson

    Hi Kimberley. You can demand the faults be fixed under the Consumer Rights Act 2015. Have a read of this article: http://www.which.co.uk/consumer-rights/regulation/consumer-rights-act

  72. Hi, I have just paid £250 deposit on a car and agreed to part exchange mine and pay finance for the left over amount. However I have to pay another £450 left over deposit as the agreed amount was £700. This was two days ago. Am I able to change my mind about how much deposit I give them and increase the amount of my monthly repayments.

  73. Stuart Masson

    Hi Bethany. You should usually be able to do this, unless the finance company has stipulated a minimum level of deposit (which is not unusual)

    The only other problem would be if the contract has already been activated and the finance company has already paid the dealer.

  74. Hi, I agreed to buy a Volvo through the select network of used cars in uk. The dealer first told me it was with them for 4-5 weeks. After some calls and discussion over details and a number of days we settled on a price and I paid a deposit by credit card. Since then I have had more discussions with the dealer and he has admitted that they have had the vehicle since end of November ( 4 months not 4 weeks ) and a previous deal fell through.
    I have lost faith in the deal and am unlikely to go ahead with it. Will I still be able to get my deposit back?
    I live in Northern Ireland and the 4×4 is near London so all of the dealings have been done by phone and email. I don’t want to fly over to pick up the car and discover something amiss and have to try to get home again.

  75. Stuart Masson

    Hi Vince. If the salesperson has been lying to you about the vehicle details, even a relatively insignificant detail, you should be able to cancel the agreement and get your deposit back. Complain to the dealer principal/general manager about their sales conduct, and you should be able to get a refund without too much hassle.

  76. Stuart,
    Thank you for that. I thought that would be the case, but good to hear someone else say the same. The salesman said he had only been with the company a short while but had worked in other branches of Volvo before so it could be genuine on his part or a bit of a stretch of the truth!

  77. Hi Stuart,

    this may have been covered before but I was looking for a new car and found one on the VW website which was a used polo. The veh was some distance from where I live and so I placed a deposit through the VW website by paypal prior to test driving the veh. On going to the garage and test driving it I wasn’t entirely sure about it as the garage were poor in how they dealt with me or the price they were offering for my car as a part ex and I wanted time to think about it. I have had no paperwork from them or sales receipt /order form but have had email paypal receipt and an email from them thanking me for reserving online and stating that if I chose not to purchase then the deposit would be refunded.

    In the meantime I had seen a similar vehicle at another VW garage also far away from where I live and rang them to enquire. I advised garage 2 that I wouldn’t be able to get to see their vehicle until the following weekend and they told me that they couldn’t guarantee it would still be available but the would hold it for me to review and test drive with a £100 deposit. I agreed and paid a deposit by debit card over the phone. The salesman told me that if I test drove the vehicle and didn’t like it I would be refunded my deposit. In the following couple of days he took the vehicle off sale and I received a sales receipt, pre collection check list and a vehicle order form, which gives me the impression the sales person thinks Ive bought the car. At this stage I have not even been into their franchise, test drove it or signed any paperwork. Their vehicle is 3k more than the first one I saw and on reflection have decided not to pursue this vehicle and as I have not been into the dealership to test drive it and haven’t signed any paperwork am I entitled to my £100 holding deposit back. And how would I stand with the first dealer should I decide not to progress as I have paid them £500 via paypal?

    Thanks in advance


  78. Stuart Masson

    Hi Jonti. As far as I can see, you have been told by both dealerships that your deposits can be refunded, so you should be fine.

    And for future reference, you should not need to be putting deposits down prior to test driving – Polos are not that rare and important that you have to be that desperate to secure a car. Have a read of our 10 Golden Rules for buying a car.

  79. Stuart thanks for that, I presume in both instances Im also covered by the new act in relation to distance selling…I paid a holding fee for the second vehicle over the phone and haven’t been into their showroom or signed a contact.

  80. Stuart Masson

    Yes, definitely.

  81. Hi Stuart, I recently put down a 2K deposit on a car having dealt with the dealer via the phone as the car was over an hour and a half drive away. However they have sent me the vehicle order form to complete and I have changed my mind as it will be too much of a financial stretch to buy the vehicle. Can I get my 2K deposit back?

  82. Stuart Masson

    Hi Graham. Yes, you should be able to.

  83. Hi Stuart,

    I recently paid a deposit to hold a Golf after viewing it, the dealership had advertised the vehicle as having 12 months MOT but realised that the current MOT was due to expire in July 2016 so agreed to get a new MOT done ready for purchase. I paid a £100 deposit but did not sign anything at all, no contract or agreement to purchase just received a receipt.

    A few days later I was advised the MOT was complete and there were no advisories.

    On collection a number of discrepancies in the vehicle paperwork came to light.

    The advert does not mention any CAT C or CAT D damage, however when I mentioned the right headlight look slightly out of line they then told me there was CAT C damage from an accident in 2010 but it had been on the road for six years since then with no issues. On checking the logbook the accident had been recorded however there were no dates and it did not say anywhere which category it was. I asked them to show me where they had found the information relating to the date and category type but they could not, they had guessed CAT C however this could well have been CAT D, there was no proof.

    The vehicle had been MOT in July 2015 and again in April 2016 (ready for me to purchase) however the mileage on the April MOT certificate had decreased by a significant amount from the July 2015 MOT. When I asked them about it they told me it was probably just a clerical error, they hadn’t noticed themselves and there was nothing to worry about, that I shouldn’t let that put me off. I could have perhaps understood this if the mileage was a digit out however every digit was different from one MOT certificate to another. The MOT also brought to light that the vehicle had been off the road for at least two and half years due to the gap between the MOT dates. This concerned me as they had told me the car had never been off the road.

    With the discrepancies in mileage and the incorrect information about the CAT C or D I told the dealership that I did not want to purchase the vehicle.

    No agreement was signed prior to paying a deposit and the vehicle was never actually removed from the market. The dealership continued to advertise it on e-bay (as buy it now) & it still had the for sale sign in the vehicle window when I arrived to collect it. I’m not sure if this would mean the car was actually ‘held’ for me if someone else could still ‘buy now’ online in the 10 days between me viewing it and going to collect it?

    The dealership refused to give me the deposit back, I told them the vehicle was not as advertised, they had no proof the damage was CAT C, the date the damage occurred and did not seem to understand that the mileage decreasing was a big issue.

    It seems they have been dishonest with me and tried to pull the wool over my eyes.

    Should I be able to get my deposit back from this dealership? If so how would I go about this as the dealer very aggressively told me I would not get my money back.

    Many thanks in advance.

  84. Hi Stuart,
    I recently bought a car last week on hire purchase with a considerable deposit. After buying I noticed 2 Audi upgrades had been mis-advertised. I checked with the Audi main dealer and they confirmed the upgrades were not on the car and the upgrades became “standard” (i.e. included) on the newer models.

    I went back to the dealer and their response was that the car description is “auto-generated” on their website and they have the legal clause below on their website so there was “nothing they can do”:

    “Please note
    The data displayed above details the usual specification of the most recent model of this vehicle. It is not the exact data for the actual vehicle being offered for sale and data for older models may vary slightly. We recommend that you always check the details with the seller prior to purchase. ”

    Basically they copied a new model description which included the 2 missing upgrades as this was not included as standard on the older model.

    It’s just not right that dealers can mislead customers with descriptions that don’t match the car and get away with it. In any other trade you would be in court.

    Any advice is appreciated.

  85. Stuart Masson

    Hi Andrew. There certainly seems to be enough in your story to warrant cancelling the order and getting your money back.
    First and foremost, the car has been mis-sold. Cat C and Cat D write-offs must be declared when advertised – they are still legal to sell, but have had significant repairs after accident damage (especially Cat C). The mileage is also an issue – you should be able to check previous MOTs and see whether this really is a ‘clerical error’ or whether the odometer has been wound back.
    It’s not unusual (although not really best practice) for cars to still be advertised after a sale until full payment is received – if the deal falls over, the dealer could potentially have someone else who would buy the car, so that’s not really a problem. It would be a problem if someone else wanted to buy the car and was not told that it was sold subject to funds being received.

    Basically, the dealer sounds rather dodgy. You appear entitled to a refund, but that doesn’t mean he will play along nicely and give it back to you. You may need to make a complaint to the Ombudsman, or seek legal advice on dealing with him – start with legalbeagles.info. Unfortunately, for £100 it’s not really worth engaging a solicitor to take legal action against him.

  86. Stuart Masson

    Hi Scott. If you didn’t buy it from an Audi dealer, then you won’t be able to get Audi UK’s assistance in sorting your problem, and it’s difficult to do much about it unless it was done deliberately to intentionally mislead customers.

    Part of the problem is that specifications can change at any point in the year, so one 2011 Audi A4 (for example) may not be the same as another 2011 Audi A4. If it is a general used car dealership which sells all sorts of vehicles, there is a good chance that they will not be aware of the specification differences, and simply load the car into the third-party advertising site (such as Auto Trader) as a 2011 Audi A4 without realising that the automatically-generated specs may not be correct.

    If you have reason to believe that it was done deliberately, you could argue that you have been mis-sold and demand your money back. However, you also have a responsibility to make sure that the car does in fact have all the features you want rather than relying on the third-party advertisement.

  87. Hi Stuart,

    I’ve recently put a £500 deposit on a car at an ‘approved’ Kia dealer, then 24 hours changed my mind as I came across a more suitable spec at a different ‘approved’ Kia dealer. Now I have purchased this car from the other dealer, but the dealer where I changed my mind refuses to refund my deposit!

    I have purchased exactly the same model of car from Kia’s approved garage, just different spec, yet I am told this is still non-refundable. I currently have a case file open with Kia Head Office and await the outcome of that, but if that gets me nowhere, I will look to go down the small claims route.

    On Kia’s website, for its approved used car sales it states 60 day or 1000 miles exchange policy, yet I changed my mind in 24 hours and purchased elsewhere?

    Surely I am entitled to my original refund?

    Can you help?



  88. Stuart Masson

    Hi Adam. The two dealerships are almost certainly completely different businesses, with the only thing in common being that they each have a Kia franchise. The first dealership is obviously not going to refund your deposit if you are trying to renege on a legally-binding contract and go to buy another car from another dealership. It doesn’t matter that they are both Kia dealers; they are separate companies operating independently of one another. So you have effectively bought two cars from two different dealers, and both of them are entitled to expect you to fulfil your legally-binding contracts.

    Kia head office is entirely unlikely to intervene in your favour. The exchange policy doesn’t work in the manner you are suggesting – if you buy a vehicle and are not happy with it, you can exchange it for another vehicle of the same value from the same dealership (not from any dealership in the country).

  89. Hi I placed a deposit On a Santa Fe on the 3rd of this month I also run a business where my out goings are quite large but my accountant has told due to my financial situation where I could miss payments I should cancel the deal is worst thing that I could be told is that they will keep my deposit which I don’t mind as I have not signed any documents to confirm my order as also the car has not even been shipped from it factory yet I just told them today but the dealership can’t confirm the cancellation as manager is off the next two days could I be told to pay for any other monies owed

  90. Hi I placed a deposit on a new 16 plate car on 3rd of this month and I have been advised by my accountant that I should cancel deal as due to my financial situation has now changed where I could mis payments I spoke to dealership today and they said that’s ok we will confirm that with me in the next few days is there a problem where they could ask for more monies owed as i did pay a £500 deposit which I said I am happy for them to keep as I am unable to take delivery of the car and also it has not even arrived in the country yet and also I have not signed an order form or any other pcp documents

  91. Stuart Masson

    Hi Jay. In reality, they can keep your deposit but there’s not a lot else they can do – especially if you haven’t signed a contract.

  92. Evening Stuart, we paid Car Place, Birmingham £800 deposit for a car we saw online so that they would deliver to us in Stirling, Scotland. The verbal deal was we were to pay the balance of £13800 upon delivery, when we were happy with the condition of the car. We signed nothing. The car arrived late Friday night on the back of a truck. We never took the car off the truck as we could see the panel gaps between bonnet & front wings, A-pillar etc were all wrong (not symmetrical) . The car was returned to Car Place on the same truck. I am now going round the houses with the dealer to get my deposit back. I realise they have a round trip delivery cost but where do we stand on recovery of our deposit re the distance selling rules? If I can get no satisfaction over the phone with the dealer, what is my next step? Will this involve lawyers & hence more costs to ourselves? What is a typical timeline for resolution on such issues?

    thanks Alistair

  93. Stuart Masson

    Hi Alistair. If there was nothing explained in writing, then you are probably set for an argument with the dealer over transport cots. Under the Consumer Contracts Regulations (which replaced the Distance Selling Act), you are entitled to a refund for your deposit, but the dealer can claim costs if nothing has been set out in writing. They can’t reasonably claim that their costs of transport would be £800, but they are unlikely to refund the whole amount.

  94. Hi im after a bit of advice please, on Wednesday my wife went into our local evans halshaw dealership to look at second hand cars to replace ours, the main reason was to lower running costs, ins, tax as the car we have atm is quite expensive.

    She found a car she likes but told the sales guy she would have to ok it with me first, and of course the sales guy suggested to put a deposit on the car to hold it and if for whatever reason I didn’t like the car she can get a refund.

    While she was sat at the desk paying the deposit the sales guy asks her questions like how she would pay for the car if she went ahead etc which the answer was finance. So he suggested filling in the paper work while she was there and they can do all the checks to make sure finance would be approved and it would save time if we decide to buy the car and so she signed the papers thinking it was just to get checked out etc but it was actually the agreement to buy the car and not just for finance checks like he told her.

    Next day we both go to see the car and I don’t like it i think its too small but wifey still likes it so we decide to consider for a little longer still under the impression she can cancel so didn’t think there would be a problem. The next day (Friday now) i decided im not happy with the car so took her to other dealers to see other cars and we found a better one, by this time Friday night evans halshaw was closed so couldnt tell them to cancel until saturday.

    So saturday we go in to tell them we want to cancel and the manager said the finance company has already paid them so its too late we have to pick up the car on monday, we tell him all the blahblah about sales guy saying we can cancel etc but obviously he denies it and denied lying to my wife and says we put deposit down so we agree to buy the car.

    After looking on your site we know this to be true now but at the time obviously we were unaware of this and naive. Today is sunday and the 5th day since she paid deposit so we are still in 14 day cancellation period for the finance and we have not received the car yet so my question is if we call the finance company can/will they cancel it even tho they already gave the money to the dealer? And if they do cancel it does the dealer have to give them their money back or is it up to us to make sure they get the money back? I realise the deposit is lost but is it possible for the finance company to cancel the credit then make us pay it back while the dealer sits there with the money and the car and tells us hes not giving us the money to force us into taking the car? Hope that makes sense and sorry for being long winded thanks in advance

  95. Stuart Masson

    Hi Nick. I would speak to the finance company directly, and point out that you feel that you have been lied to and mis-sold by the dealership. They will also be able to tell you if the agreement really has been activated yet. If the contract has been activated and the money paid out, you will be relying on the dealer returning the money to the finance company on your behalf.

    You can try complaining to the dealership about the behaviour of their sales staff. Have a read of our article about resolving a dispute with a car dealer. They may agree to cancel it all and refund your deposit.

    At the end of the day, your wife signed a legally-binding contract, and the likelihood of you getting your money back and walking away from the deal will depend on how well you can argue your case. The salesperson could easily argue that he explained exactly what she was signing and that she genuinely wanted to buy the car, but later changed her mind and is trying to back out by blaming the dealer (which happens all the time, and drives dealers nuts). Ultimately, it comes down to what is on paper, and by the sound of it, you and your wife have bought a car.

  96. Hi a week ago I visited a dealer and agreed to purchase a new car from a dealer, finance was agreed but no paperwork for this has yet been signed, car won’t be ready till September, we are now in July. I paid a £1000 deposit and they are taking my current car as part exchange, however after careful consideration I don’t feel I am financially in a good enough position to take this on and now want to cancel it. The dealer emailed me the order form which I have signed and returned via email, no paperwork has been signed at the dealership. can I get out of this agreement and get my deposit back?

  97. Stuart Masson

    Hi Kylie. Yes, you should be able to. Legally it would be a bit of argument, since you left a deposit at the dealership but signed the contract off-site. But if you simply cancel the order, request a full refund and keep chasing them until you get it, you should be fine.

    If they give you any grief, keep arguing. For more information, have a read of our article on how to handle a dispute with a dealership.

  98. Hi Stuart,

    I guess I’ve a similar problem to some of the people who asked for your advice. I went yesterday to a Vauxhall dealer because I needed a car. I tried a quite resent car and decided it would be a good choice and went forward with the paperwork and to check if the credit would be approved and payed 500 £ deposit. Later I start to realise that maybe I just went to far from what I could actually afford. Now this fall within the 14 days cooling-off period so, even if I don’t get my 500 £ back (which will be very hard to me) I will avoid a lot of trouble. For what I’ve been reading on your posts, I can cancel the deal although I will probably lose the 500 £ but on other foruns some people are saying that although you can actually cancel the finance deal withing this 14 days, the actual purchase of the car can’t be cancelled. Meaning the finance company will cancel the deal but you still owe the car. If this is the case the deal it self is not actually cancelled. I read your article more than once, I know I did a childish mistake but I’m trying to stop this to get any worse. Can you advise me on which options I have?

  99. Stuart Masson

    Hi Luis. You are correct that the finance agreement has a 14-day cooling-off period but the car purchase does not.

    If you have not taken delivery of the vehicle, you can probably negotiate with the dealer to cancel the contract and lose your deposit. If you have already taken delivery of the vehicle, then you are stuck with it.

  100. Hi Stuart,

    Hope you can advise on my current situation…
    I ordered a new car to my specification back in May through a broker and paid a £1000 deposit over the phone which was passed on to the dealer to make the order with the manufacturer. Finance sums were agreed on and I was told the order had been placed. There was around a 12 week wait regardless for this particular vehicle. I received an order form, which I did not sign and also documents which I believe to be finance request forms (not an actual agreement) which just asked for personal and professional info.

    During early July I requested a test drive and went to the dealer for this but afterwards just asked to take a look at the latest documents they had. As it turned out they missed off part of the specification I had ordered and said it was too late to change etc etc. Ok fine, so they put in another correct order with the manufacturer again.

    Only thing is it won’t arrive until maybe mid October which means it hasn’t yet been built yet but the original vehicle is already in the country.

    I’m now thinking about cancelling this order now, do you think I can get my deposit back?

    To throw in another curveball, since the delivery is now 3 months later than it should be I will be starting a new job before any finance documents are signed – therefore I’m thinking that under their rules I will not be approved finance on the basis of not being in my new job for a certain period of time.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

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