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 Jamie. If you cancel your order, you can expect to lose your £1,000. If the finance company declines your finance application, you should be able to get your £1,000 back as the other side has cancelled the contract.

  2. Hi Stuart,

    Wondering if I can get some advice.

    I went to look at a car on wednesday at a dealership. I was intending on getting it on finance, and the sales rep told me I could leave a deposit and it would be refundable if things didn’t work out and I could walk away.

    The finance group got in touch with me, and I wasn’t happy with the deal, so I decided to get a bank loan instead. I rang the dealer to say I was going to buy the car outright and he asked if I wanted to leave a deposit. I said yes sure, and paid the deposit over the phone. I haven’t signed anything, and it was a verbal contract.

    Yesterday (thursday) I decided I didn’t want the car anymore, it was an 04 VW Polo and he was asking for £2375 which I just didn’t think was worth paying for, so when I called to cancel, he was pretty annoyed about it and then just said, “and you know the deposit is non-refundable”, to which I questioned and he said that it was only refundable if I was seeking finance and couldn’t get the finance. There was never any mention that this was exclusive to this, and by mentioning that I was buying the car in full this would void this. He is refusing to pay it back and is basically telling me to try and get it back.

    My bank aren’t helping because they say that, because I ‘changed my mind’, it doesn’t really work with their policies. This isn’t covering the fact that I was lied to and missold the deposit.

    What do you think I can do? It was only £100, but the point is I’ve been conned here.



  3. Stuart Masson

    Hi Tom. If you’ve paid a deposit, you’ve committed to buying the car. What he verbally told you about a refund won’t hold up in any court. For more information, have a read of our Ten Golden Rules for buying a car.

    You should be able to cancel your bank loan, as it would have come with a 14-day cooling-off period.

  4. Stuart,

    I don’t think it’s very fair or honest though.

    What about in your article where you have said:

    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.

    How does this work then?
    Surely the fact he has mis sold something to me must mean something?

  5. Stuart Masson

    You have no grounds to get your deposit back. You visited the dealership and inspected the car in person. Distance selling is provided where the car is bought entirely off-premises.

    You have a claim of a verbal promise but nothing in writing. The dealer could reply that you were specifically told the deposit was non-refundable but you wanted to go ahead anyway. I would have thought that a judge would be highly unlikely to find in your favour.

  6. Stuart – I thought this was an excellent article.

    I recently had a rather gutting experience, losing out on a car.

    I saw a low mileage FSH Aston Martin DBS CBE for sale at a good price. I am based abroad so contacted the dealer by telephone. The salesman and I had a good chat. I expressed my interest in the car as an investment and indicated that I would seek financing on the car. I politely asked if the dealer would keep me informed of any developments and he agreed.

    I subsequently received that evening an email from the MD of the company thanking me for my interest and offering to hold the car for me on the payment of a 5,000 GBP deposit. I wasn’t entirely comfortable with this for obvious reasons, so was prepared to take the risk of losing the car.

    For the following four business days I spoke with the salesman twice daily updating him on the progress of the financing (it takes time here). On the fourth day, I indicated that it had been approved in principle and I was just awaiting formal confirmation. However, I made an offer (slightly below list price) and said I was happy to wire a 1,000 GBP deposit to “hold” the car until the morning. The salesman never responded. On the fifth morning, I received confirmation of financing and called the salesman. I was told that he was on holiday and was put through to the MD. He then told me that 30 minutes prior he had taken a 1,000 GBP deposit “subject to finance” and that I had lost the car. He even told me that his principle is to “treat everyone equally” and therefore, it was first come, first served.

    Bottom line, the car has been sold and there is nothing I can do about it. The dealer was not obligated to deal with me or offer the car to me once they received the other offer. I do however think that this is atrocious client handling skills and that a reputable dealer would have called me as a courtesy and explained the situation to both me and the other potential buyer, and given me at least an opportunity to say yay or nay (as we were negotiating first).

    Interesting to read your article because I had not been minded to think of the Consumer legislation aspects of this. As the sale was at a distance, I could lawfully have paid the deposit upfront, and cancelled the contract had my finance not been approved, and then demanded a refund – at least that is how I read your article. It was the risk of losing the 5,000 GBP if my finance was not approved that made me hold back. I have always worked on the basis that such deposits are non-refundable. But if you are right, I should not have had such concerns – or at least in theory (there would always be a risk that the dealer would keep the cash and I would have to litigate the matter to get it back). Is this correct?

    Any comments would be really useful to soothe my battered soul…


    P.s. contrary the modern day trend of naming and shaming, I am not going to disclose the name of the dealer in Derbyshire (I think a frosty exchange by email ex-post facto has hopefully encouraged the MD to review his client handling skills).

  7. Hi Stuart.

    I have paid over the phone £500 deposit on a 1 owner, full service history, 3 year old Honda used approved car from main dealer. Car being advertised at £10k. I was told that this deposit is fully refundable.I was also told that car is is perfect condition and will be ready to drive away same day. I have travelled over 200 miles to see this car. During test drive it came out that there is a lot of steering wheel judder at and above 70mph. I was told that this is possibly due to a worn tyre or badly balanced wheels. I have discussed with a salesman that i am still happy to buy the car but they will have to sort this judder and worn tyre prior to me signing anything or paying for the car. I was told that unfortunately they won’t be able to carry out necessary repairs on the same day and i will have to come back again to their dealership again in few days time to finalise this deal.
    After coming back home I decided to do my own hpi check on this car which showed outstanding finance (possibly a dealer’s finance) but nothing else. I have also went through car’s VOSA MOT history as i was not presented with any mot paperwork during my visit at dealership.
    VOSA MOT history check showed that car was MOT by main dealer 4 weeks ago and initially failed on Supplementary Restraint System warning lamp indicating a fault, and there where two MOT advisories on rear inner Brake pad(s) wearing thin and offside front Tyre worn close to the legal limit.
    After it’s MOT failure it seems that SRS system has been put right and car has been retested and successfully passed his test this time but still came back with the same advisories as before.
    Obviously i have not been told about any of this by the seller.
    I don’t think confident buying this car now and unless considerable discount or other form of compensation is given i am seriously considering pulling out of this deal completely and wondering if this will mean loosing my £500 deposit?

    Please advise.

  8. Stuart Masson

    Can’t offer any comment on their tone, but they are correct to say that the car gets sold to the first person to sign an order and/or put down a deposit. It is entirely possible that the successful buyer had appeared out of the blue and put down their money exactly as the MD said, because that does happen a lot.

    Having worked in car sales for a decade, I have heard plenty of people say that they are just sorting out their finance and will be in a position to do something shortly, or that they are just waiting on some money to come in, and every other excuse for not committing to buying the car they are interested in. Until you are prepared to put down your money, you haven’t bought a car and a dealer is entitled to sell it to anyone else who walks in or calls them. They have no obligation to tell you that someone else is interested in that car. You hadn’t ‘lost’ the car because you never had it.

    Indeed, if a car dealer tells a customer “Well, I need to tell you that we have another person interested in that car already,” most customers would assume it is simply a sales ploy (which is because it usually is).

    You are correct that you should have been able to place a deposit and had the right to claim it back again if you didn’t go ahead with the vehicle. but as you point out. Coincidentally, we have written further about this in our latest deposit about when you are entitled to get your deposit back.

  9. Stuart Masson

    Hi Paul. Given that the deposit was placed over the phone before you had seen the car, you would have the right to cancel and get your £500 back. However, if you signed a contract while you were at the dealership, this would probably supercede your initial deposit and the dealer could hold you to the contract unless there were clauses regarding cancellation.

    A dealer is not obliged to fix an MOT advisory, so they are unlikely to agree to replacing the brake pads and tyres.

    Having already made a commitment to the car (albeit refundable), you don’t really have the legal option to demand a discount or compensation. It’s basically take it or leave it. The dealer may agree to additional measures to keep you from cancelling, but you are potentially muddying the waters if you agree to this and then decide to cancel again.

  10. Hi Stuart

    I am a private seller on ebay, I had a guy make me an offer for my car and I said I could only sell it for the reduced price he offered if it was a cash sale outside of ebay, he agreed and paid me £100 via paypal to remove my ebay listing which I did and we agreed he would come and pay the rest when he collected the car on saturday, now less than 24 hours later he is saying he no longer wants to purchase my car as he does not feel happy being the 8th registered owner of it and has asked for his deposit back, I have now had to re-list my car which incurs yet more ebay charges. Do I have to pay him his deposit back or not? paying him his deposit back feels like i’m encouraging time wasters like this on and off ebay.

  11. Stuart Masson

    Hi Craig. If it is a private cash sale, there are no real rules and he is going to have to take you to court to get his £100 back – and then have a good reason for the judge to take his side.

    However, I have no idea if you have violated any of eBay’s T&Cs, so he may try to report you to eBay if you have as a means of getting his money back one way or another.

  12. Hi Stuart, you seem to be the go to person on all of this, I have a query. I bought a car this week on finance, put down a hefty deposit and completed and picked up the car today. I was in a bit of a rush as I needed to get to the school run, but as we were setting everything up and showing me the radio I asked how I made spotify work through the bluetooth. At this point the salesman said ‘you can’t stream, you have to use a usb or aux in. I had not read in thorough detail all the specs as it was online, and I haven’t printed it out to see if it said no bluetooth music as I presumed when they said bluetooth in the spec and verbally said all the whistles and bells, that’s what they meant. I had explained I do 24000 miles a year and had mentioned music on the stereo and nothing had been said. Do I have any rights to take it back as the thought of 2 years and 48000miles without the music in the manner that I want it, makes me very upset. I put the deposit down with a credit card.

  13. Stuart Masson

    Hi Caroline. ‘Bluetooth’ in terms of car specification has traditionally related to making and receiving hands-free phone calls. Music streaming is a separate issue and far fewer cars have this feature.

    Unless you have proof (ie – in writing) that you specifically asked about music streaming and were told that this vehicle had it, you have no grounds to return the vehicle. A verbal conversation about a feature can’t be proved, as the dealer can directly contradict whatever you say and there’s nothing you can do about it.

    You should be able to connect your phone to the stereo via the USB or auxiliary port to listen to Spotify.

  14. Thank you, I’m shocked BMW doesn’t do this with android, I have had no problems with lesser cars. I’m now looking into adapters. The garage was willing to buy it back but now a child’s small tantrum has put a 4 inch scratch on the bumper so who knows what that will cost! I’m going to have a couple of miserable years then take the lessons I’ve learnt and try again.
    Thanks again

  15. Hi Stuart

    I hope you can Help I ordered a new Kia in July but due to a change in circumstances I can no longer afford it, I have not paid a deposit, I was meant to part ex my current car, where do I stand? will I incur a charge?
    Thanks Ruth

  16. Stuart Masson

    Hi Ruth. Legally, you don’t have the option to change your mind because you can no longer afford the car. However, if you have not paid a deposit then there is not a lot a dealer can do if you cancel the order. They will probably get grumpy and may even threaten legal action, but it really isn’t worth it or in their interests to do so.

  17. thank you for your help, would they be able take the car from mentioned in the part ex?

  18. Stuart Masson

    Again, unlikely they would be inclined to chase you over this.

  19. okay thank you for your help

  20. Hi there, A few days ago I signed a used car sales invoice but didn’t put down a deposit. I have subsequently had a change of mind as the car wasn’t quite right gut feeling! We informed the dealer of this and have now received a letter saying its a legally binding contract. As no money has changed hands where do I stand on this?

  21. Stuart Masson

    Hi Tommy. The dealer is correct that you have signed a legally-binding contract. In practical terms, there’s not a huge amount they can do unless they want to take you to court – and that’s a considerable expense with a very uncertain prospect for success.

  22. Hi Stuart
    Two days ago I visited a main dealership looking at a second used car for the Mrs – window shopping not intending to purchase. Saw something she liked and negotiated down the price but a little uneasy as had done little research at that point. Left a £1000 deposit on my credit card. Within 24 hours I am looking at their site and that car is on their web page, and still is right now, being offered at £500 less than we ended up at – and at a price some £1500 less than they started me off at on their premises. I have spoken to them in polite, no uncertain terms this morning and not getting very far but awaiting call back to resolve. It’s clearly not a ‘web mistake’ as their are other similar cars being advertised around this price, several being similarly marked down from a previous higher price. I’m not wanting to refuse the car but to get it at the lower price quoted on their internet site. Can I get my deposit back if they do not budge; have I got any rights via the card company?
    On another point, is it advisable to do a vehicle check when buying from a main dealer or is that unnecessary?

  23. Stuart Masson

    Hi Percy. Have a read of our article about used car pricing – it’s fairly common, unfortunately. They should sell it to you for the lowest advertised price.

    Yes, for your own peace of mind, you should always do your own vehicle check. It’s worth the £20 to have your own record of the vehicle’s history.

  24. Thanks Stuart
    Appreciate your help. Feeling a bit chastened. My experience is exactly as described in that article and by several of the subsequent comments. Shocking thing is that this is an enormous Toyota dealership, really big with many sites.
    Just a quick update as a cautionary tale: 48 hours later the car is still being advertised at £10,300 then this morning it appears at £11.995. I guess it’s obvious what is going to happen in the subsequent ‘negotiations’. It’s quite clear and provable however, that there is a systematic dishonest practice involved and their behaviour is not smart but as stupid as their contempt is for the customer. The next car on their used model list is exactly the same spec, metallic black vs metallic grey, at just under half the mileage, later 65 reg as opposed to this 15 reg and is priced at £10,490. This is not a one off, there are a number of other examples where comparable cars are advertised at unbelievably lower prices. I have cached these pages and printed off a number of examples so ready to fight my corner. If Trading Standards, Toyota Customer Services, Credit Card Issuer involvement all means less to them than screwing me for £500 and the consequent reputational issue, then so be it. Any further tips will be gratefully received.

  25. Stuart Masson

    If it’s a franchised Toyota dealer, get in touch with Toyota GB to complain about their dealer practices. You can also complain to the dealer’s head office.

    Ultimately, you have to decide if you’re comfortable buying a car from these people at all, even if you get the lowest advertised price. If this is how they operate to sell the car in the first place, how do you think they operate in preparing the vehicle or repairing faults?

  26. Yes, they are; I’ve counted eleven dealerships.
    If I get my £1000 back I will walk away but if not I will have to bite the bullet as my reading of your article above means I fall into the category of signing up on their premises, although, interestingly, they have still advertised the car for sale on their internet site which does not chime with your comment: “The dealer takes the car off sale so no-one else can buy it….”
    Whatever happens, I’ll certainly follow your advice and go down the complaint route with the manufacturer and other bodies. A few pictures of vehicle pricing on site matched to internet advertising would be pretty conclusive.
    Many thanks.

  27. Stuart Masson

    The car may still show up on internet ads; that’s not really a problem as long as if anyone else calls up about that car, they are told that it has been sold awaiting payment and delivery. If the dealer is a large multi-site operation, it may also be that the ads are all managed centrally and there is a delay in taking your car off the site.

    Sales do fall through all the time if customers change their minds or fail on finance, so a dealer is entitled to say something like “That car is sold subject to receiving payment, but I can give you a call if it falls over.” As long as they are not still actively trying to sell the car to someone else at a higher price after you have already purchased it, it’s OK.

  28. Hi Stuart, we have seen a Volkswagen van we want to purchase, going to view it on Sunday. The
    It’s a private sell but the owner has told us it’s locked in a finance agreement. Do we pay the car dealer some money and then the owner? I’ve never had this situation and I don’t want to hand over large amount of money when I’m unsure of my rights and how this should work, thanks

  29. Stuart Masson

    Hi Nicola. I would ask to see the finance settlement to check the numbers against what you are paying for the car. The owner should be able to get a hard copy of that from the finance company easily enough; if they can’t/won’t, walk away.

    Once you have seen the finance settlement letter from the finance company, I would then call them to ask about their T&Cs. They won’t be able to tell you about the specific contract due to privacy legislation, but they should be able to tell you what they expect if you are buying a car that they have a financial interest in. They may insist that you pay them directly for the settlement amount, and then pay the owner the balance. But you should definitely not be driving off in the car until you know that the finance has been paid off.

  30. Hi Stuart
    Strange one
    Purchased a van from a private seller, left a deposit and both signed an agreement confirming the sale. Owner just text me saying had a better offer of £2500 more than my price and wanted to cancel. Now just texted to say he wants to keep the van to no doubt sell at a later date to the other party.
    What are my rights?
    I really wanted that van

  31. Stuart Masson

    Hi David. In a private sale, there’s basically nothing you can do. You can try taking the guy to court to enforce your contract, but that will take time and money, and there’s certainly no guarantee you will win. Basically, get your deposit back ASAP and find another van.

    For more information about vans and LCVs, visit our brand-new sister site The Van Expert.

  32. Put a deposit down yesterday under the condition that finance would go through. Got told today they cannot get credit under my name. Am I entitled to the deposit being refunded? I was never informed that deposits were non-refundable, or I would never have paid it.

  33. Stuart Masson

    Hi Lynn. Most franchise dealers are pretty quick to refund your money if your finance is rejected, as they know they are wasting their time trying to continue. If you can’t pay for the car, the contract can never be enforced.

  34. Thank you for the speedy reply. Fingers crossed they are reasonable

  35. Hi Stuart

    I recently bought the new Toyota Rav 4 Excel for £30,800 with all add ons at my local toyota garage. I Have signed the finance agreement on the premises as well. Today i have found the same car on offer at another Toyota Garage for £27,800. I was wandering can i call the garage to see if they will reduce the cost of my car to match the other garage or is this not possible now that i have signed the finance agreement. (both garages offer the 0% pcp).

  36. Oh sorry forgot to mention the car has not been delivered as yet, coming in approximately 1 week.

  37. Stuart Masson

    Hi Umar. You have signed a legally-binding contract to purchase the vehicle for £30,800, so they have no reason to agree to now charge you £3,000 less.

  38. Hi Stuart,
    I ordered a new Focus RS in April, paying a £1000 deposit over the phone and all correspondence by email. I have not visited the Ford dealership. I am being told the car may be build in November and if so may be ready for March collection. I was always aware of the potential time delay. I have received no paperwork other than an emailed PDF of the spec of the car and the PCP figures -but it’s not an finance agreement or a formal contract. I haven’t signed anything. I received confirmation by email that the deposit had been received.

    If I decide not to proceed now am I entitled to get my deposit back? Other than placing the order I am not aware of any cost to the dealership up to this point, and indeed I dont think the car has even been built yet.


    James .

  39. Stuart Masson

    Hi James. Yes, if you did not buy the car at the dealership, you can cancel the order and get your deposit back.

  40. Hi
    i sold one caravan through ebay . customer deposit me £500 to hold caravan but after one week he said m coming for collection. but when he arrived he didn’t look at caravan and he said its not worth and its mileage not correct according to its outside condition.. so he request his deposit refund …
    please tell me … is he still eligible for refund ?
    now he is involving police to sort out his matter. because he transfer his money through bank…to bank……

  41. Stuart Masson

    Hi Hamid. Assuming you are a private individual rather than a dealer, I think you would have to look at eBay’s terms and conditions as it would not be covered by the standards applied to a dealer. Generally, he would not have any right to get his money back and the police are unlikely to be interested unless they think you are running some kind of scam.

  42. Hi stuart,
    Me and my partner went to a car dealership to have a look at a car that we had seen online, we liked the car and took it on a test drive. as it was our first time going to a dealership its a lot of information to take in. when we finally got home and we spoke to the in laws the in laws had said we shouldn’t be paying for vehicle admin fees or even the £20 fuel with us paying out over £8000 for the car. we have been a bit put off about the car ever since. we haven’t signed any paperwork but we have put down a £200 deposit are we entitled to get that deposit back? the car is not going to ready to be collect for at least another 36 hours can you please advise.

  43. Stuart Masson

    Hi Samantha. If the dealer has made you aware of any admin fees and fuel costs before you agreed to the purchase, that’s perfectly acceptable. The only reason you would have to cancel and get your deposit back is if you were not told about those costs before you signed your contract, that’s a different story.

    I agree with your in-laws that it’s poor form for dealers to have added costs that are not clear, but unfortunately that’s not illegal.

  44. I understand your article that a deposit is binding if a vehicle is as described.
    I have put down a deposit on the premises with the agreement to rectify certain items within the price.
    This is not on the invoice but the dealer noted them down in writing and confirmed them back to me, and I have followed this up by email which he has not disputed.
    I have literally not signed on the dotted line, only the dealer has signed as the vendor.
    The invoice also says in small print subject to T&Cs overleaf, but it is a blank sheet on the back. I can see no T&Cs on their website either.
    Having not signed the invoice and with no T&Cs in black and white, is there an implied contract given the deposit is paid by credit card.
    He has indicated by phone the cost of the repairs may make it too expensive to do for him, and we will speak again soon.
    He has spoken about returning my money in full if I am not happy over the phone but I realise this is not worth the paper it isn’t written on.

    Can I pull out if none or, say only some, of the repairs are carried out and expect my full deposit back ?

  45. Stuart Masson

    If you have a written undertaking that the repairs would be done as part of the sale and the dealer is no longer prepared to uphold that, then you are entitled to withdraw and have your deposit back.

    The issue of the contract is separate, as you should simply be able to ask for the T&Cs to be provided. It would only be an excuse to withdraw if the dealer refused to provide them.

  46. I ordered a car from a dealership over the phone; they took a deposit by card, sent me an order form by email and asked me to transfer the rest. They delivered the car and gave me a new contract to sign. On test driving the car I find I don’t like it. The dealership refuses to take it back – where do I stand?

  47. Hello Stuart!
    I’m Igor ,I was to carshop to buy a van .I was asked to pay £300 deposit for take it away from sale and wait till 11 o’clock in the morning (next day)to see if the finances gone through and if I will be accepted .In the evening I received a call from the company for I have worked, they told me that they reduced personal and I lost my job.So next day at 9:30am I was there and I explained my situation and I don’t need the van anymore. I request my deposit back ,but they refused me.
    I even didn’t knew if I was accepted.
    So ,tell me please am I entitled to get my money back?
    Thank you in advance.

  48. Stuart Masson

    Hi Angus. Assuming that the entire sale was conducted over the phone (ie – you didn’t go into the dealership to view the car and then went home to place the order), you have 14 days to change your mind and return the car for a full refund. If the dealer has not provided details about their returns policy or costs of collection, then it their obligation to pay for any associated costs.

  49. Stuart Masson

    Hi Igor. No, you probably don’t have the right to your deposit back as you are the one cancelling the order. If the dealer cancelled the order because the finance was declined, they would be obliged to return your deposit.

  50. Good evening Stuart I paid a deposit of 200 pound to from a dealership on I have changed my mind can I cancel my order

  51. Stuart Masson

    Hi Alec. You can cancel the order, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will get your deposit back. If you read the article above, it should tell you whether you are eligible for a refund based on the details of your situation.

  52. This isn’t very promising :(. I ordered a car on Sun, and changed my mind. Requested for cancellation on Wed, but looks like I might lose my £500 deposit. The car wasn’t supposed to be with the dealer for 4 weeks, but now he’s saying it’s already on its way.

    We had just gone there to take a look at a used car, but ended up signing an order for a new car in impulse buy. The deal is too bad, on list price. We realised later that other dealers are offering over 3K discount & free servicing for 3 years.

    In a bad bad pickle! :(

  53. Hello,
    Ive just brought a vehicle on ebay (privately), however i sent someone else to collect it and they signed the V5 on my behalf however when the vehicle arrived the engine is different to the V5. however the car was sold as seen… where do i stand?
    the guy who sold it told the person collecting it that the engine had been changed.


  54. Stuart Masson

    Replacing an engine is not illegal, so as long as the seller did not lie about it during the sales process then he/she has not done anything wrong – even if they did not disclose it. You would only have reason to object if the seller specifically lied about the engine replacement.
    You should contact the DVLA to update the engine details.

  55. Hi Stuart,
    I have agreed to buy a car from a dealer and made a £500 deposit and signed order forms for a used car. My circumstances have changed sadly in 2 days, a death in the family and need any cash I have for funeral costs etc. Can I cancel the agreement to buy the car and is it likely I will get the deposit back?
    I also paid for the deposit by credit card. If I can’t get the deposit back from dealer can I get it back from credit card company?

  56. Stuart Masson

    You can ask, but the dealer is not obliged to agree. A vehicle purchase agreement does not usually have any clause to allow you to cancel for compassionate grounds (or any other grounds).

    For a car dealer, the “death in the family” excuse is up there with “the dog ate my homework” for teachers; it may be true for you, but unfortunately it gets used a lot by people trying to get out of their car purchases.

  57. hello

    ive recently had anoperation and been given morphine. ive been taking alot and today was the first day i 2went out the house cause i needed to go to a work meeting. anyway my friend picked me up an suggestedvwebgo get a free coffee at bmw. by talking to the dealer and ive ended up putting 1000 deposit down for a car when i couldnt think straight. ive now come off the medication and dontknow what to do as i dont want the car. i could do with the advice asap

  58. Stuart Masson

    Hi Joshua. You can ask the dealer to cancel the order and refund your deposit, but they are going to be highly dubious. Their argument (which is pretty reasonable) would be that if you were mentally capable of attending a work meeting then you were capable of understanding that you were buying a car.

    If you want to argue that you were mentally unfit to sign a contract and the dealer does not accept it, you will need a doctor’s written deposition and probably a lawyer.

  59. I just bought a new 2017 the beginning of the week, can i exchanged it from a s model to sr model if i only had it for 4 days. I like the sr model better. Thanks

  60. Stuart Masson

    Hi Marsha. No, probably not. You would need to sell the original car back to the dealership – at a substantial loss – and buy another car.

  61. I brought a kia sportage and paid in full, signed all docs. Drove away in said car later that week, then was browsing there website and saw the same model/year for £500 more but this one was 15,000 miles less then mine i wanted to see if i could take it back and pay the extra £500 for the other car.

    I dont want a refund or to go any where else, just wanted to know if i could take it back for the other car and pay the difference.


  62. hi
    just paid cash for a used car to find out the when i put child seat in back there is no room for my sons feet he as to cross his legs
    the car come from main dealers
    and sales person told me there was enough room for a child but there is not
    can you advise as only had car for 3 days

  63. Stuart Masson

    Hi Nigel. In short, no you can’t. Well, you can, but it would cost you a lot more than the extra £500 (your car is now worth significantly less than what you paid for it) and it is almost certainly not worth the hassle and expense.

    Once you have bought a car and driven away, stop looking at used car websites. You will always find a better deal afterwards!

  64. Stuart Masson

    Hi Steve. Unfortunately, you’re probably stuck with this car. If you didn’t check that the child and child seat fitted comfortably before you bought it, there’s not much you can do. A salesman’s verbal assurance means nothing.

  65. Hi Stuart,

    A few days ago I took delivery of a new car bought entirely through phone and email communication with the dealer. Sounds like, if I change my mind, I can send the car back but the car has clocked up some mileage. So what is the dealer entitled to withhold before giving me the purchase price back. (btw the dealer did not give me any notice of cancellation terms)

  66. Stuart Masson

    Hi Mike. If the dealer hasn’t given you a copy of the cancellation terms (if they actually have any), then it’s up to them to collect the car. The only grey area in the law relates to condition, and that specifically relates to damage.

    The dealer will almost certainly try to stop you from returning the car, as it will mean a considerable loss for them, but the law is pretty clear.

  67. Thanks Stuart, so if there is no damage, only mileage (eg 500 miles), he needs to give a full refund?

  68. Hi Stuart – great site! I’ve recently ordered a new car, I’ve put down a £500 deposit and the deal includes the part ex of my car for a £1000. The dealer provided me with the best deal based on a PCP agreement. At the time of ordering I made it clear I wasn’t sure about signing up to PCP agreement or whether I wanted to source my own finance – the dealer said no problem, and that we wouldn’t sign the actual agreement until the car had arrived, or a few weeks prior. He added that if I won the lottery before the car comes I can pay the balance off in full, which is what I now want to do – should that be OK? I’m worried about entering into a PCP deal and being stung for interest if I paid it off early (I’ve now soured my own funds so want to pay for the car outright when it arrives) I’m also worried about them trying to negotiate the value of my P/X down, I got a decent deal on the new car but also got £300 more for mine based on the book value – I didn’t have my car with me at the time but it checked out OK on their systems, at the time of the deal I said it was a 10 year old car in fair condition – which it is. Would they be in a position to re-negotiate the deal on the signed order form if they didn’t feel my car is worth £1000? If so, would that mean I could re-negotiate, and what would be the consequence of me just walking away – me losing my £500 i assume?

  69. Stuart Masson

    Hi Andy. If there is nothing on the contract that says that the pricing is subject to taking out their finance, then there is nothing they can do. However, because the car wasn’t with you when you signed the contract, the dealer is likely to take any opportunity to knock down the PX value as much as they can.

  70. Thanks for the quick reply Stuart, if they attempt to knock the PX down can I renegotiate on the price?

  71. Thanks for the quick reply Stuart, If they look to know down the PX value can I renegotiate the cost of the new car then?

  72. Stuart Masson

    Sure. If they are looking to renegotiate the contract, you can as well.

  73. Hi Stuart, I’ve read through some more of your articles – I’m less worried about the PX value, but more worried about the PCP. As I understand it, I’ve signed a vehicle order form and committed my deposit. Any PCP agreement I might enter into cant physically start until I take delivery of the vehicle (expected within the next month) I don’t believe I’ve entered into any finance agreement yet, nor have I received any documentation in the post. In short, I fully intend on paying cash for my car (£23k) – as long as I cancel the PCP within 14 days, ill have to pay the finance company £23k? is that correct?
    Thanks for your time in advance.

  74. Stuart Masson

    You will usually be called in by the dealer to sign the finance agreement a few days before your car is ready for delivery, so that all sounds normal at this time.

    If you cancel the PCP within the 14-day cooling-off period, you’ll get an invoice from the finance company for the total amount borrowed, usually payable within 28 days.

  75. Hi Stuart, thanks for the reply!…Two final points:
    1) I also negotiated they pay the first year`s tax for the vehicle, on the vehicle order form under “Dealer Fitted Accessories” it states 12 months first year £0.00 – would I be right in thinking that is agreed as discussed, I cant find the discount or note anywhere else!?

    2) There have been significant delays on my type of vehicle order – my T&C`s state if they cant provide the vehicle within days of the estimated date then the contract is cancelled – this I assume means deposit back and look elsewhere if I’m not prepared to wait? (Part of me would love to start this process again knowing what I now know, so it could be a blessing, but I do also want the vehicle)

    Thanks again for your time.

  76. Stuart Masson

    Yes, if the dealer can’t supply in the contracted timeframe then you have the right to your deposit back.

  77. Hi Stuart.
    irecently purchased a car @ a dealers and put down a 2500.00 deposit and took out finance on the vehicle.We went about 2 miles down the road when the car cut out. The car sales man turned up with another and proceeded to try to fix the problem .clearly not knowing what they were doing/ Aweek later we have been told we have to accept the car when it is fixed is this correct.?

  78. Stuart Masson

    Hi Karen. It depends on what the problem is. If it was a minor problem with a simple fix, the car would not be considered faulty and therefore you couldn’t reject it under the Consumer Rights Act. You are entitled to know what the problem is – if the dealer won’t tell you, then I would suggest you officially reject the car and make the dealership explain what the problem is.

  79. Hi, I have been reading this thread with some interest and have to ask for your advice:

    Last week, I was having mechanical problems with my car, I had broken down, and as my car was nearly 10 years old, I decided to look for another car, I went to Evans halshaw, and immediately seen a Hyundai ix35, I test drove the car and liked it.
    I was in desperate need of the car as I needed it in order to get to work, they asked about my old car and I told them what kind of condition it was in, I was then asked how I would pay for the Hyundai, I said I would like to lease the car, when they came back, they said as the car was 5 years old, I could buy it on finance.
    So I filled out a document and the dealership applied to Black Horse for the finance, I was approved very quickly, I was presented with the credit agreement and signed all parts, my husband left a £100 deposit to secure the car, and I was given a valuation of £1600 for my old car, I was to take delivery of the car the next day,

    When I went home my husband told me the finance was too expensive, and I should try for a bank loan, which I did, again I was excepted within minutes.
    So my plan was to cancel my agreement and then buy a car cash, so my husband called the salesman to inform him that I wouldn’t be picking the car up, as I no longer needed the finance, and I would be purchasing from another dealership.
    They then told me they had registered the car in my name, and they wanted over £500 to get out of the agreement.
    Now I have never picked up the car as I no longer want it, but the dealership have been paid by Black Horse, and Black Horse want their money from me as per the agreement, what are my options?

  80. Stuart Masson

    Hi Suthatip. You can cancel the finance agreement with Black Horse, as all finance agreements have a 14-day cooling-off period. However, you are still legally committed to buying the car – presumably using the money from the bank loan. There’s no cooling-off period for the vehicle purchase and you have signed a legally-binding contract.

    If you try to get out of the vehicle purchase, the dealer will possibly try and chase you for the £500, or possibly not. If you go and buy a car elsewhere, they could possibly take you to court to try and enforce the contract or sue you for their losses (although that’s not very likely).

  81. I agreed to buy a Motor home at the premises of a dealer. The salesman told me all about the vehicle but did not tell me that three years previously it had failed its MOT due to serious corrosion which had been repaired so it passed subsequent MOTs.. if I had known or been told that information I would not have agreed to the purchase. I have been told they will not refund my £500 deposit as I withdrew from the sale.
    However their failure to bring to my attention something so major should negate the contract and result in them refunding my deposit. If I had known of the repair I could have had a further examination by an expert before agreeing the sale. The salesman told me he could not be aware of every repair a vehicle had had but my view is that as a Motor home retailer and repairer they should have made themselves aware of this previous repair and brought it to the attention of any prospective purchaser
    What do you think Please
    thank you

  82. Stuart Masson

    Hi Graeme. If the vehicle has passed an MOT, you won’t have a right to a refund. Cars fail MOT tests all the time, but as long as the vehicle is repaired then it’s all perfectly acceptable. The dealer is not obliged to tell you that it failed an MOT test three years ago, regardless of the reason. A dealer is obliged to tell you if a vehicle is a Category C or D (previously written off but repaired).

  83. Hi Stuart,

    I have bought an Audi TT Used from a main dealership using PCP, however now Im thinking financially I might not be able to cope with paying for it. I paid £2000 deposit and I was wondering if I could pull out of the deal and get the deposit back. 2 things

    1) The cable is not working for the iPhone link in the glove compartment and there are some issues with the spoiler on the back

    2) I showed A young lady in another Audi dealer what paperwork I received and she told me that because I hadn’t been made aware of the alloy protection I had been sold, nor did I have the original order form, nor did I have anything saying that I was aware of the finance agreement, nor a demands and needs document I might possibly have a case??

    Please let me know if this could enable me to cancel??



  84. I put down deposit for an approved car over telephone and changed my mind within 5 hours so I emailed them to cancel this, but still they took the deposit and sent the order form for me to sign. I did not sign the order form, can I get the deposit back ? BTW I only see the car from online/

  85. Stuart Masson

    Hi Trevor. You would have to prove that you weren’t made aware of the alloy protection. The dealer should have a copy of the demands and needs statement, and it is a standard part of the process so I would be surprised if they didn’t present this during the sales process.

    Based on what you have said, I don’t think you have a case. But you would need to discuss it with a solicitor and present all of your documentation for them to guide you.

  86. Stuart Masson

    Hi Rachel. Yes, you are entitled to your deposit back.

  87. Hi Stuart,

    What if they refuse to refund, should I tell them I am entitled to get deposit back due to Consumer contract regulation ?Any suggestion when negotiate with them?


  88. Stuart Masson

    Ultimately, if they refuse to comply with the law then you will need to take legal action against them.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.

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