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

What are your rights if you want or need to cancel that car purchase?

Our commercial partners. Click on the logos for more information and special offers

I bought a car and now I've changed my mind 1
I bought a car and now I've changed my mind 2
I bought a car and now I've changed my mind 3
I bought a car and now I've changed my mind 4
I bought a car and now I've changed my mind 5
I bought a car and now I've changed my mind 6

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 a car at one dealership 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.

If you bought a car from a car dealer is not normally refundable
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 a 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 are buying 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 basically bought a car and you are expected to honour your contract. 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. In other words, you’ve bought a car.

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 from a dealer over the phone, or online, then you actually have more legal protection than if you buy the car in person. This is called an ‘off-premises’ sale, and is also referred to as ‘distance selling’.

The same applies if you are buying a car in person but not at the dealership. For example, a dealer might bring a car to your house and you sign a vehicle order there, rather than you going to the dealer’s premises to buy a car.

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 overall sales process must be done at a distance. This means that you and the dealer both have to agree the purchase (and preferably 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 paid for the car (after you have handed over your money, 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 bought a car 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, a car may have been 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 you want to sleep on it, then do so before signing or paying a deposit. It much harder to get your money back afterwards once you’ve bought a car than it is to not hand it over in the first place.

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 and bought a car, 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

This article was originally published in August 2014 and was last updated in May 2019.

For the best independent and impartial car finance advice on the internet, always check with The Car Expert:

  • Subscribe to our newsletter for weekly tips and the latest offers from car manufacturers
  • Follow us on Facebook and Twitter to see our latest articles as soon as we publish them
  • Bookmark our site so you can check back regularly
Stuart Masson
Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive 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.

More expert advice

Calls made for zero tolerance on drink-driving

Calls are being made for a zero-tolerance policy towards drink-driving as a recent study confirmed that alcohol-related deaths are on the rise in the UK.

How to handle a dispute with a car dealer

We regularly get readers asking for advice on how to resolve their dispute with a car dealer. So let's look at the steps you should take to get your problem sorted.

Christmas bargains for clever car buyers

As another year winds down, many car dealers are getting nervous. if you're in the market to buy, you could get a great new car deal this Christmas.

Understanding your credit history and credit score

If you've watched TV lately, you'll have seen loads of ads talking about your credit score. But what is a credit score, and how important is it really?

How to avoid car sickness

Car sickness is a common problem for many of us. We've put together this list of tips for keeping a queasy stomach under control on a road trip.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Stuart,

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

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

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

      Any suggestions will be much appreciated


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

  3. Hello Stuart,

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

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

    Thank you

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Where do i stand on this?

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

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

  6. Hi Stuart

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  10. Hi Stuart,

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hi Stuart,

      Thank you for the reply.

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

      Does this change the situation?

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


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

    • Hi Stuart,

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

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

      Kind regards

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

  11. Hi Stuart,

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


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

  12. Hi Stuart

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

    Noticed a better deal.

    Am I entitled to my deposit back.

    Thanks Emma

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Thanks in advance for your help.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  24. Hi Stuart,

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

    Many Thanks

  25. Hi Stuart,

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

    Many Thanks

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

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

    • Thank you for your speedy response!

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

      Many Thanks

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Since then ive had time to think…

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

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

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

    Please please help!

    Thankyou in advance

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

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

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

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

    • Hi Stuart,

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

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

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

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


  32. Hi Stuart,

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

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

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

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

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

    I have just read your article and it says this,

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

    Does this apply to me?

    Is it part of the British consumer rights?

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

    Many thanks


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

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

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

    • Hey Stuart,

      Thanks for the reply,

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

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

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



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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Would appreciate your suggestions.


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

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

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

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

      Appreciate your time.

  37. Hi Stuart,

    I went to a Skoda dealership yesterday and negotiated a deal for a new car. I signed the contract, including part exchange etc and so did the dealer. I also paid a £1000 deposit. The dealer rang me this evening saying that they have got their figures wrong and cannot give me the discount they agreed and signed and are therefore going to cancel the order. Can they do this?? I said I wouldn’t agree to this and would expect them to honour the contract. The manager is going to ring me back tomorrow morning…



    • Hi Ian. I just saw your question on the forum and answered it there, but will repeat myself below for anyone else reading:

      You can argue it out with them, but ultimately it will depend on how wrong they got it and how long they are prepared to argue it out for. If it was a genuine error and we are talking thousands of pounds, it is reasonable to expect that they will fight /negotiate with you until you give up and either accept a new deal or walk away.

      You can try getting Škoda UK involved, and complain that their dealer won’t honour a legally-binding contract, but it may not help you that much. It may also depend on whether we are talking about a new Škoda or a used car.

      Everybody makes mistakes, and if somebody has genuinely made a mistake and made you an offer that was much better than anyone else was prepared to do, then it’s not real surprise that they screwed up. If you knew they had screwed up when you signed the order, you can’t really be upset when they worked it out. If you genuinely entered into the contract in good faith and had no idea that the numbers were not correct, you are entitled to fight them for it.

    • Many thanks for your advice. Sorry – found the forum after I found this and thought it was a better place to ask. All sorted out now – the dealership has been really good and I’ve ended up with a car to the same specification – just with acceptable margins for the dealer. They were very apologetic about the whole thing and have even thrown in a full tank of diesel. I just panicked a bit when I received the first phone call!

      Thanks again!


  38. Me and my husband went to look at cars at a dealership today and eventually got caught up in ordering a new Citroen DS3 after they had offered various discount incentives. After the salesman had gone through the figures he had his hand over the bottom of the page and then said it was an agreement under PCP. We paid £200 deposit but now I am home I am a bit worried about the PCP. I have signed forms which I think are the car order form and finance agreement but I am basically getting a car that I have not yet seen. Can I change my mind?

    • Sorry Gail, your message was caught by the spam filter and I only just found it.

      Were you intending to buy the car on finance?

      It is normal with a new car for the customer not to see the actual vehicle they are purchasing (unless it’s physically in stock at the dealership), but you should know exactly what you’re getting and be able to see something similar. You don’t legally have recourse to change your mind on the vehicle order, but the finance agreement has a 14-day cooling-off period for you to cancel the finance. This doesn’t mean you can give the car back; it means you will have to pay for it in full if you cancel the finance.

      If you want to cancel the vehicle altogether, you will have to discuss with the dealership and you can reasonably expect to lose your £200 deposit unless you can argue that youy have been mis-sold.

  39. i paid a 100 pound deposit to view a car in derby whilst on the phone i ask the dealer if the deposit refundable if i did not think the car was right for me he said yes no problem i did not buy the car so he said he would put the deposit in the post after 7 phone calls and texts and 3 weeks later i have not got anything back from the dealer although i have texts messages saying it was in the post of course he was lying

  40. Hi Stuart ,
    I took delivery of my used Audi TT today,
    On my pcp contract it says the car has done 8700 miles but the car has only actually done 7400, am I in a position to return the car if I choose too because of the mileage discrepancy.
    Please help

    • Hi Adam. Not sure why you’d have a problem with this, as it is a small error in your favour. In theory it means you can go over your allowed mileage for the total PCP term by 1300 miles and the finance company wouldn’t know.

      So no, you are not in a position to return the car or cancel the PCP as a result of this error to your advantage.

  41. Hi Stuart, I recently bought a nissan leaf after a salesman recommended it when I told him what I needed in a car. This is an electric car which has involved a huge lifestyle change! The salesman advised that the car was suitable for my role as a social worker however I feel the car is not fit for the purpose I had made known to him. The driving range is not as much as advertised and I find I cannot drive at the national speed limit without the range depleting rapidly. I had made known my concerns to the salesman within the cooling period and was advised that I should drive between 50-60 mph on the motorway which is hazardous. Further, I need to use the motorway all the time for my job which I had made known prior to purchase. I took the car back within the cooling period and have been advised my £4,500 deposit is gone and I would need to pay a further £5K for a government discount that was given for the electric car if I give it back. I have spoken with another Nissan Dealership who advised that I should have been given my deposit back and only paid cancellation fees and mileage I have used. i have written to the credit company and CEO as I feel the car is not fit for purpose. The dealership Principal disagrees with me however he was not party to the conversation when the car as being sold to me. Could you offer me any advice? Also, could I obtain my deposit via section 75 of the consumer credit act? I used a debit card as I didn’t have a credit card at the time. Any advice would be gratefully received.

    Alka C

    • Hi Alka. You are going to struggle to prove your claims that you were mis-sold the vehicle, unless you can show anything in writing. If all you have is a contract and a claim that you have been verbally misadvised, there’s no reason for Nissan to consider a refund. You can claim that you were told lies, the salesman can claim that he told the truth, and nothing is proved.

      At the end of the day, you are responsible for signing a contract. It is in your interests to check any claims made by salespeople, or read independent reviews of the vehicle, or understand the new technology (we have several articles on electric cars here at The Car Expert, and there are literally thousands all over the internet, just from UK sites).

      Assuming you bought the car from the dealership, there is no legal cooling-off period in the sale of the vehicle. If you can prove that your driving range is not as advertised, you may have more of a chance in returning the car to Nissan UK, but there is no reason for the dealer to take the car back.

  42. Hi Stuart I'm in SA. Recently bought and signed a car contract in another location and wanted to buy the car for my wife in a different province. I signed the deal on the premises. Was even given spare keys for delivery of the vehicle. 3 days later I haven't received the car. I later realised that my wife is not ready and confident yet. I'm also not financially ready. I than called them and emailed that I want to cancel the deal as they have not yet received my proof of residence and the deal has not yet gotten to the financier. I called them and it sounded like they want to coerce me into continuing with the deal. What chances do I have to completely get out of the deal without loosing any money. As I have not given them a deposit. Thank you.

    • Hi Rupert. I'm not familiar with the laws in South Africa, but if they haven't taken any money from you then they will find it difficult to force you into anything – unless they threaten you with legal action.

      You should probably contact the finance company directly to confirm that you are not proceeding with the deal in case the dealer tries to have it activated (which is when the finance company pays the dealer).

  43. Hi I recently put £250 on a car over the phone under the premis that was just to hold the car until i could visit the dealer that is 50 miles away, overnight i changed my mind and now the dealer is ruffusing to give me my money back even though it was agreed it was refundable on the phone, i have not signed anything. If i read it right above am i right in saying this is illegal? if they continue to refuse who can you go to, to get it sorted. it is a francise for a big dealer.

    • Hi David. Demand to speak to the dealer principal/general manager. If you are still having no luck, contact the manufacturer's UK head office to complain about the dealer's behaviour. That generally puts a rocket under them…

    • Thanks I finally spoke to the manager, who wasn't pleasant until I quoted the regulation above, swiftly changed his mind. Thanks.

    • Hi Stuart,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  44. Hi Stuart,
    I bought a car on finance from a nissan dealer and yesterday I collected the car and bought it home. It was a rushed decision but the dealer offered us a great deal that we couldn't refuse.
    It turns out however that this wasn't the case. The car is electric and it poses a great deal of discomfort to have to charge it as much as it needs. I have a small baby and it is very inconvenient. The dealer told me that the range is 124miles on a full tank, but it turns out that this is the case if I don't use the heating nor air conditioning. He wasn't good at explaining most of the charging information and now I'm in a big mess because the car has now been collected and I realise that I have made a big mistake that I've committed to for 2 years.

    Is there anyway I could change my mind in any way?
    Thank you in advance

    • Hi Mariya. Are you saying that you were not aware that the car was electric before you purchased it? I find that difficult to believe, as it would require you to sign a contract and additional government forms related to the £5,000 grant for electric vehicles.

      Unless you can show evidence that you have been mis-sold, you will struggle to convince Nissan to refund your money and take the car back.

  45. Hello I went to see a used car at a dealer I went away to think about it decided to order but have not signed a contract put down a deposit or been sent any paperwork since then I have found a better deal the dealer isn't very happy and says I have a verbal contract! How do I stand please?

  46. Thank u for that. They don't have any money from me. I cancelled the deal with the financier. But now they sent me an email stating a cancellation fee of 10 percent of the vehicle which is a lot of money. Am I obliged to give them that money?

    • Again, I'm not familiar with how things work in SA, but in the UK a customer wouldn't end up giving the dealer any money after cancelling an order. The dealer would have taken the deposit up-front and the customer would be arguing with them about getting all or some of it back.

      If you have signed a contract which says you must pay 10% in the event of cancellation, then they are entitled to that money.

      It will depend on whether the dealer wants to pursue the matter via legal action, based on legal costs vs. cancellation fee and what your contract stipulates regarding your obligations.

  47. Hi Stuart
    i bought a car from Arnold Clarke in February, and since then it has being to their garage for repairs over eight times, this last time it stayed with them for three weeks, part of this is because they did not do any prep on the car before putting it out for sale.

    i noe feel that this car has being ripped apart and thus lost its value which i bought it, my intentions is to reject it but if given a good discount would accept.

    i have made a complaints through the finance company but it seems their main interest is to get the car repaired without addressing any of my concerns

    can yo plese tell me my rights and best way to handle it


    • Hi Owen. If it was a new car, it will still be under its New Car Warranty, so any repair costs will be picked up by the manufacturer and you are going to be covered for a few years to come yet. If it's a used car, the warranty will depend on the age of the car – it may have some manufacturer warranty left – and any dealer warranty included. Either way, you will be covered for less time than on a new car.

      It it is a new car, you would have a strong case to say that the car is not fit for sale (without knowing the details of its problems, of course). If it's a used car, that is a more difficult argument to win, as there are plenty of things that a dealer could legitimately be unaware of when selling a car.

      Given that you have had the car since February, you will find it difficult to reject it, and the finance company is unlikely to be too interested in helping you – all they want is for you to keep making your monthly payments.

  48. Hi Stuart,

    My wife and I went to look at a second hand car, test drove it and left without paying a deposit. The car is 200 miles from where we live but near my parents. The next week I called and paid a deposit of £500 and it was agreed that the dealer would valet the car, fix the broken rear number plate light and provide two working keys, and that the car would be ready to pick up on 9 May 2015. No paperwork has been signed but I do have telephone notes of my calls.

    On 6th May I was told that the new keys would not be ready in time and therefore we would not be able to pick up the car on Saturday 9 May 2015.

    I have been told today that the keys have arrived.

    Where do we stand in terms of the car? We are not due to visit my parents until the middle of June so cannot collect it until then. Do the garage have any obligation to deliver the car? As the deposit was paid over the phone can I cancel the deal and get my money back? This threat to dealer may prompt them into action.

    Your thoughts would be appreciated.


    • Hi Charles. If you have no contract, then they have no hold over you. You can cancel the purchase and walk away. They have no right to keep your money, either, but that could involve an argument and some persistence to get it back, as you have no record of why they have your money in the first place. In future, never give a car dealer money without getting a receipt immediately after payment.

      You may be able to negotiate for them to deliver the car to you instead of cancelling altogether, but it depends what outcome you are ultimately looking for.

  49. I recently put a £500 deposit down on a new car, although the car has been used as a demo with only 1400 miles on the clock, the car has not yet been registered The firm I’m buying the car from has asked for the full payment for the vehicle before it’s delivered to my address. They’re taking my current vehicle as part exchange, my problem is, I’m very reluctant to part with the £10.000 outstanding balance until I’ve seen the car. I would add I have purchased a car from the same company before, paid a deposit and the outstanding balance when the car was delivered, although the company are saying because it’s a new car the terms and conditions are different. The company are based in Scotland over 400 miles from my address, when the car is eventually delivered it will have 2000 miles on the clock, hence its not a new car. I’m just wondering what are my rights, am I covered by the sale of goods act, or the distance selling regulations? Any good advice?

    • Hi Steve. It's perfectly normal for you to have to have paid in advance of delivery, and most dealers will insist on having the money in their accounts 24-48 hours before the keys are handed over to you (as some banks allow the money to be recalled, meaning you have both their car and your money…). In most cases this is no different for new or used cars, so I'm not sure why they have different T&Cs.

      Dealers are not supposed to use cars for that level of mileage without registering them – 1400 miles is a lot of test drives! Hopefully you have managed to negotiate a good deal on the vehicle because it is clearly not 'new' (although it may be from a DVLA and warranty perspective).

      Yes, you are covered under what used to be called Distance Selling, meaning you can reject the car and get a full refund (although they could claim delivery costs). However, in reality a dealer will fight you to the death before refunding you and taking back what is then most definitely a used car, so you would be in for quite a battle if you tried to reject the vehicle.

  50. Hi there, I recently bought a used car which is one year old from Arnold Clark dealership, Since buying the car I am not with it, the fuel consumption of the car is bad, I found bonnet chips which were not highlighted when buying the car, overall I feel that the car is too expensive for me and I do not need a car this expensive. Do I have any way to return the car? I've tried to get on with the car but I can't.

    • Hi Neil. I doubt you would have grounds to reject the car and get your money back, unless the fuel consumption is considerably worse than the manufacturer's claim – and it has to be a lot worse before you would have any chance in a legal battle.

      As for the bonnet chips, it is a buyer's responsibility to inspect a vehicle prior to delivery and get the dealer to rectify any problems. Once you drive away in the car, there is no way you can prove that the chips did not occur after you left the dealership.

      It sounds like you've bought a car which is not suitable for your needs and now you're trying to get out of it. The only way you can do that is to sell it, which will mean taking a large financial hit.

  51. Hi Stuart.
    Great article and some really useful advice. Highly recommended reading BEFORE looking at purchasing a car and wished I had found this site sooner!
    I have placed a £1,000 deposit by credit card on a used car 150 miles away from an authorised dealer. So paper work has been signed. all dealings with the retailer done over the phone.
    Part of the great finance deal was taking out a paint sealant product (which I don't usually purchased) as part of a "kickback". At first I thought this was acceptable and felt pressured to place a deposit to secure the deal.
    Where do I stand on being able to remove the paint sealant product and would I be able to cancel the purchase and get my deposit refunded?
    Many thanks.

    • Hi Mark. As a 'distance sale', you can cancel the contract and get your money back. But what you can't do is use the distance selling rules to change aspects of the contract that you have changed your mind on. You can certainly tell the dealer that you don't want their overpriced paint sealant, but chances are they will tell you that they have just finished applying it…

      If they don't want to remove the paint sealant from the contract, your only legal option is to cancel the order. Obviously they won't want you to do that, so you are going to have to come to some agreement with them. If they have already applied the sealant, they will want to claim back the cost of it from your £1,000 deposit.

    • Thanks for your Stuart. So it looks likes its all or nothing as far as cancelling goes.
      I have checked the finance quote and they have put this sealant into the finance, thus I am paying interest on it too over 4 years. Its not cheap!

    • You can absolutely try to have the sealant removed from the contract, but they will resist. Their profit margin on it will be staggering. Most car dealers I worked for had a mark-up of about 400% for that sort of product, compared to <10% on the car itself.

  52. Hi Stuart,
    My 81 year old father recently went to a dealership in Edinburgh to look for a new car. Due to his age he is very indecisive and slow (and should have taken me with him). After a couple of visits he verbally agreed to buy a car but requested a colour that the dealer claimed they would have to bring down from Aberdeen.
    The salesman convinced my Dad to pay a £500 deposit which he did by credit card. No paperwork was ever exchanged. My Dad signed no agreement. No receipt was even given for the deposit.
    The salesman then registered the car in my Dads name after obtaining his permission. (My father claims otherwise but he is easily mixed up.) Again there is nothing in writing to prove this.

    By the time the car got delivered to the dealer my Dad changed his mind. The dealer say they are keeping his deposit and seeking legal advice to recover the costs in bringing the car down from Aberdeen.

    Now my Dad accepts he said he wanted the car at first and to be honest, shouldn't have then changed his mind. However the dealer never gave him anything in writing. He signed nothing.
    I could accept them keeping the deposit but to threaten to charge for transport costs seems ridiculous. I am also furious as they could see my Dad is not the sharpest at his age yet ordered the car without any formal agreement in place.
    The dealer has written a long letter stating who said what but is is all verbal discussions. Even they can't mention any paperwork.
    Advice much appreciated as this causing my parents much stress.

    • Hi Paul. The good news is that whenever you pay anything by credit card, you get the credit card company’s support in any dispute with the dealer, so you can always get in touch with them for help.

      If they do not have a contract, they can’t legally pursue your father for anything. A long letter listing their recall of verbal discussions is legally worthless, which is the whole point of having a written contract. Have a read of this article of the Ten Golden Rules for buying a car – having everything in writing protects both buyer and seller. Huffing and puffing is all intimidation and bullying, and if you throw it back at them they usually back down quickly.

      The fact that they have registered the car is their problem, not your father’s. Most dealers will no longer register a car without full payment precisely because they don’t want to be left with a registered (and now used) car if the deal falls through.

      Morally, they are probably entitled to keep the deposit if your father has clearly indicated that he wanted to buy the car and they incurred costs in sourcing the vehicle. However, £500 would more than cover their costs, and they have no grounds for pursuing any further money. if they do, they may well lose and have to return the £500 plus pay your father's legal costs. If they won't back down, get in touch with the manufacturer's head office and complain to them. That normally puts a rocket under the dealership's General Manager and gets things resolved quick smart.

  53. hi Stuart. Similar problem to Chan in April. I ordered a used Audi A3 from car dealer and paid deposit to have car brought from other branch. Did this in store and signed. However, they now tell me there is a problem with the car – by this read already sold. I am happy to still buy a car from them but want same spec/colour etc. They only have a newer model thus more expensive or other colour which I don't want – set my heart on this one. Do I have any come back on this or will they just refund deposit and I will have to search again? Jen

    • Hi Jen. If there was only one car and it's gone, there's not much you can do. It happens from time to time – two people are sitting in two different dealerships signing a contract on the exact same car. By the time your paperwork is processed by the admin department (maybe the same day, maybe a day or two later – especially if you signed the order at a weekend), the car that was showing as available is gone because someone else bought it 5 minutes before you did.

      You'll find another one that you like – Audi has been building thousands of A3s every week for nearly 20 years, so whatever your budget and spec/colour, another suitable one will probably pop up soon!

    • thanks for that, they have been reasonable to be honest and are looking for alternatives. Cheers Jen

  54. Hi

    I recently went to purchase a new car in person at a dealer ship. I put down a document and signed the form. I am now at risk of being made redundant and may not be able to afford the car anymore. I have not taken delivery and have only been approved for finance and have not signed a finance agreement. Am i able to cancel the purchase of the car and walk away?


    • Hi Will. If you haven't signed a finance agreement, the dealer won't have received any money for the car. You may well lose your deposit (or at least have to fight them to get it back), but they can't really force you to go ahead with the purchase. Legally, they can pursue you to enforce the contract (as explained above, you don't have the legal right to simply walk away), but it's unlikely to be worth their time and money to do so, and in the real world it just doesn't happen.

  55. hi there, I have just put a deposit down and signed a vehicle order form. however, even though the car salesperson said they did a HPI check, I decided to buy one myself and it has highlighted a few problems….finance still left on the vehicle and change of number plates and a higher valuation than what I have paid for it….alarm bells are starting to ring. The HPI is advising me to ask for the V5 details to check if the mileage is correct etc….but I get a bad feeling. Where do I stand with this as I have put a £400 deposit down on the vehicle and don't know if they will be prepared to look into the HPI claim and let me check the MOT and who the previous owners history etc….please can you help?

    • Hi Rachael. The finance issue may be the dealer's own finance rather than unsettled finance from the previous owner. Most dealers do not own all their cars outright – they don't have the hundreds of thousands of pounds available to pay for them – so they are financed on a commerecial basis until they are sold. The dealer should be able to advise if this is the case. The HPI check should also show who the finance is with, when it was taken out and how long for, so you should be able to tell whether it was from the previous owner.

      Change of plates is perfectly normal as well. The HPI check should show the full plate change history – usually it will start with a DVLA-issued number, be changed to a personal plate at some stage and then revert to its original number when that owner sells the car.

      If the HPI valuation for the car is higher than you have paid, it could mean that you have got a bit of a bargain, or that the car is not in as good a state as the average vehicle. You can discuss this with the dealer.

      The dealer should have the V5 available for you to view, and obviously you can view the car's mileage (the HPI check will ALWAYS advise you to check the mileage and V5 details; it's on all of their forms). Hopefully they will have the serevice history and some of the previous MOTs as well, so you can see the mileage history.

      It might seem like there are lots of red flags, but the probability is that everything is in order. The same issues arise with thousands of used cars every day. That's not to say it's definitely fine, but it gives you the chance to discuss these points with the dealer to make sure they are being open and honest with you. A good dealer should have no problems explaining all of the above and showing you all the information they have on the car.

  56. Hi Stuart,

    I placed an order with BMW 21 days ago which was subsequently amended via e-mail/telephone a week ago. All was well and I had called into the showroom to discuss delivery dates and the return of my old vehicle. The following day I arrived at work to be told that I'm at risk of redundancy. The vehicle was a new car order but nothing special in terms of specification. The dealer is agreeing to retain the deposit for around 12 months until such time I might be able to proceed or alternatively use the funds against servicing for my existing vehicle. Does this sound normal or should I be concerned that they'll chase me for anything else?


    • Hi Phil. If that’s what they have offered and you are happy with that, then they are unlikely to chase you for any other money. Make sure you get everything in writing from them, as dealership sales staff have notoriously bad memories… and they will almost certainly forget to tell the service department, who will know nothing about any such arrangement when you next turn up to have your car serviced.

    • Agreed – for the benefit of other readers, the Sales Manager came back to this evening and confirmed by email that the deposit will be held in a suspense account for the next year. As I see it, the worst case scenario is that I lose the relatively small deposit which is arguably better than getting stuck into a deal I can't commit to. Disappointed that I'm missing out on the new car, but I'd much rather be in a position where I can walk now but go back to BMW/MINI when the time is right. Worth mentioning that my part exchange wasn't involved as I'd planned to return direct to MINI Financial Services. The feeling I got from the Sales Manager indicated that this might be a complication had it been part of the deal.

      Thank you for the sound advice!

  57. Hi advice needed, Thanks in advance for any replies. I have put a deposit of £500 on a used car at a used car dealership. The cost of the car is £15000. I have signed the deposit paperwork and the trader has put sold on the advert as he is holding it for me as it needs mot, and a fault rectifying, which the trader has agreed to do through bmw. Two days later I have completed a hpi check on car and found that it has had a colour change in the past. The trader did not make me aware of this and on the log book the current colour is mentioned. Whilst at the dealership I contacted my insurance company for a quote and they mentioned a different colour to the car currently, I queried this with the trader but he said he didn't know. He said the car is legitimate in every way.

    Do I have a right to ask for my deposit back as I feel the car is not as described?

    Sorry for the long post and thanks.

    • The car's colour code should be located on the car somewhere. BMW should also be able to tell you the original colour for that vehicle, and the exact code. That should tell you if the colour of the car has been changed at some point.

      It is not unusual for an error to be made on the V5, where the wrong colour is listed and subsequently changed. You would need to find evidence that the dealer has repainted the car in a different colour if you are going to try and get your deposit back and cancel the contract.

  58. Hi Stuart, bit of a strange one for you. I bought a new Skoda and took delivery on Friday. 2 days in and although the car itself is fine I really dislike the colour. The car in the showroom was white and I bought it in red which I now feel was a mistake.
    Is there any opportunity for me to go back to the dealership and change the car? If they agreed to make a change what sort of costs could I be incurring to make the change?

    • Hi Lynn. It’s not strange; it happens from time to time. Unfortunately, you can’t simply swap it for another car in a different colour. You would need to sell the dealer your red car and buy another one in white. This will cost you thousands of pounds – several thousands, at least. Have a read of our article about depreciation and why new cars lose so much money for more information. Then make a list of all the things you could buy with the money you would have to spend on changing it for a white car…

  59. Hi Stuart, I went to my local dealership last week and brought a pickup,ive looking at this for about a week and the salesman made me an offer on it, I took it and he set up all the finance,last week I went in and signed the contract and off I went with my pickup,2 days ago he rung me up and said he made a error on the contract and it would cost me another £101 per month on top of what I am already paying,i told him I wasn't happy and then was told I have 2 options1, bring the pickup back and cancel the contract,2,pay the extra monthly figure,please can you tell me where I stand on this
    Many thanks Steve.

    • Hi Steve. You're going to need legal advice on that, which I'm not qualified to give. Try http://www.legalbeagles.info for some advice, but I'm not sure what the law would state.

      My feeling is that you signed a perfectly valid contract, and they handed over the keys, so if they have made an error then they have to lump it. What has quite probably happened is that the dealer has given the finance company incorrect pricing for the car, so the finance payments don't cover the full cost of the car. If so, then it shouldn't be your problem that the dealer sold the car for a few thousand pounds less than what they should have.

  60. Hi Stuart,

    I currently have a BMW on pcp and the contract ends in March. Since I have entered the last year of the agreement BMW have been hounding me to get a new car with exclusive offers. So 10 days ago I hastily agreed to buy a car from pre ordered stock already on its way from Germany not built specially for me like my car now. However they told me I have £2500 negative equity on my current car and were refinancing it. On reflection this boosted the monthly payment £90 over budget and I have decided I'm probably better of selling the car privately and settling and starting afresh on a low monthly payment offer. Am I still in the position to withdraw my agreement to buy the car? As the payments are significantly more BMW finance have asked for evidence which I'm waiting to arrive but I've decided I am no longer interested regardless. Do
    You have any thoughts how to proceed?

    • Hi Rina. Based on your explanation of required evidence of earnings, the finance will not have been activated, so you can cancel that. If you have paid a deposit to the dealership, you may well lose that (or have to fight to get it back). Naturally, the BMW dealer will try to talk you out of it so you will have to stand your ground.

      Don't hand over the evidence of earnings that they have asked for if you are not intending to proceed. If the finance company needs that before approving the application, you can stall it by not providing the documents. If you hand over the proofs, the dealer could submit them to the finance company and get the finance activated as a means of trying to force you to take the car.

  61. Hi Stuart,

    I signed a contract yesterday for a new car at a Honda dealership with my current car as part exchange. The purchase will be financed with a 3 year 0% credit agreement with Honda Finance. I was not required to pay any deposit. I have now had second thoughts as I felt pressured into making a decision there and then and want to cancel the contract. I appreciate that I do not have any legal rights, however as no money has changed hands, am I likely to be able to walk away with no repercussions?

    • Hi Archie. You are correct in that you don't have any legal rights, but in the real world you should be OK. If they don't have any of your money, so they can't hold that over you. And there's not enough profit in a Honda Civic to warrant taking you to court to try and enforce the contract.

      Give the dealer your official cancellation in writing, and remain calm & polite if they try to cajole or threaten you to going ahead with the purchase.

  62. Hi Stuart,

    Really hope you can help. I ordered a new car from Mercedes for an A180 CDI AMG Sport 1796cc 1.8. I have just recently found out that the vehicle i have is the same model but infact a 1496cc, therefore i have been incorrectly insuring my vehicle for 6 months!. I have checked my paperwork, and nowhere does it state a 1496cc engine. Anything that does say engine size says 1796cc. Ive had discussions with mercedes and they are basically saying that the 1796cc was discontinued and no longer available.
    They are trying to wriggle out of it by saying the new vehicle order form doesnt state 1796cc, but it also doesnt say 1496cc. They also say i have been charged according to a 1496cc so no leway there either. The salesman in question who verbally told me it was a 1796cc engine has left, however, the Gap insurance, statement of needs and policy/proposal schedule all state 1796cc engine and these documents have been signed by 2 different members of staff (who should have been aware that 1796cc was no longer available).

    I am unable to keep the 1496cc as i use this as a company car, and my car allowance policy states it must be over a 1.6 engine. I have told Mercedes this and they simply say the performance/fuel consumption etc is better than the 1796 so it wont be a problem. They dont write my companys policy and if id have known it was a 1496cc i would never have purchased this vehicle!

    Ive told them i want the next model closest to engine size, and if they dont do a 1.8 diesel and the next model up from that is a 2.2 then they should give me that for the same price as what i am paying. They have refused…

    Could you please offer me some advise on where i stand? Im a single parent with 2 children and cannot afford to pay more for a car than what i pay for this one, yet cannot keep it knowing that it doesnt meet the criteria for its purpose. I am also disgusted that i have put myself and my children at risk driving around with a car insured as something else!

    Thank you..

    • Hi Louise. If you specified during the sales process that the engine had to be the 1.8L (1796cc) version (or made the point about your company car policy requiring a minimum 1.6L), then you can argue that you have been mis-sold and that the car is not fit for purpose – since it fails one of your key buying criteria.

      If you can't demonstrate that (ie – you communicated this requirement verbally but there is nothing in writing), this will be very difficult to prove and therefore you are unlikely to get Mercedes-Benz to agree to change the car. From the factory's point of view, the 1.5L engine does exactly the same job as the 1.8L engine but with lower emissions and better economy, so they are providing you with a superior vehicle to the old-spec engine anyway (not that this helps your company car problem).

      If you have official paperwork from the dealership which shows that the car is a 1.8L (finance paperwork is probably your best bet if you are financing the car, but GAP/insurance paperwork provided by the dealer should be acceptable), you can argue that you have been mis-sold. You can take up your case with Mercedes-benz UK (based in Milton Keynes). However, it is difficult to prove that you stipulated that your key requirement that the car had to have the larger engine.

      The insurance issue is probably not a great concern. This sort of scenario is not that uncommon, and it's not like you were trying to deceive the insurance company by understating the car's performance. Had you needed to make a claim, it is unlikely you would have run into trouble, but obviously you should update your policy now that you are aware of the actual engine size.

      You should head over to the forum at legalbeagles.info, which is a specialist consumer legal forum. they may be able to offer you some advice on how to pursue thi with Mercedes-Benz, but you are most likely going to need professional legal assistance to get this resolved to your satisfaction.

      While you are pursuing this, you should contact your employer regarding the issue. If you can show them the comparative details of the two vehicles and explain the situation, they may be happy to make an exception to their policy for you on this occasion – after all, the performance is absolutely identical (I've driven both engines, and I can promise you that there is no performance difference; they're electronically regulated anyway, so the manufacturer can make sure that they are identical with some simple computer code). There is no performance reason for them to refuse your car, as they would have approved an identically-performing car with poorer environmental credentials, so they may accommodate your situation. It may not absolve the dealership, but it may be an easier route to actually allowing you to get on with your life.

  63. Hi, I've got myself into a bit of a situation. Basically I have paid the deposit down for PCP. The car is a new factory order so it should take up 12 weeks. However because I have found a better deal and the fact this car is already at a dealership I have changed my mind. Will I still be able to get my deposit back and if so will if affect my credit history?

    • Hi Marco. If you have found another car at the same dealership, it shouldn't be a problem as they can switch your deposit to the vehicle in stock. If the car is at a different dealership, then you have no right to a refund. However, it won't affect your credit history since you haven't defaulted on a finance agreement (because you won't have started it yet).

  64. Hi, please advise me, I seen this Mercedes on line, from Mercedes dealer, as it`s a long way from where I live, the the salesman said I could reserve the car with a refundable £500 till I view/test drive the said car, which he was happy to bring to me by the 17th. as I am disabled.
    I now wish to cancel & ask for my refund, I paid with my credit card, after I heard the news & read about the problems with Diesel cars.
    Can I get my money back, as I have not signed any contract just yet.
    Please advise ASAP via my E-Mail address.
    Thank you,
    regards, Sonny.

  65. Hi Stuart, My wife paid a £100 deposit to secure a nearly new car she had seen on the dealership's website. The salesman then, because he lived not to far from us, brought the car to our home, one to allow my wife a test drive and two to allow us the chance to see that it was as described and was therefore the car for my wife. She subsequently signed the order form at our home address. Collection was agreed for 27 June and we were asked to go along to the dealership as finance forms for the remaining balance of the car had to be signed on the dealership's premises. I should also say that, whilst the car was at our address, I did ask that some works be undertaken to the vehicle, namely a repair to the rear bumper and two new wheel trims.

    Seven days later my wife changed her mind. Put simply she wanted a different car of a higher spec. She rang the dealership and when asking for her deposit back was initially told that this would be retained as the parts which were to be replaced (wheel trims etc) had been ordered. The sales man was to call us back with a decision later that day. That call never came and so when my wife rang back, she was this time told that the car had been taxed and that we were to expect the V5 log book through the post. Were we to return the log book the dealership would then refund £70, saying that the remaining £30 should be sought by means of a car tax refund from DVLA.

    So we've had two conflicting reasons why the deposit can't be refunded and to be honest I'm a bit baffled by the second reason. To tax a vehicle and register my wife as a new owner on the strength of a £100 deposit and all this within 7 days of the order form being signed, bearing in mind that we weren't due to collect for another couple of weeks, just doesn't seem right to me.

    Experience tells me it could be weeks / months before DVLA send the V5 log book and so I wonder how the dealership would sell the car again in that time.

    I'd welcome your advice on whether what i've been told is right or whether I am being fobbed off by the dealership with them having no intention of returning my wife's deposit.

    Thanks very much.

    • Hi Dan. Because the contract was signed off-premises, you have 14 days to cancel and are eligible for a refund. It's as simple as that. If the dealer loses money because they processed the registration, that's their problem. I can understand that they are annoyed that your wife changed her mind, but legally they have to suck it up.

      If they have spent money on the vehicle at your request, they can reasonably expect to retain money to cover their costs, but it's a grey area and you would normally agree to some sort of settlement. I would have thought that they could cancel the order for the wheel trims, but if not then it would be reasonable for them to expect you to pay for those. It's all small beer, so I would suggest you go halves at £50 each and walk away.

  66. Hi Stuart. In the end of May I went to see a car on a dealer. They had a very nice add online with excellent photos of the car. When I got there I was surprised the car wasn't on site. According to the salesmen it was recently given as a courtesy car but he show me a different car that he said was almost the same. He told me that in 2 weeks the car would be back, I left a deposit and only signed a receipt. I didn't sign any order form. After 2 weeks I called the dealer and I was told the car wouldn't be back on time and speaking with another salesperson he said the car was a courtesy car since February with the same costumer. So they had an add to sell a car they did or couldn't simple sell. I was told that sadly they couldn't replace to courtesy car. So I waited 1 week more. I waited 3 weeks and did a better deal with another dealer. I contacted the initial dealer again and was told that I couldn't have my money back. They said the only way to have it was if I have seen the car and not like it! For me this doesn't make any sense whatsoever. I waited the 2 weeks, the add online never was taken out during this time and I was honest with them: I wanted the car, they took forever, I got a better deal, you can sell your car that is now finally on site. How can I have my money back? Do whom should I complaint? Many thanks.

  67. hi Stuart I live in Canada Toronto Ontario. I went to a private dealership saw the vehicle I like told them that I wanted the vehicle. they told me in order for me to go through with this vehicle I needed to put down a $500 deposit just to do the application to see if i would get approved from a finance company i have done that. then I sign a few paperwork showing the cost of the vehicle how much the vehicle is worth what the final sale price would be. After a few days thinking about my choice,I've decided not to take the vehicle anymore. I called back to dealership, they said that is too late for me to cancel my application for the vehicle. I did not put a down A down payment for the vehicle I only gave mthem$500 deposit for the application and my pay stubs and written on paper $5,000 was going to be my down payment but I had not pay them yet. now the dealership is tellingmew if I cancel this deal I would all the financing company whatever the amount I offer the car and it doesn't make any sense I do this because the car would be sitting at their shop and I would be paying for it. I don't remember signing any vehicle release form nor did I give them any bank information or insurance information the only money I gave them was the $500 deposit for my application request form for financing I don't know what to do from now on are they lying to me or I good in the situation of not having to get the vehicle.

    • Hi Andre. I don't know what the law states in Canada, so couldn't advise of what your legal position would be. It does sound like they are guilty of mis-selling if you were specifically advised that you were making an application to see if you would be approved, rather than actually committing to a purchase.

      The best advice is "Never give a dealer any money (or sign anything) unless you are 100% committed to buying the car". I would take the matter up with the dealer principal/general manager, and if you get no joy there then try either the franchise head office or the manufacturer's head office over in Canada. Also try contacting the finance company directly, as they should be able to advise you of what your position on the finance agreement actually is.

  68. Hi. Great article! I would love some advice please…

    I went to view a Golf last weekend at a Franchised VW dealer. I test drove it – all was good apart from a quiet scraping noise from the brakes which the salesman said was just because it had been sitting in the forecourt for a little while and it just needed a run. I accepted this explanation as the rest of the car looked clean, and we negotiated a deal which included a part-ex for my current car.

    I paid £500 by credit card (and got a credit card receipt), but their ordering system was down so I didn't sign anything, and the salesman emailed me the form a couple of days later (which had the correct, agreed details on). I acknowledged receipt of the email, but took no further action. All fine so far.

    I was due to exchange the car on Sunday (tomorrow), but the salesman called me late on Saturday afternoon (today) to say that the valeting team had noticed a sound "they didn't understand" (the brakes, maybe – the salesman wouldn't give anything way) and that he wanted to look into it before handing the car over. But as the technicians don't work on Sundays they have to delay the handover while they investigate.

    I had arranged earlier in the week with my insurers to change my cover over to the new car on Sunday, but they're not available on weekends to make policy changes, so I had to take out last minute emergency cover (for ~£150) on my existing car to make sure I'm still insured on Sunday and Monday until I can rearrange cover. The salesman assured me that they'll refund me for this if I can provide an invoice (which is fair enough, and I planned on taking them up on this).

    On the call today, the salesman was putting pressure on me to rearrange the handover for early this week, before the end of the month (presumably to hit is sales figures), but I'll find it very difficult to take time off before the next weekend. He's going to call on Monday to try to arrange a time, once they've diagnosed the problem. I presume I can dictate when I pick the car up, within reason?

    But now I'm also wondering if I shouldn't have accepted the car due to the problem I noticed on the test drive, which now appear like it might be more serious. I'm also having second thoughts about changing my car at all (as my financial situation has changed slightly since last week).

    As I didn't sign anything, I'm wondering how likely it is that I could walk away from the deal, and realistically expect my £500 deposit back? If so, I'm resigned that I might lose the money for the additional insurance cover (which I can handle).


    • Hi R. In summary, Yes, they will definitely be wanting you to take delivery before the end of the month (which this time around is also the end of the quarter and and of the half-year), and it is possibly very significant to their bottom line.

      However, none of that is not your problem unless the contract states that any price agreed is only valid until 30 June. Assuming that it doesn't say that, you are bound by the normal T&Cs of a vehicle contract, which should give you 28 days to collect the car once the dealership advises that it is ready.

      It's not unusual for minor issues to show up during pre-delivery. I would guess that it quite probably wasn't "the valeting team" that discovered a problem, but more likely the service department when they conducted the pre-sale inspection. Being the end of the month (+ quarter + half-year), they are probably trying to get as many cars pushed through the workshop as possible and as a result, it hadn't been done sooner. Now they have a car that needs rectifying and very little time to do it. Had you bought the car three weeks earlier, the workshop wouldn't have been as busy and they also wouldn't have cared too much if you couldn't collect it until the following weekend.

      If you decide to cancel, they will almost certainly insist on retaining your £500 deposit, and you will certainly not get anything back for your insurance (as that is not the dealer's problem; you could have cancelled it after the car had been signed over to the dealer). You could argue that you are entitled to your £500 back as you signed the purchase contract off-premises, but they will probably fight you for as long as they can without taking you to court.

  69. I went and looked at a used car at a Suzuki dealers on Saturday 27th June 2015 and put a £500 refundable deposit down. I've had the chance to look into the history of the car and realise that it’s not worth the price they are advertising it for. On the original advert there was no mention of minor body repair work required, it didn't say that there were notices on the MOT advisory, and the advert didn't mention that the car hasn't received a full service since first registered; it’s only received a small service (oil & oil filter change).

    I’ve sent an email with a new price offer and they have said that I've signed a ‘vehicle order form’ aka their contract and therefore the price is no longer open for negotiation. My copy of the vehicle order form is not signed by me and it is NOT signed by them and prior to signing the paperwork in the showroom it was explained to me and my partner that I was only signing to say that they accept my deposit and that the vehicle will be taken off the market. The dealer said the price of the car £5,990 and the road fund license £130 is all I will need to pay (minus the £500 deposit) if I decide not to accept the dealer accessories (smart-guard £299, warranty & insurance £587) all of which are included in the balance to pay and shown on the vehicle order documents. For a contract to be legally binding, doesn't all details on the paper have to be correct? My address on the papers is incorrect.

    • Hi Morris. Yes, you should be able to get your money back and walk away if you want to, but a dealer is not going to reopen price negotiations because of paperwork errors. If you want them to correct your address then fine, but it doesn't give you an excuse to knock a few hundred quid off the price.

      With regard to the body repairs, MOT advisories and service history, these are things you should have checked before signing the contract. If you were not happy with any of these points, or wanted to use them as a lever for negotiating the price, then you should have done that before putting pen to paper. Once you have signed it, you can't suddenly offer them less money.

      If you don't want the smartguard & warranty bits, and you made that clear, then they should not have been listed on the contract and you can ask for it to be redrafted without those items. If you said yes to them but have now changed your mind, you will need to inform them of that very clearly and in writing before they apply the smartguard stuff or else you'll be stuck with it.

  70. Hi Stuart my girlfriend was looking to buy a seat Ibiza 5 door finally found one and it was 60 miles away obviously wanted to go down the next day and see the carso I phoned up the company and you know as they are they couldn't be more happier to help as they are and they said if you would like because it's just come in and it may move quick we can put a 50 pound fully refundable deposit down then it's off sale just until you get here and then he gave an example of one that happened not long ago where they travelled a considerable distance and the car was gone I thought he said fully refundable when we get there and that's that so went to see the car the following day and and were umming and awwing about it and they said we will ring you tomorrow nothing was signed we went out for a test drive but that's all he the phoned up the next day and said there is no spare key and unearthed some things that killed the deal and we asked for a refund and he is now telling us we can't have it back. Can you please shed some light on if I have been conned or if they are in the wrong please Stuart

  71. Hi, I have recently put a deposit down on a mercedes, signed the order form and paid £500 deposit. 2 days later I have received a call from them to say my finance has been approved but the car has sold. They told me that when I put my deposit down that the car had been secured. But are now offering me a different car which I do not want. Not sure where I stand just wondering if I had a legal right ? Thanks

    • Hi Georgea. Unfortunately, if the car has gone then there's not much you can do about it. There may be a legitimate reason or it may be that they have been entirely deceitful with you, but ultimately you're not going to get that car back again. However, they can't force you to take another car and you should definitely get your deposit back.

  72. I paid a £200 deposit on a Ford Focus and when i went to pick the car up i was very disappointed as the rear bumper looked like it had been painted with a paint brush and the wheels were corroded. The car was very tatty but the pictures that were on the website looked really good hence why i put the deposit down. The salesman assured me the car was perfect and i would be pleased but far from it. He said if i wasnt happy and there was things wrong he would give me my deposit back. He refused point blank to give it me back, he came up with a solution of knocking £50 off the car which then i argued wouldn't cover the cost of having the bumper resprayed and the wheels refurbished. He said "tough" take £50 off or walk away. He was getting quite nasty towards me and there was no reasoning with him so me and my partner walked away. We traveled from BATH to LIVERPOOL to get this car, and the whole experience has cost us a fortune, he lied to me after i trusted him.

    • Hi Jo. You are perfectly entitled to your £200 deposit back, as explained above. Unfortunately it sounds like you are going to have to fight for it, even though it is your legal right, and the dealer will be hoping that you decide it’s all too hard and give up.

      The principle by which you can have your deposit back is ‘distance selling’, as it’s an open-and-shut case. Getting into arguments about the car’s condition vs. its appearance in an online ad is not necessary and difficult to win anyway.

      For your next attempt to find your perfect car, check out The Car Expert’s 10 Golden Rules of buying a car.

  73. Hi Stuart,

    I have recently put a deposit on a second hand car at the local dealers. Shortly before this, during the test drive, I've noticed an unusual noise coming from underneath the car. I questioned the salesman about it and he said they were aware of this and the noise was caused by faulty wheel bearings (and to be fair it did sound like this could be the cause). He also said they would fix it before I come to collect the car which was OK with me. I signed the deposit receipt which contained a clause saying that the deposit is non-refundable and that I will also be liable for any costs incurred by the dealer in order to prepare my car for sale if I changed my mind. I really liked the car and wasn't bothered about the wheel bearings, however, the following day the dealer phoned me to say that on inspection they found out that the noise was caused by faulty bearings in the gearbox and not in the wheel. When I tried to back off, he stated they will fix it and give me a warranty on the job. I said 'fine' but now I doubt if I should actually buy this car. Am I right thinking that I am entitled to withdraw the agreement and to a full refund of the deposit based on the fact that I was given false/inaccurate information about the condition of the car? Well, there is a 'slight' difference between faulty wheel and a faulty gearbox…If he told me that it was the gearbox causing the noise when I first enquired about it, I would have never agreed to buy this car. Also, I am planning to take this car to the car diagnostic centre for a test before making a final decision. Would you say it's reasonable to expect the dealer to agree to this considering the circumstances? I would be most grateful for your opinion. Thank you.

    • Hi Anna. To be fair to the salesman, I wouldn't expect him to know the difference between a wheel bearing noise and a gearbox bearing noise – that's why dealerships have technicians in workshops. If they repair the gearbox satisfactorily, there should be no problem with the car.

      Yes, you can probably argue that the problem was not as described, and use it as an excuse to cancel the contract and walk away. But there's not much more the dealer can do than fix the issue and offer a warranty.

      The dealer should have no problem with a professional inspection of the vehicle, but they may not allow the car to be taken away from their premises to do so (since they won't have your money, they are unlikely to let you or anyone else drive off in the car). Most dealers are happy to have an AA/RAC-style inspection on their premises, and will usually make workshop space available (with notice) if the technician needs to look underneath the car and can't achieve this on his portable stands. Obviously you will need to pay for the inspection yourself.

    • Hi Stuart,
      Thank you for the prompt reply. I find this blog very informative and I appreciate your commitment to addressing all the issues. All you said make sense and I have to give the dealer credit for admitting that the fault was much more serious than anticipated, however, how satisfactory this repair is going to be that's another story…

      As a side note, I might be wrong but my view based on my own experience as a seller is, that although the salesman might not be able to tell the difference between faulty wheel and a faulty gearbox, he also represents the company specialized in selling cars, and since he is a designated person deemed competent to give advice and opinion on the goods this company sells, his responsibility should apply not only to pointing out the advantages and good points of the vehicle but also to provide accurate information about its faults if questioned by the buyer. If he lacks the knowledge about the nature of the faults, he should then refrain from giving any information, which can later turn out inaccurate and, just as it happened to me, lead the buyer to make an uninformed purchase.

      Thank you again for you advice.

  74. Hi, My boyfriend bought a car from a small independant dealer 2 days ago, it was fine when we test drove it and was fine on the way home, but on a shopping trip later that same day the engine light came on, after taking it to a garage we found out the spark plug had gone, simple snd cheap to fix however the garage thinks it went because hot oil landed on it which could mean a hefty repair bill if this continues to happen (around half the cars value!) Can I take it back for a refund? Unsure if this could of been noticed and previously tempory repaired ( a new spark plug) by the previous owner or dealer.

    • Hi Jess. If you are looking to return the car as being 'not fit for sale', you will need to have more than just the word of another garage. If you have a concern with the car, your first step should be to take it up with the selling dealer. Unless you have signed away your rights, you should have some kind of warranty on the vehicle, even if it's only for 30 days. If you have a recurring problem that the dealer will not acknowledge or is unable to fix, then you have recourse to take action elsewhere.

      It's quite possibly fine, and was just a faulty spark plug. Unless you have further problems, you don't currently have any real grounds to try and return the car.

  75. Hi Stuart

    I wonder if you could advise. I ordered my car from a Ford dealership after initially seeing a Focus I wanted and agreeing a 1000 discount on their ticket price (they agreed a price match from another garage and were prepared to sell me a cheap run around until my order was made, which swayed me). I then noticed the C-Max and was told that it was £1200 more expensive.. which given I liked it more I thought it was worth it.

    I later found out the Focus and C-max are the same price, and instead of telling me at the time that she wouldn't do the discount on the C-Max I was lead to believe it was a more expensive car. It basically had me signing the contract and handing over a 1000 deposit. Had she said, 'I can't do you the price match on this, she didn't she led me to believe I was getting an intrinsically better car.'… now I want to cancel and it seems I can't, only I feel really mislead.

    Do you know if there's a best way of going about approaching the garage?

    Many thanks

    • Hi Janice. I think it will be difficult for you to show that you have been misled unless there is some solid paperwork to back you up. There is no obligation for a dealer to discount any car unless it is an advertised offer, and any deal that a dealer is prepared to do will depend on the car you are buying. Unless you specifically ask for a discount or to match another dealer's price, they are not going to offer it. Whilst you did that on the Focus, at the point you switch your interest from one car to another, the negotiations start again. If you didn't present a C-Max price from another garage, they are not going to volunteer to check other people's prices for you.

      If all you can offer is a contention that the salesperson has verbally misled you, it is a difficult argument to win – she could easily recall the discussion very differently, and even if she is lying through her teeth, there's not a lot you can do. All you have is a written contract that you freely signed.

  76. Hi. I put a deposit on a car and signed the order form to get the car moved over to that dealer.we were due to pay for the car and collect on the Friday however due to unforeseen circumstances we were unable to go ahead with the purchase. I have now received a V5 in my name for the vehicle so I have been the registered keeper for 2 weeks without having the car. When I asked them why this was and that I hadn't signed as a new keeper they said they did it all online so they could tax the car for us. They have now sold the car and need the v5 back from me! Is this common practice and surely they've added an extra previous keeper to the vehicle?


    • Hi Stacie. Yes, they probably have added another keeper to the vehicle's ownership history. Sounds like an admin screw-up. By the sound of it, you were able to cancel your purchase without too much trouble, which is good news.

  77. Hi, I put a deposit down on a new car (£250) on a Friday (It's now Wednesday morning) over the phone with my VISA Debit card but have NOT signed any documents. I have now changed my mind, so I phoned the dealer this morning to ask for my deposit back and they a said that I would have to forfeit this. What rights do I have now to getting this back?

    • Hi Nicholas. As the article states, you are entitled to your money back. You can quote the regulations listed above and the consumer contract regulations (which used to be known as Distance Selling). In addition, they don't have a valid contract so they can't hold your money. You should have insisted on an emailed confirmation and receipt when you paid the money on Friday, but that should't affect your right to your money back.

  78. Hi stuart, Yesterday I visited a car Trade dealership company and I like a car which is used and only 5 years old, I paid £4000 full price for the car and was given a sales invoice but nothing to sign, I was told that I cant drive away with it as the cars was due for its service and m.o.t and that once its done I can collect the next day. When the next day came I called to see if the car was ready and then I was told how the car failed m.o.t due to bushes/suspension and that they have ordered parts to have it repaired and will contact me back. Because of this I started to question the fact of how they can have the car up for sale in the 1st place and take my £5000 if the car needed service and m.o.t? However I also demanded I have a copy of the vehicles inspection report as failing mot made me have doubts about the car mechanically and its history, they have not provided me with one. Therefore I have changed my mind and I want my money back. I have not signed anything with them unless they think a hand shake is binding? what are my rights, I await your reply

    • Hi Ess. If they gave you an invoice and you paid it, then you’ve bought a car. A contract is an agreement to buy a car at a future date, and stipulates how much money you owe over and above your initial deposit, what your part-exchange is worth and any conditions to the sale (eg – you negotiate a service, a full tank of fuel and some floor mats to be included in the price). You have negated the need for the contract by simply buying the car on the spot, like any other retailer – Sainsbury’s don’t fill out a contract when you buy a pint of milk. Theoretically, if you didn’t have a contract stating that the seller would undertake the service and MOT test, they could have simply told you to bring a trailer and collect it as is.

      Inspection reports, service history, V5 logbook and MOT reports are all things you should be asking to see before handing over your money or signing a form – failing to provide them now doesn’t change the fact that you have bought the car. Have a read of our article of the Ten Golden Rules for buying a car.

  79. Hi Stuart I bought a car yesterday at an Audi dealership. I initially went to get an SUV and rushed into buying as the price was good and they had a great finance deal on it. Overnight I changed my mind as I am used to driving SUVs and now am not feeling comfortable with getting the car. I have signed the paperwork and paid £500 deposit. Can I change my mind and not take the car.

    • Hi Pamela. If you are prepared to buy an SUV from the same dealership, they will probably be happy to help you and you will not lose your deposit. If you want to go elsewhere and buy a different car, they are not likely to be quite so charitable and you may well have to forego your £500 down payment.

      Either way, you should definitely get in touch with the dealer ASAP to let them know that you do not wish to go ahead with the purchase of this vehicle. This will ensure they don't start any work in preparing the car and/or your order (invoicing, finance applications, etc – there is a tonne of paperwork) which could potentially entitle them to claim costs from you or used as an excuse to retain your £500. A phone call followed up by written confirmation (email is fine) at your earliest possibility is what you need to do.

  80. Hi – I need your help – I bought a used BMW from a car dealer via HP finance – The dealer promised me warranty and service however the dealer has now vanished! i made a case with my fiance company but all they say is they will give me 50quid! – i told them i would of never taken the car without 12 month warranty as without this saftey net i cannot afford a repair! The fiance company logo was plastered every where in the showroom and they told me MOTONOVA was backing them – 2 month on im still in complaint letters – Where do i stand? can i return the car? please help!

    • Presumably it wasn't a BMW dealer, as their warranty program is factory-backed and can be handled by any BMW dealership. Therefore, I am assuming it is an aftermarket warranty.

      The dealer would have bought a warranty from an aftermarket warranty provider, and should have given you all the details because there would be a specific claim process. If you don't have this paperwork, then it was possibly never set up at all.

      With the garage having closed, you have almost certainly lost your warranty, and have definitely lost your free service. The finance company is an entirely separate organisation who have simply paid the dealer for the car when you bought it, so they are not going to be at all interested in getting involved.

  81. Hi Stuart, I have ordered a Jeep Renegade in February 2015 via Pcp and put down a £1000 deposit. It's nearly 6 months now and no car, I have spoken to head office and there is no loan car no compensation and no information what is happening to my new car order and a very insincere apology from the manager I spoke to. Very unhappy right now. The car was promised in 12 weeks and then after that was promised in July. No show! Under these circumstances of not providing me with anything am I able to cancel my order and receive my deposit back?
    Much thanks on your help on this.


    • Hi David. Your new car contract should have a set of terms and conditions which sets out your rights in this matter. In short, it should say that if the dealership cannot supply the car within 28 days of the date indicated, you can walk away and get your money back.

  82. My partner and I went to view a car and now my partner gave her bank card details over the phone for a deposit. The money hasn't gone out of her bank account yet, however we've spotted a better deal and so I no longer wish to continue with the deposit. We didn't sign any papers, but I'm concerned she gave her bank details and that might cause problems. What can you advise?

    • Hi Michael. If you have not signed a contract, they can't hold your money. Make sure you indicate your intentions clearly in writing, and also make it clear that you expect them to destroy your credit card details. They are required to do this anyway, and it's no guarantee that they won't try and process your deposit, but it's all you can do.

  83. Hi Stuart. Yesterday I signed a "Used Vehicle Invoice" agreeing to purchase a second hand car for £995, paying an £85 deposit – with the dealer agreeing to give it a full 12 month MOT service and that it would have to be paid in cash as their card reader didn't work. Went home, and two hours later got a call from the dealer saying the valeter made a mistake and the car was actually £1195 – I can either pay that or get my deposit back instead. I opted for the deposit. 30 minutes later they called again and said they were sorry it's their mistake and will give me the car at the agreed price of £995 – but the garage they use for M.O.T services is currently closed for a week, and said I can take the car but take it back a few weeks later for it's 12 month M.O.T – I'm going back tomorrow and a bit unsure if I should pay and take the car without having it's full 12 month M.O.T? Thank you.

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

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

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

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

  84. Stuart,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  88. Hi Stuart,

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

  89. Hi Stuart,

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

  95. Hi Stuart,

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

    Many thanks,

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

    • Stuart,

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

      Many thanks,

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

    Many Thnks

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

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

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

    • Hi Daniel. It is probably an automated email.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Hopefully you will be able to get it resolved.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Many thanks

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

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

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

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

  107. Hi Stuart

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hi,

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

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

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

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

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

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

      Lesson Learnt

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

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

  110. Hi Stuart,

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

    Any advice?

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

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

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

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

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

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

  113. Hi Stuart,

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

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

    Will I be covered by the Consumer Contract Regulations?

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

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

    Many thanks.


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

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

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

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

    All help greatly appreciated.


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

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



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

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

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

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

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

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

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

  118. Hi Stuart.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    • Hi again Stuart.

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

      Thankyou once again.

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

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

    Many thanks

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

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

    many thanks .

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

  121. Hi Stuart

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

    Any advice etc would be very much appreciated.


    • Dear Stuart

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

      I am deeply indebted and grateful for the service you provide

      Wishing you the very best

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

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.


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

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

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

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

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

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

  125. Hello Stuart

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

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

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

    • 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.

  126. 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.

    • 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.

  127. 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


    • 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.

  128. 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.

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

  129. 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

    • 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.

  130. 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.

    • 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…

  131. 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,


    • 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.

    • 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.

  132. 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”

    • 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.

    • 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

  133. 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.

    • 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.

  134. 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.

    • 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.

  135. 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.

    • 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.

  136. 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?


    • 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.

  137. 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?

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • 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.

  138. 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.

    • 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.

  139. 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?



    • 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.

  140. 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.


  141. 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.


  142. 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.

    • 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.

  143. 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?

    • 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.

  144. 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

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

  145. 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?

    • 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.

  146. 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

    • 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.

  147. 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?


    • 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.

  148. 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?


    • 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.

  149. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

    • 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!

    • 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.

  150. 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

    • 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.

  151. 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

    • 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.

  152. 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?


    • 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.

  153. 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

    • 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.

  154. 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


  155. 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


    • 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.

  156. 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?

  157. 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.

    • 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.

  158. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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!

  159. 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


    • 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.

    • 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.

  160. 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?

  161. 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.

    • 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.

  162. 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.

    • 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.

  163. 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?



    • 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).

  164. 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

  165. 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

  166. 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

    • 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.

  167. 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

    • 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.

  168. 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?

    • 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.

  169. 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?

    • 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.

  170. 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.

    • 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.

  171. 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.



    • 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?

    • 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.

  172. 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).

    • 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.

  173. 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.

    • 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.

  174. 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.

    • 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.

  175. 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.

    • 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.

    • 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

  176. 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

    • 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.

  177. 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?

    • 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.

  178. 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?

    • 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.

  179. 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.

    • 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?

  180. 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.

    • 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.

  181. 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

    • 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.

  182. 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

    • 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.

  183. 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.

    • 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.

  184. 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).

  185. 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 .

  186. 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……

    • 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.

  187. 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.

    • 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.