car buying header

Car buying advice

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?

- Advertisement -

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.

Stuart Masson
Stuart Masson
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.

Latest from The Car Expert

Expert Advice

Award-winning, independent and impartial advice on buying, financing, owning and running a car

How much are the loyalty penalties for car insurance?

Loyal home and car insurance customers could find themselves paying significantly more than new customers, the City regulator has found.

The best new estate cars for every budget

Estate cars have lost popularity against SUVs, but they may be a better bet for many families. We look at some of the best on sale right now.

Expert Ratings

We analyse and aggregate dozens of media reviews for each new car into an overall Expert Rating

Mercedes-Benz GLB

The Mercedes-Benz GLB has an Expert Rating that ranks it in the middle of the mid-sized SUV field, although its seven-seat option is a plus.

Audi A3

The Audi A3 range has been praised for its refinement and improved driving dynamics, but criticised for a clunky touchscreen interior.

Expert News

The latest news from all the major car brands and across the automotive industry

The Car Expert is moving on up

The Car Expert is pleased to announce the appointment of Lee Williams from Digital Warrior as Board Advisor.

Britain’s best-selling cars, August 2020

August is generally the calm before the September storm, but these ten models led the way in new car registrations.


  1. 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.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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,

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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.

  10. 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.

  11. 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 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.

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

    • 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.

  13. 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.

  14. 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.

  15. 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.

  16. 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.

  17. 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.

  18. 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.

  19. 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.

  20. 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.

  21. 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.

  22. 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.

  23. 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.

  24. 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.

  25. 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.

  26. 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.

  27. 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.

  28. 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.

  29. 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

  30. 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.

  31. 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.

  32. 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.

  33. 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.

  34. 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.

  35. 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.

  36. 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).

  37. 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, 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.

  38. 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.

  39. 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.

  40. 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 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.

  41. 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…

  42. 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.

  43. 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!

  44. 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.

  45. 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.

  46. 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

  47. 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.

  48. 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.

  49. 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.

  50. 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.

  51. 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.

  52. 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.

  53. 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.

  54. 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?

  55. 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.

  56. 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…

  57. 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).

  58. 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.

  59. 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.

  60. 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

  61. 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.

  62. 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!


  63. 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.

  64. 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.

  65. 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.

  66. 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.

  67. 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.



  68. 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?


  69. 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.

  70. 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.

  71. 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.

  72. 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.

  73. 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.

  74. 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.

  75. 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

  76. 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.

  77. 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.

  78. 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.

  79. 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.

  80. 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!

  81. 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.

  82. 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 :)

  83. 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

  84. 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.

  85. 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.

  86. 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.

  87. 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.

  88. 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.

  89. 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…

  90. 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.

  91. 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?

  92. 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.

  93. 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.

  94. 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.

  95. 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.

  96. 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.

  97. 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.

    • 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.

  98. 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.

What are your thoughts? Let us know below.