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Is my deposit refundable?

Can you get your money back if the sale doesn't go ahead as planned? It depends...

We get a lot of questions on our forum and in the comments sections of our articles from car buyers who have given a car dealer a deposit for a car and now – for whatever reason – want it back.

Quite often, buyers will be told that a deposit is refundable if they change their mind, only to subsequently change their minds and be told they can’t have their deposit back after all.

Usually, there is no legal right for you to change your mind after buying a car from a dealer. There are no grounds to terminate the contract on medical grounds, compassionate grounds, loss of job or anything else. Once you hand over your cash, it’s gone.

Trying to get your deposit back again involves negotiating the agreement of the dealer to refund your money, and is usually entirely up to them to decide to do so or not.

It should be noted that there are legal arguments about how much deposit a dealer is entitled to keep based on their reasonable costs and losses of income from a cancelled order. However, if it gets to the point where you are taking the dealer to court to argue about getting some or all of your deposit back, you are probably spending much more than whatever the deposit was anyway.

So what are the rules regarding deposits and when should you be able to have your deposit refunded?

When is a deposit not really a deposit?

The first problem is the word itself. Many people think of a deposit as a refundable bond or temporary holding payment, but in car sales that isn’t generally true. When you give a car dealer a deposit, it is considered an upfront or initial payment on a car. As a rule, it is not refundable unless specific circumstances apply.

When buying a car from a dealership, the dealer will want two things: a signed contract and/or a deposit. Having both is better, but one or the other will do if necessary to consider a car sold. If you sign an order form or give a car dealer a deposit on a vehicle, you are buying that car. The deposit is a form of security to hold the car until you are ready to pay the rest of the money and collect the vehicle. If you change your mind, you lose the deposit. Simple enough in most cases.

This is entirely fair enough. Car dealers exist to sell cars. If you walk in and say “I want to buy this car right here”, but you are not prepared to sign an order form and are not prepared to put down a deposit, then you’re not serious about buying the car.

A dealer is not going to hold that car for you without some kind of guarantee that you are actually going to come back with the rest of the money. A signed order is nice, but if you try to back out of it then there’s not a lot they can do unless they want to take you to court. So they take a deposit – the amount may vary, but it has to be significant enough that you won’t simply vanish if you change your mind. You will want that money back and they will be able to either fight you for it or use it as an opportunity to keep you from cancelling your order.

Taking a deposit is also a tactical ploy from the salesperson. Once you have pulled out your wallet, you are making a psychological commitment to buying that car and you are less likely to change your mind or keep looking around for a better deal.

Giving a car dealer a cash deposit on a car

But the salesman told me that my deposit was refundable!

If a dealer tells you that a deposit is fully refundable if you change your mind, do not believe them unless they are prepared to put that in writing. This means getting them to email you to spell out the conditions for refunding your deposit, and/or noting on your receipt (always get a receipt) to say that the money paid is refundable if you choose not to continue with the purchase.

Most dealers will not be prepared to put the above in writing. Why not? Because deposits are not usually refundable unless it is the dealer who is cancelling the order.

Always remember that a verbal promise from a car dealer is worth nothing. If someone promises you something, get it in writing in an official document (email is fine, as it will show sender, email address and date) or else the promise does not really exist. It’s Rule Eight of our Ten Golden Rules.

So when is a deposit refundable?

Generally, there is no cooling-off period when you buy a car from a dealership. If you visit the dealer and buy a car that you have seen at the dealership, even if the actual sale takes place off-premises, then you have bought that car and there is no legal basis to cancel your order and get your deposit back.

However, if the entirety of the sale takes place off-premises (so you are buying a car without ever visiting the dealership), then you have 14 days to change your mind – even after paying for the car and taking delivery. In this case, you are entitled to a full refund of any monies paid (some conditions do apply, though).

If the dealer cancels the order for whatever reason, such as the car no longer being available (it happens a lot, particularly in large multi-site operations), then you are entitled to your money back.

If the contract is voided for any reason, such as the factory not being able to supply the vehicle (production may have ended or halted, or the specification may have changed), then you are entitled to have your deposit back and are not obliged to take another vehicle.

If your finance application is declined, most dealers will refund your deposit without question. Technically, they could hold you to the contract and oblige you to find funding elsewhere, but in reality this doesn’t normally happen and you can get your money back.

Never give a car dealer money unless you are 100% comfortable with buying the car

This is one of The Car Expert’s Ten Golden Rules of buying a car. Only hand over your cash or credit card once you are completely comfortable with buying that exact car for that exact amount of money (whether cash or finance).

If you’re still hoping to get a better deal, or you’re not sure about your job circumstances, or you’re not fully convinced about the colour, or you haven’t discussed it with your significant other or your accountant, or any other reason at all, then don’t put a deposit down on the car. It is always much more hassle to get your money back again than it is to not spend it in the first place.

This article was originally published in August 2016. Last updated August 2019.

Stuart Massonhttps://www.thecarexpert.co.uk/
Stuart is the Editorial Director of our suite of sites: The Car Expert, The Van Expert and The Truck Expert. Originally from Australia, Stuart has had a passion for cars and the automotive industry for over thirty years. He spent a decade in automotive retail, and now works tirelessly to help car buyers by providing independent and impartial advice.


  1. This car dealership took a 1000 dollars from and over talked me with a 250 a week for weeks to finish the down-payment. Then for only a 2yr contract the payments would be 125 a Week. This was Friday and do to the holiday I was not able to return to the dealership. This whole time not ever gaining possession of the vehicle or copies of any paperwork. Calmly going there today to let them know that as a single woman the way they do business would not be in my best interest. THEY REFUSED TO GIVE ME THE MONEY THEY TOOK FOR A CAR I NEVER EVEN DROVE!!! PLEASE HELP ME AND WHERE I stand in this. I was taken advantage of and with a repossession less than 2months prior. Relocated and living with family this dealership took everything I had

  2. Hello. About two weeks ago I found a used car in some salesman in Chester. I’m from Coventry. So the salesman asked me to pay the deposit which will be deducted from total price. Nothing more. No contract no info that I will loose my deposit if I will not buy this car. So I drive to Chester check the car and because there was plenty of thinks that did not work in this car I decide not to buy (in the advert there was no information about staff that is not working like for eg parking sensor or AC) I asked for my deposit back and recive info that because he lost other potential clients (which is not true and I do have witness about it as I was trying to negotiate the final price , the salesman said to me that he will not drop even 10 £ as he already have got 5 other clients interested about this car, so I resign ) the deposit is his. Any help ??????

  3. I have looked a car by a dealers online , discussed, deposited £250 by bank transfer and at delivery balance will be paid never seen the car physically nor visit dealers shop ;nor formal contract signed or agreed with was verbal and text messages less than 12 hours after I Changed my mind due my insurance company will not cover the car as normal due to the Car was Cat-s. Honestly speaking it was declared by dealer but I really did not knew what cat-s means it was after I paid deposit,immediately contacted the dealer to discuss my withdraw and promised refund doposit ,I was very happy as the sale man asked for my account details and promised will get full refund by end of the day.waited no refund,contacted them again ,he again said refund will be receive in 24 hours after 24 hours still no signs of refund ,again phoned and saleperson said to me I can only get part of my refund .(£140).at the beginning I specifically asked on what condition I can lose the deposit,he advised that I can not change my mind after the car is delivered the sale person.

    Quote However, if the entirety of the sale takes place off-premises (so you are buying a car without ever visiting the dealership), then you have 14 days to change your mind – even after paying for the car and taking delivery. In this case, you are entitled to a full refund of any monies paid (some conditions do apply, though). Does these condition apply in my case. Please help Expert.

  4. Hello ,
    I have looked a car by a dealers online , discussed, deposited £250 by bank transfer and at delivery balance will be paid never seen the car physically nor visit dealers shop.less than 12 hours after I Changed my mind due my insurance company will not cover the car as normal due to the Car was Cat-s. Honestly speaking I really did not knew what cat-s means it was after I paid deposit,immediately contacted the dealer to discuss refund doposit ,I was very happy as the sale man asked for my account details and promised will get full refund by end of the day.waited no refund,contacted them again ,he again said refund will be receive in 24 hours after 24 hours still no signs of refund ,again phoned and saleperson said to me I can only get part of my refund .(£140).at the beginning I specifically asked on what condition I can lose the deposit,he advised that I can not change my mind after the car is delivered the sale person. Any legal grand here

  5. Hi Stuart

    On Saturday evening I went to see a mini countryman, I put down a deposit of £200 and was assured that if anything went wrong I could have my deposit back, on further investigation I have discovered that there is a discrepancy in the mileage, in September 2018 the mileage at MOT was just over 60,000 however in September 2019 it was 47,000 a minus of over 14,000 and this being if the car had not been driven for a year (which is unlikely), so potentially the mileage could be approx 30,000 more then originally stated bringing the current mileage to over 100,000 miles, this has left me with much concern and no confidence in the car and the car not as advertised, am I entitled to my deposit back?

    Brenda Derby

  6. Hi
    We have just been and signed for a car that we liked on Monday 17th August 2020. We had a few issues with it but the garage where happy to help in fixing them.
    We signed and paid a £1000 deposit and went away waiting on theire call saying the car was ready.
    Wednesday 19th August I find out the car has been in a accident and have proof with photos.
    Up on this evidence I contacted the garage informing them of the issue but they are saying they don’t recognise the v check UK website that I used to find the evidence and we have signed a legal binding document and the deal still remains.
    The garage then claim they need time to investigate but the proof is in the check that we did which they have a copy of.
    At this point we find out that our finance company has also rejected our finance for the particularly vehicle in question as they have found issues too.
    Where do I stand in getting my deposit back as I feel the garage is holding onto our money longer that necessary and keep saying I’m harassing them with multiple texts and email regarding the deposit and it’s taking them time to contact the necessary people.

  7. However, if the entirety of the sale takes place off-premises (so you are buying a car without ever visiting the dealership), then you have 14 days to change your mind – even after paying for the car and taking delivery. In this case, you are entitled to a full refund of any monies paid (some conditions do apply, though).

    Can you please specify what the conditions are?

    • Hi Steven. If the dealer has given you a document outlining the T&Cs of their off-premises sales before the sale, it may outline any costs associated with having the dealer collect the car or charging you for mileage. And obviosuly the car needs to be in the same condition as when you bought it, so the dealer is entitled to charge you for any damages.

  8. Hello, my name is Vincent, 2 years ago I bought a car hp still under finance, the value it was 14400£, they asked me for a deposit of 1000£ and I paid 2000£. When I receved the statement of payments I noticed that they put the interest first on the value of 14400£ and after that considered 2000£ as a first payment. In my opinion should be 14400£ – 2000£ = 12400£ for this money they should do the interest calculation. The deposit of 2000£ it was payed by card when I signed the contract and took the car. Am I wright or wrong please? In case if I’m wright what can I do? Thank you

    • Hi Vincent. It would depend on what your contract said when you signed it. If you didn’t read the contract carefully and have only just notice this two years later, there’s very little chance the finance company will make any attempt to alter it.

  9. Hello Stuart.

    I saw a car for sale in the auto trader and decided to call the number and make an offer to the seller. My price was agreed but when I tried to get some insurance quotes, I realised I couldn’t afford the car. The next day I called the seller and told him I couldn’t afford the car because of my insurance quote on it. He then said “how much do you want to pay?” I gave him a price and he came in with £50 more but I couldn’t manage that, so he agreed to my price. That same day, I went down to view the car and I liked it so I said ok i’ll take it. The seller asked for £300 deposit and said it was non refundable. I wanted the car so that wasn’t a problem. I was given a receipt of the outstanding balance. when I called the next day to arrange to pay the outstanding balance and pick the car up, the seller said there was an admin fee of £395. I was not aware of this admin fee and I can’t afford to pay it. can I get my deposit back because even though I see it did say 395 admin later in the ad amongst the description that I didn’t notice when he told me. It was put in the ad without a pound sign £ and without the word fee in and he never mentioned anything about it on the final price when I gave him the £300 pound deposit at any point whatsoever. Could you tell me my rights because i’m unemployed and £300 is a lot to lose even though it’s not my fault because I wasn’t told about the admin fee. I did not sigh anything and I was given a signed receipt with the balance I knew I had left to pay. There was no mention of an admin fee.
    I would appreciate any advice on this please.

    • If you don’t have a contract, it makes things difficult. However, if you have a receipt that shows a balance owing without including the admin fee, you can certainly argue that you don’t have to pay it.

  10. Hello Stuart,
    I put down a deposit with a UK dealer (I’m based in Ireland) and I intend to travel and pick up the car once finance is approved.
    As this is entirely an off-premise sale, do I still have the right to withdraw within 14 days of paying the deposit (without losing it), whether or not finance is approved and without providing a reason?
    Once I set foot in their premise, do I lose the right to withdraw or negotiate the price? I’m worried whether I might have to buy a car if I don’t like it. The dealer can of course always argue that “there’s nothing wrong with the car, it drives just fine”.

    • Hi

      I agreed a purchase form a dealership in mid march. I was advise upto 28 days for delivery. Obviously since then life has changed a great deal but now 60 + days on I still don’t have the vehicle and haven’t been given an ETA. I have written to the company and advised them that if the cannot supply the goods within 7 days that I will consider them to have breached the agreement and will expect them to refund my deposit due to being unable to supply the agreed car. Would you agree that it would be incumbent on the dealer to refund my deposit?

    • Hi Helen,

      The recent dealership closures due to the coronavirus pandemic don’t alter your consumer rights. If the dealership cannot deliver the car by the date specified in your contract (which usually specifies 28 days of leeway), then you are entitled to cancel the contract and get your money back. They won’t like it, but it’s your right.

  11. Hi Stuart my son put 200 on a deposit for a second hand car at a dealers the week of Christmas but he cannot get finance the dealers have said because they have mot the car he cannot have his deposit back is this true only he can’t afford to just lose 200

  12. Hi Stuart

    Thanks for your very helpful insights. If only i had stumbled upon them a few weeks earlier.

    So i walked into a dealership inquiring about a car. A salesman got me interested in one of their cars and suggested we have a go at applying for finance and see what sort interest rates i would come up with. He suggested i put down a deposit to keep the monthly payments and interest low. I agreed to put down a £1500 deposit. It was nearing the end of the business day and he said his finance people would only get back to him the next day.

    I signed some paperwork and left. However due to the nature of my work i had to travel the next day and would only be back in 3 weeks, i explained this to him and he was happy to keep the car for me till i came back he said.
    During this time a couple of things happened. The finance deal came back with a higher interest rate than we both expected, and i told him i would have to think about things. Whilst i was away he called and and left a voice message on my phone telling me the car in question had now been sold as i had delayed in making up my mind. He asked if i would be interested in a different car instead. He then followed through by sending a series of emails of the different car models they had in stock at the branch. Unfortunately none of them interested me.

    After 3 weeks i finally decided to request for my deposit and i had no luck in speaking to any of the sales men on phone, till i finally emailed the Sales Manager.

    He told me he was only prepared to give me a £1000 and not the full £1500.

    Now i know, walked into the branch and handed over the deposit willingly but the car i put the deposit on was sold. And i could not settle for any of the alternative models available.

    Is there a slightest chance i could recover my full deposit owing the above circumstances?



  13. Hi Stuart

    I put a deposit on a new car last weekend, there was a slight issue getting finance which has now been resolved. But the deal ship says they have sold the car I ordered to someone else. Can they do this?



  14. I have call the dealership and asked for my deposit back when they are refusing to do so.
    Please could you advise on what to do next to enable me getting my deposit back from them please?
    Your help will be highly appreciated.
    Thank you

  15. Hi Stuart

    Thank you for your swift response, it is highly appreciated.
    The dealer has agreed to meet me in Cardiff in the end, next month.
    However, if I decide to not go ahead with the sale at all now, can I get my £ 1000 deposit back please?
    It has been more than three weeks now since they’ve taken the car from sale and safe keeping it for me..
    I did not sign any finance agreements or any other agreements and I have never seen the car in person, test drive it and have never put my foot on their forecourt, would I be able to get my £ 1000 deposit back please?
    I’m also getting extremely frustrated with the lack of response to my questions in regards to the car service history, multipoint inspection checks that I have asked to be carried out before taking ownership of the vehicle.
    Will the dealer not kick up a fuss and refuse to refund my the deposit back please?
    Where do I stand on this legally please?
    I look forward to your response please.
    I’m very grateful for your advice, it is kindly appreciated.
    Thank you so much in advance.

    Kind regards


  16. Hi Stuart

    I wonder if you could advise on this.
    I have seen a car online ,Skoda approved dealership.
    I’ve requested a video of the car and then after receiving the video I have called the approved Skoda dealership to see if I can do a deal on the car that I like.
    We did agree on numbers and I have been asked to leave a non refundable deposit of £1000 which I did over the phone.
    I did not signed any contracts/finance agreements and it was advertised on their website for this car free delivery 100 miles so when asked the dealer about that he said yes that means I can bring it to Cardiff and collect from there to which I agree.
    I have explained the dealer that I wont be able to collect the car until I’ll be voluntary terminating my PCP agreement with Seat Financial services which I’ve already put the wheels in motion to voluntary terminate , the problem is that next appointment for British Car Auction to inspect and collect my car is on the 4th of November and I did book the inspection for the 4th of November.
    I have called the dealer and explain the circumstances and he said ,yeah no problem we will be keeping the car for you until you voluntary terminate and then you can collect the car.
    Yesterday I have called the car dealer to arrange to collect the car on the 8th of November from Cardiff as he told me before on the phone before giving him my £1000 deposit for the car .
    However, he then told me that I have to come to their office in North Wales to sign the finance agreement and they said they cannot deliver the car to Cardiff for me to collect from there next month.
    I repeat, I have not been to see the car nor test drive it and everything has been done on the phone, including taking £ 1000 from my card as deposit and to take the car off sale.
    I have give him the £1000 in good faith after he assured me he will come and meet me in Cardiff and I can collect the car from there.
    However now, they seem to be reluctant to do so and they’re expecting me to go on a train from London to Swansea and then from Swansea to North Wales to their office so I can sign the finance agreement, they’re insisting that I have to sign the finance agreement on their premises.
    I have told them that I find this very unreasonable for me to travel for more than 4 hours on trains especially when I’m just slowly recovering from a very bad sciatica that had been caused by my car seat in my Seat car that I m now voluntary terminate.
    They said they will get back to me today.
    The car has been off sale for two weeks now I think.
    Please could you be so kind and let me know where do I stand on this legally?
    If the’re adamant that I have to go to their office in North Wales to sign the paperwork and collect the car from there, is there any chance to not go ahead with this and will I’ll be entitled to get my £1000 back please just in case they don’t agree to meet me half way?
    Your help will be kindly appreciated.
    Thank you.

    Kind regards


    • Hi Val. Yes, you can cancel the purchase and get your £1,000 back as the sale was not made on the premises. The threat of this may be enough for them to change their minds and agree that you don’t have to go to North Wales after all.

  17. Hello Stuart,

    I have paid £1000 deposit to order a brand new car from a dealership. The car wasn’t build and I been told to wait 4 weeks to get the car build and delivered. Next day I paid the deposit, the dealership rang me to tell me the factory is late with production and it will take between 8 to 10 weeks before the delivery date. I have agreed to 10 weeks and stated in my email “please make sure the car is delivered in 10 weeks, I don’t want it to become 14,16, etc… weeks).

    Now the 10 weeks is over, the dealership added another 4 weeks, and again giving another estimate date of 15th October 2019 as delivery date blaming the factory for late production, totaling the time nearly to 16 weeks. When I ask to cancel the order I have been told I will loss my £1000 deposit if I cancel the order.

    Is there any rights for me here to get my deposit back based on the continues delay of the delivery?

    Many Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Sayed. Your sales contract should stipulate a 28-day grace period for the dealer to deliver the car beyond its originally advised delivery date. By the sound of it, you’re well past that now so you should be able to cancel your order and get your deposit back.

  18. Hi stuart i would first like to say, i am so grateful you have taken so much time out of your life to help people in these situations.. I already apologise in advance for the huge story i am about to write but the more info i can give, i hope the better the reply i might get.
    So where to start i bought a car for cash at £5.445 4 months ago from a dealership average price of the same car same circumstance were between 5000 an 5999.99 so it was valued half decent, i called to arrange a viewing, their response. Come down any time i also asked or their cars in good condition, at the time i was looking between 2 of their cars for sale, he said yes all our cars at the showroom “dealership” get full checks an or of top level used quality ect. I take the trip an when i get their i was very happy with its spec, no road tax to pay, low milage, fuel economy great. basically ticked all the boxes. I done the usual mot an service checks, then i checked the flagged issues worn tire and brakes. An still to my suprise the brakes were still bad. I didn’t quite find out how bad until i hit the motorway driving it home. loud squeaking clearly the pads have heated up. I call him the next day he states we don’t cover the brakes in our warranty, but we came to the decision due to me prior knowing the state of the brakes so i paid for new brakes front and back an we settled on a free m.o.t when it was due as an inconvenience ..

    So 4 months later, i do an insurance comparison, i ring the cheapest quote only to now find out the car has been registered cat D, so i get a lovely additional premium of an extra £850 compared to the previous year. So i get a little frustrated an immediately call the dealers, due to the time, i left a nice an formal voice mail an requested they call me an left my details.
    Next day no call back i waited until early afternoon whilst i spent 4 hours researching my case so i know where to stand.

    So i contacted the dealership, (Heres where it gets worse and am lost) spoken to the same guy who sold me the vehicle, he agree’s he knew nothing about the cat D. He asked if i can check log book” i already did an its clear just the recorded owners he asked check all paper work i did.. theirs the m.o.t papers, service book and the sales receipt, “i think this was a ploy to see if i had any paper work an not lost them an its the only thing tying me to them selling me the car” but due to research i also know Cat D doesn’t always show on log book, Cat C does. He fobs me off an tells me he will look into it and have the “after sales team contact me” later in the day.

    Next day comes “today” i ring him an say i’ve still not got a call. He then proceeds to give me a number for the after sales team, but requests that i only call it after 4 o’clock in the afternoon, claiming “The Guy” is busy.. (of course this seemed fishy) i was at my computer during this call, so as he recited the number i typed it into google search. I said thanks i’l let you know how i get on. i pressed enter on my keyboard an up pops a tyre repair place linked to that contact number, in the same area as the dealership.

    (Really fishy now) but i rang it to give them the benefit of the doubt an google might not be up to date. A guy answered not professionally in the slightest, like a casual person. I explained the car dealers asked me to call you. “also i called at half 3, curiosity, had me think are they deliberately delaying me” he has claimed he is an AFTER SALES TEAM MEMBER With evidence from an e-mail” he begins to state they have protocall to follow they want to find out what went wrong an why they didn’t get HPI Report properly on the car, he also tried to insinuate, i should get proof from my insurance it is cat D, i proceeded to explain the dealer had done one just yesterday to check, an it is confirmed cat D. He then began to say, well i still want to see your paper work, send me via e-mail your log book and receipt of purchase. As if to assume am making it all up or making a fake claim or i’m the scammer here an they’re the victims.

    I simply stated, “but this is all info to cover your claim on an alleged check on HPI that failed to tell yous when yous bought the vehicle, i want to know what you or going to do for me. He replies with, “i can’t offer you anything, without finding out why we sold it without listing it was cat D, who bought the car for the dealership an who we bought it from, when i have all the details, i will then speak to my boss an come up with a decision for you, i asked “an how longs that going to take”, his reply “i have loads to do, an you have only just reported this yesterday. I reply “your workload is not of my concern nor should it affect me as a consumer in any way” basically that’s your problem. I also made it clear i had only just been told by an insurance company, He then replied quite arrogantly “look just do as i have told you an send me those documents on email or i am not going to do anything for you”.

    Of course my 5 hours google law degree comes out. “I stated to him “why or you acting like you have a choice here?” The facts or simple you haven’t complied with the Consumer Rights Act 2015, which the trader falls foul of the ‘innocent misrepresentation’ clause of the Misdescriptions as he did Not declare all the history of the vehicle to the consumer prior to the sale of the vehicle and I should of been told verbally, that the car was involved in an accident, it is not enough alone for the dealer to claim an hpi check has been done, also a dealership trader must also inform me where and what damage was done. And if possible but not necessary on a Cat D to show me a certified document that the vehicle is safe for the road, incase more damage then claimed is their.

    Also a dealer would have to charge the appropriate price of the car, if indeed he declared it was a cat D. They didn’t they charged the average cost of the vehicle with the same spec,features ect with a none cat D status, an why cause they never knew about the cat D as previously confirmed by the same guy who sold it me. “So i will ask you again when an what decision, do you think your boss is looking at. “mostly because i believe they can contact him in 5 minutes on his mobile” he replies i will get back to you on Monday with an answer. Today is friday, he claims he won’t be working over weekend? But the dealership is open weekends.

    So my theory is the guy who sold me the car probably generally didn’t know it was cat D prior to sale, also i think the guy is pretending to be after sales, its more like the dealer, has put me onto the guy who purchased the car without checking it or declaring it for the guys at the dealership. I.E a CO worker for the dealership. I Also speculate that no mechanical check has been done on the car prior to listing for sale another naughty trick they must do now to comply with trading standards, due to the brakes had been in such poor condition, it is a car dealers fault clearly.

    Average outcome is take the car back, get full refund but its out of the 30 days but within the 6 months, so what i am expecting is come to a decision on a partial refund (The Cat D Value difference) which i only got rough estimates of between £2200 and £3400 they change due to more or less miles 2 keys or 1 ect ect, i have called another dealer an explained the situation he said go take the car back and not ask not request but demand your money back, don’t even expect half the money back why should i struggle a couple years later on re-selling it and getting a lot less or maybe even £200 at scrap value. He also stated that the cars sale value in his professional opinion to of been no more then 3,500 he also quoted a trade in price between 1800 and 2200 depending on inspection. but he said he would not purchase the car as it would only have to go to an auction he would not re sell at his dealership.

    So i am now hoping you can help me on a decision weather to involve trading standards and ombudsman and should i push for a full refund. Bare in mind i was quite happy with the car and it’s the same car i was happy with before i found out it’s cat D status. Obviously i haven’t gave them any indications on how i feel on the situation and what i want as a result. If i go down the Complaints an small claims court route i am aware to give them a written statement about the issue, an possibly send it recorded delivery. However i’d probably drive the 25 miles and video record on my phone me handing the notice to them. (Prevent them claiming someone else opened the letter, never told them about it ect)

    I do think they’re giving me the run around, an making an otherwise straight forward procedure, which is the Law very awkward.
    They appear to be playing a blame game behind the scenes, “who listed it, who bought it, who sold it, none of which i should be kept on hold for? Another question would be should they give me an answer on a decision of what to do the minute they found out they sold me a cat D vehicle without my knowledge and i am leaning on the side of reporting them to trading standards any how to prevent others making the same mistake and or buying an unsafe vehicle.

    • Hi Stephen. A dealer is obliged to disclose if a car is Cat C or Cat D (now known as Cat S and Cat N, respectively). Claiming that they didn’t know it was a Cat D is not an acceptable excuse.

  19. Hello Stuart,

    I’ve got myself in rather a predicament and wondered if you could help. Today I put down a £250 booking fee I felt rather pressured in to partly because of some serious anxiety on my part and because the original quote I got was a model below what I was expecting and the colour I had chosen to go with was now discontinued (just 3 days ago I could have it apparently) I haven’t signed any form of contract and stupidly did not get any sort of receipt but was assured by a member of the sales team and a manager if was refundable though they were rather casual about this. Following a call from a friend they have stated they will put in writing that this deposit is refundable once they get the booking through if I change me mind but after reading your article I fear this won’t happen. The minute I left the showroom I became extremely upset and really just felt like a complete moron for saying no I need more time when they asked for my details. Please can you offer any advice on my rights here as my original decision took so long to get to so saying yes to the next best thing is not something I can do on a whim. Thank you

  20. hi. please can you help…spotted a car on net less than 2 year old , went to view , looked ok .but had dust all over it .not cleaned in a while .test drove , all ok. described as immacculate stunning vehicle .
    sales boy told me 1 owner since new and looked after impecably ,and cherrished the car . i looked round the car and couldnt properly inspect because it wasnt cleaned ,or hoovered .miles was advertised as 12,450 but was 13,800
    he said must be an error or been on lots of test drives ,. what…..over a 1000 miles ,
    i saw a small dent on a door they said there wasnt but agreed to get fixed over next few days
    sales pitch was beleivable . i went ahead with purchase .seemed a big company should be honest.
    within 2 hours id paid £3000 deposit and finaance was set as a personal loan , i expected car to be ready in a few days .valeted cleaned etc ,as it wasnt at time of viewing .. he said we need to rush now as theyre waiting to close , 7pm . the car is mine and have to take it now . oh ok. my car was outside and i had this new one . so i had to drive 75 miles to collect a friend to come 75 miles back to collect my car then go home . no phone calls from them regards the dent to be fixed on my drive . left car all week for them to access it ,.i called left messages ,no call back . washed car friday evening .then i was not happy what i found , there was marks and bits in the paint where its been repainted ,2 off side doors 1 nearside door both wings bonnet and bumper , and door shut, the cars grey and where theyd polished it with a machine and polished through the edges revealing white primer .. lacquer edges where theyd peeled masking tape off and left lacquer edge sharp , fish eyes in paint some panels orange peel effect some smooth,
    hed the car been clean for inspection id have noticed , i rang them told them but sales boy had gone on training . arranged to take it back to show Ben, drove all that way , asked for him . oh its his day off ,
    by this time the V5 had came through .it showed . 2 former keepers . me now the 3rd .this is not what i was sold ,not what i expected ,i beleived all i read and was told .asked them they said yes definately one owner from new….. dvla must be wrong .
    called dvla yep im 3rd keeper … so im not happy with this ,. 7 panels have been painted , its due a service ,was left un cleaned ,in and out ..and now theyre messing me about . well mister it is a second hand car ,in good condition .. errrr no you advertised as immacculate stunning vehicle .1 owner , that is what i purchased .
    i accept the odd mark , or even fact that it could have hed a dooor or whatever painted as it may have had car park dents or been keyed ,but not 7 panels painted , spoke to amanager who was not friendly and the atmosphere was stale .showed him the bit .
    and told my isssues ,. dent still not fixed , felt like ive got your money now go away.
    ive not driven the car for my pleasure yet as its sitting waing for dent to be done ,it only ever been driven back to them.
    spoke to finance company , theyre looking into it . was later arranged and booked in to take to them to leave and get dent done .gave me a loan car ,thursday 22 august they said collect wednesday 28th. no curtessy call to say dent done ,and no call to tell me what thier bodyshop man had said about the iffy paint , they emailed me a copy of hpi ,it said 1 former keeper , v5 in my name so im 2nd ,
    dvla are wrong . rang them again they said no ,im 3rd ..
    went back to take cloan car back , they had done dent 5 days ago ,looks spot on ,excellent job ,
    regards paint ,thier bodyshop man says there is nothing wrong he would happily let a car out like that , so what you going to do about it and everything ,,,,
    we not going to anything , is all they say…
    i said ok , then im within my 30 days the car stays here it is not as described and has more owners ,
    i left all the stuff with the car ,i said would you accept a car with white paint showing through the grey top coat . they wouldnt answer .
    the manager refuses to talk to me . i had a representative call on my behalf ,gave permission for him to discuss it , theyd said they wanted me to be a happy customer . well my friend acually spoke to the stroppy manager ,who was rude ,and said it my car and i had dumped it there and to get it off his premisses , or he will charge storage , mention of what they going to do , he said we are not going to do anything ,its a second hand car , im not even going to give £5 petrol .and hung up . so i have spoken to a head office but not heard back as the lady gone away next
    day on annual leave ,
    after telling me i will call you later or tomorow , i called her only to be told she went on leave ,
    ive said 2 options,,,,
    A,,id like to have my deposit back cancel everything and get over this terrible ordeal.
    B,i like the car so if they came to a happy medium, to make the car as described , i may acccept ,this being i get it rectified by a bodyshop of my choice and im compensated for the hassle upset etc and going to have to put up with it having more owners than the car i purchased should have .

    I paid asking price and that was higher than normal , i feel i have been fobbed off , can you help
    at all .thank you , andy

    • Hi Andy. You’ve rushed into this and let them take advantage of your haste to get your new car. If they’re not responding to you, best way to get their attention is with a letter from your lawyer.

  21. Hi, I wonder if you can help. We put a deposit down on a car from a used car dealer, then discovered the insurance was too high.
    The dealer said there was another car if we’d like but it had just come in and hadn’t been checked to be roadworthy as yet. We took it for a test drive and noted an issue with the power, the dealer assured us it would be addressed and that a full MOT would be provided.
    The car turned out to be awful and broke down after 2 days. It’s been at his garage more than in our possession and he is difficult to get hold of.
    Anyway long story short, after no contact from him we decided enough was enough and asked for a refund. He’s now stating that we bought it from him knowing it was unroadworthy and he’s not prepared to refund. He has it up for sale again at his garage and we are still the legal owners.
    We’ve taken him to the small claims court but any advice would be useful. He claims he has a signature on a receipt saying the car is not to be driven on public roads but let us take it for a test drive. Is this illegal?
    Many thanks

  22. Hello Stuart,

    I travelled 300 miles round trip to see a van for commercial use, then put down £200 deposit with a view to collecting the van around 10 days later. I then spent the next 4 days ringing round for insurance only to be told no at every quote – there were dozens. Okay, perhaps I should have tried a couple of quotes out first, but I had no reason to believe I would be refused insurance cover as I have a car and another van insured at the same address and the insurers and brokers I asked all said it was down to my postcode despite my impeccable history.

    Clearly I didn’t go all that way just to kick tyres and I did put my money where my mouth was. I’ve called the dealer to explain the situation but feel I was just fobbed off as he said he would check with the office and get back to me which did not happen.

    What are your thoughts on this situation?

  23. Hi Stuart

    I bought a car from an online advert paying for the car over the phone. I picked it up from the dealership (as opposed to having it delivered) and noticed later that night once I had taken the car home that it did not have a digital radio and a few other minor things (as advertised). I am covered by The Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013 bearing in mind I picked the car up from the dealership and hence face-to-face contact took place?

  24. Hi Stuart,
    I saw a car and I had test drive. The car needed some work so I’ve been told it will take a few days . I’ve placed deposit via debit card – 250. I didn’t sign any paperwork but we’ve filled form . After 10 days I’ve changed my mind. Can I get my deposit back in that case and I’ve been told I will charge for all work they’ve done to car. Thanks

  25. Hi Stuart, Thanks for the helpful article. I’d appreciate your advice on my situation it possible. I placed £500 via credit card on a holding deposit (I was told it was fully refundable, which I realise after reading this article was not entirely true) and once the car was viewed I decided it was not in as good condition as I thought. The holding deposit paperwork states “Holding deposit subject to drive on Saturday. ” and “Purchase is deferred and subject to customer confirmation at conclusion of sale in accordance FCA ICOBS Rule 6A.1”. I’m guessing those details don’t necessarily mean I can get my money back? Any thoughts would be appreciated. Thanks.

  26. Hi Stuart

    I saw a car that I liked on Auto trader last night.I contacted the dealer and went to see the car today.
    I test drove the car and did inspect it very thoroughly.The car dealer did give me all the time in the world to check it, he didn’t pressure me into buying it in any way.
    The car was advertised as category N.
    I did all my car checks online and everything seems to be fine.
    The car dealer has purchased the car from the auction and he has no logbook for it nor service history but the car history mot reflects the mileage, according to the hpi report, there is no discrepancy in terms of mileage.
    The car looks and drives excellent.
    I agree to leave a £200 deposit and come back next week to pay the rest of the negotiated price/amount for the car and collect.
    I have told him that is my intention to pay him with a credit card but then he told me that if I want to pay with the credit that I will have to pay the initial price that was advertised on autotrader as his discount offer was only if I will pay with cash.
    I then transferred him the £200 deposit from my bank account into his wife/partner bank account saying that will let him know a day next week when I can collect the car.
    The dealer has also agreed to give me a 6 months gold warranty on the car at no extra cost when I will return next week to complete the purchase and collect the car.
    I still like the car as it drives absolutely spot on and there are no underlying issues with the car.
    However after doing some researching online, I have found out that I have no protection if I buy the car with cash which is a bit worrying to me and I didn’t know before that I have no protection buying the car with cash.
    The car dealer told me when I was there that the deposit is non refundable if for any reasons I decide to pull out and not purchase the car.
    My biggest worry is that I will not be protected if I’ll pay cash for the car and something might go wrong with the car.
    Where do I stand on this, In case I don’t want to go ahead and buy the car with cash please?
    Would I be able to get my deposit back or the car dealer has no obligations to refund me please?
    Could you please advise what will be the best course of action and where do I stand on this please?
    I look forward to your response.
    Your assistance will be greatly appreciated.
    Thank you

  27. Hi Stuart

    This is a great post and your feedback and help on each post is great. A stirling job on your part!

    My question if I may and this relates to a private sale which I know will have different or no legal standing. The discussions with the private seller have all been done over phone or text and I have not seen the car in person. I basically put a £250 deposit on a car being sold privately. I confirmed in an email and text to the seller that the deposit should be refundable if he could not get the necessary paperwork supporting the stated cars service history. After much effort on this part, he has not been able to get the paper work as described and it’s subsequently become apparent that one service stamp is missing that I was previously told was there. So to cut a long story short I’ve decided to back out of the sale and have asked for my deposit back. He has refused sighting the time it’s taken for him to get the (incomplete) paperwork together. Where do I stand?!

  28. Hi Stuart, thanks very much for all your guidance its answered most my questions I just have one more if you wouldn’t mind helping me please.
    My husband and I bought a second hand car last Saturday from a dealer, there was a flag on the MOT from 2018 that the car had failed its emissions test (1.6CDTi Ford C-Max). When we queried this the salesman told us that it was to do with an air conditioning unit and the previous owner has it re-gassed and then it past its MOT and that the issue was all fixed.
    Not being car buffs we took the explanation and paid the £500 deposit.
    The next day one of friends asked which car we bought, we told him and he said we should have stayed well clear as this is a known issue and fault. Having now done some research he is right, this is a well known fault among car traders and is a recurring problem that will eventually blow up the turbo and keep blowing it.
    I returned to the garage for 2 reasons, firstly because I asked for a safe car for my 2 children to be in and secondly because I want my deposit back as I feel we have been mis-sold.
    The dealer called his friend who apparently worked for Ford, his friend confirmed there is no such problem and that was grounds enough to tell me ‘good luck getting your money back’ but he also said ‘besides that fault shouldn’t occur on this year of car’ – so that tells me he knows there is a problem. An my research tells me it does happen on this vehicle.

    I just want to know whether I have any grounds at all to try and get it back. Obviously I can’t prove what he verbally said to me but I feel the car is misrepresented.

    Any advice greatly received, I am on maternity leave with a 12 week old baby currently and £500 is a lot to us.
    Many thanks

  29. Hi Stuart
    Firstly thanks for doing an article about this.

    I was looking for a car change and found one 30 miles away that we thought would fit the bill.
    Rang the dealer to have a chat about the spec and he convinced me to leave a deposit on the car to hold it as we could not get there for two days. NB This was to hold the car to view/test drive and was agreed verbally over the phone.
    Went to dealers, nice car but a bit grubby externally. Took for a drive and had a few issues with space and comfort. Told salesman I would let him have a decision the next day. Rang dealership and left message and followed up by email saying sorry but not interested.
    It’s now 21 days since the test drive and 18 since the account was debited (£250)
    Salesman and/or boss not taking calls/returning or responding to emails.
    I have no receipt for the money or T&C’s and I have signed no documents at all.
    Any advice gratefully received.
    Kind regards

    • Hi Glyn. Yes, you should be able to get your money back but if you have no paperwork that confirms your discussions then they will sit on it for as long as possible in the hope that you will go away. So you can either keep hassling them until they agree to refund your money, or get a lawyer to write to them.

  30. Hi
    We visited a Mercedes dealer and test drove a car, I was offered another car with lower mileage and higher spec, he showed us some photos as this car was at another site, I said I would think about it & we left.

    Dealer phoned later that day, I agreed to sale of the higher spec car subject to its condition and more importantly it would definitely be available for the upcoming bank holiday weekend as we were meeting family 200miles away, he agreed, I paid a £500 deposit.

    A week later You’ve guessed it, car was not ready for the weekend

    I’ve subsequently phoned the dealer who to his credit put his hands up and agreed to refund but it’s not been forthcoming

    Am I entitled to a refund under the distance selling act as I have never physically seen the vehicle?

    Thanks in advance, it’s a great site, very helpful

    • Hi Anthony. It’s dubious as to whether it would count as a distance sale as you started the purchase process at the dealership and only concluded it over the phone. However, if the dealer has agreed to a refund then that’s rather irrelevant.
      Keep hassling the dealer for your money back, and preferably get some kind of commitment in writing.

  31. Hi i saw a car advertised in a dealership a long way away from me. i phoned the dealer closest to me to ask it thay could bring the car down to there place , so i could look at it . thay told me the car i saw was not for sale ,and was for test drives only . they said thay could find me the same car . but i would have to put down £1,000 pounds deposit all this was done over the phone . i found out that the car thay found is older and as fore times the milages on the clock . if i decline the offer am i entiteld to a full refund

  32. Hi

    I’m sure you can help or at least give some honest advice

    Cut a long story very very short

    I found the car I’ve been looking for online so I phoned the dealer up and asked if I could come down to take a look
    I got there keys where given to me I was left alone ( which I found to be good) to check it over I then approached the sales man and asked if I could have a test drive
    He said I could but they would need to take £300 deposit when I asked why he said to see how serious I was in buying
    I told him I have the full amount in cash (via debit card) if I like the drive I would leave a deposit and I’m not laying any money out until I know what I’m buying but he wouldn’t budge

    Is that standard practice with a car salesman
    Should I walk away?

    Oh and a £200 admin fee

  33. Hi,

    I put down a deposit of £250 on a car advertised at the VW dealer. I wanted to see the vehicle straightaway so I could finalise the purchase quickly as the spec of the vehicle matched my needs. However VW had to prepare the car before it could be seen, the sales rep stated it should be ready in a week. After looking at the website, it seems like the dealer has removed that vehicle. I’m not sure if it was a pricing error which was made by the dealer as it was price a little cheaper than expected but I did put down the £250 deposit. I have tried calling the dealer but cannot get through to the sales rep I originally spoke to. VW has not returned my deposit as of yet.

    I really do want to purchase that vehicle. What are my next steps? What actions could I take if VW sold the car even though I put down a deposit? I believe they are trying to avoid me as the car was priced lower than expected so are maybe trying to avoid selling it to me.

  34. Hi Stuart,

    Thanks for the great article. I hope you’ll be able to help with my situation.

    I ordered a factory build Land Rover without visiting the showroom. Sadly, I am not in a position to go ahead and yesterday I cancelled the order. The dealer has said that my £2000 deposit is non-refundable, as the car is being built to my specification and has now entered “in build” status.

    I realise this is my fault, but just wondered where I stand from a legal perspective on getting some or all of the deposit returned?

    Many thanks,

  35. Hi Stuart. I believe you can advise me on the following matter.

    Last Sunday, me and my husband visited a car dealer in London. We chose a car and asked for a PCP finance offer. The dealer confirmed they can arrange an exceptionally good offer and asked us to pay a deposit “to benefit our application” and should we choose not to proceed with the deal or we do not like the offer, they will return the money.

    My husband paid £200 by card, but I signed the deposit receipt. We were left to wait in 30 min to be approved. This approval did not happen yet, even now after 5 days, we did not received any offer. During one of many phone calls from my side, the dealer mentioned that the deposit is non refundable, because it is to keep the car off market. They did not tell us that, as I wrote above. More, the car ad was still live online. I was stupid enough not to read the small print below the signature saying the deposit is not refundable. But on the other side: 1. There is also another clause saying that the deposit cannot be less than £300, and we paid £200; 2. I signed the receipt, not my husband who paid with his card and money.

    I do not have any response to the email I send them.

    I am wondering now do I have any legal grounds to request the deposit back, considering they lied us directly several times and we did not have any offer.

    Thank you.

  36. Hello, I put a £250 deposit on a second hand car last Thursday (Feb 7th) , I paid this by bank transfer over the phone. We had seen the car online and my husband spoke to the salesman. We drove an hour to view the car on Saturday, when we got there, the salesman said he had tried numerous times to call me to say they had found an issue with the temperature indicator so it was in the garage. I had one missed call around 5 minutes before we arrived there. The salesman advised us to come back the next day (Sunday) and suggested that we do the paperwork and pay the remainder for the car (that we had yet to physically see). We agreed to come back but did not pay anymore. About to leave on the Sunday when I get a call to say they had to close due to a member of staff being off sick and that they could deliver the car to us, I asked for Monday or Friday which is when my husband is at home. I also mentioned that I had not had the emailed receipt for the deposit and was told to text my email to the number that had called me. I’ve still not had a receipt. I’m going to call them this morning, I accept that they may not be able to deliver the car to us today but plan on asking if the car is ready and saying that we will go collect it if it is. I want some clear answers as it does not feel right and I wonder if we’re being lied to. If we cannot see the car today I’m tempted to go there to request the deposit back. Where do we stand, is there anything on the amount of time that the full sale is held up, the car kept from view that we can go on? At the very least I’m planning on staying on the phone until they email the receipt to me. I feel they are messing us around.

  37. Great advice site!
    I was told my £500 deposit on a second hand car was refundable if I changed my mind. The salesman wouldn’t hold the car for the three weeks until I was able to view the car in person, so we arranged that I would take out finance on the car – the finance contract states a 14 day cooling off period. Thus the dealer was paid in full, and my intention was to pay off the finance immediately after viewing and accepting the car. No finance payments have yet been taken. Now I don’t want the car, but the dealer is refusing to accept the cooling off period, and insists the sale is complete. The deal was arranged 11 days ago, so I think I am still entitled to cancel the sale – as a distance sale, it was entirely conducted over the phone.
    Am I right in thinking that I can cancel this sale, cancel the finance agreement and have my deposit refunded?

    • Hi Morag. if you want to cancel the finance under the cooling-off period, you’ll need to contact the finance company.

      As for the vehicle purchase, as a distance sale you are entitled to cancel the purchase for up to 14 days after taking delivery for any reason you like.

  38. Hi Stuart, I “late last night” sleep walked into putting a big payment down on a car at trade centre , but having had 5 hrs sleep , I’ve woke up to realise I never even had the test drive in the car, am I entitled to change my mind??, or will I have to go back this morning to ‘test drive it and find if not quiet right and change my mind? I thought sales guy was going to try to see if I could get finance approval for it, but somehow they took £3000, as initial PAYMENT, and financed the last £4.5 k, my head in a bad place at minute ( divorce ) so I think I was merely getting a retail therapy buzz/fix. Can I change my mind , OR go back to test drive it today and say I’m not happy with it, OR,

    can I reason with them to look at another vehicle in show room , as the car I’m involved with is a 15 reg BMW luxury with 91k on clock I really would like a car with low mileage for a change . Thanks Stuart ANY advice really appreciated, I’m in a head ( bad place at minute ,)

  39. Hello. I would really appreciate your advice. Law citations etc.

    My Mr saw a small car dealers near us with an Audi A4 that he really loved and has wanted for ages. Finance was approved via our choice of company. He wanted it I said yes get it looks nice and we been working like mad so why not what’s could possibly go wrong!!!!! Stupid woman!!!

    We were advised after test driving that to pay the deposit of £500 which we did. By the time we took the children home something had changed.

    Then the finance withdrew due to the vehicle being on finance with some one else at Barclays Bank.

    I left it a few days as advised for them to resolve it but as you can imagine we don’t trust this dealer, the car or the situation it has dragged us into including family disputes as he’s refusing to give my deposit back.

    He said non refundable deposit as I am refusing to take the car after after he is going to sort the problem, pay the loan and whatever.

    I am really scared that I will be forced into taking this vehicle. No documents were signed but we were told 7 days refundable deposit when we paid after the finance company said the dealer was ok and the car was good.

    So now I’m stuck. If he resolved the problem and the finance company pay him I have a car I no longer want or trust. If they don’t pay the finance I still get no money back.? This is a lot of money to us as well so I’m not prepared to lose it out of principle.

    What’s worse is I am also unable to find reviews regarding this company which is totally my fault as I should of checked before walking into this mess.

    Thank you for any help.

  40. Hi
    I put down a 1000 deposit on a car over the phone email but was actually asked for 200 as the car looked so good
    But a few hours later reading reviews about the company in question 25 pages full of bad reviews no go
    also said manual in the fact sheet but on a photo noticed was a automatic
    I need to cancel this and get a full refund due to very bad reviews of the company
    paid by direct bank transfer salesman read thier account number out

  41. Hi Stuart,

    I have left a £1000 deposit for a car that I have seen online on the Mercedes Benz Approved Used Website. All the finance has gone through but unfortunately due to work commitments I have been unable to collect the car and the next available date I can collect it, the salesman is saying doesn’t work for them. I put the deposit down on the 12th of this month and did mention to him that I wasn’t able to give them a definite date I could pick the car up but would most likely be after 2 weeks, they are now saying that if I don’t collect the car by a certain date I will lose my deposit. Can they do this? I definitely want the car its just getting the day off work. All of this was done over email and phone I also haven’t signed anything. Any help would be much appreciated.

    Many Thanks

    • Hi Hasaan. The dealer wants the car gone by the end of the month, which is always the case. If they haven’t given you a contract to sign, they can’t enforce any terms and conditions about delivery date.

      You need to make some effort from your end. It’s reasonable for the dealer to expect that if you’re spending borrowing a significant amount of money on a car that you will be eager to get it. They will be assuming that you’re trying to back out of the deal, as that’s what normally happens.

      If they do want to cancel your purchase and sell the car to someone else, they will have to give you your deposit back.

  42. HI Stuart, I have left a £500 deposit with a dealership for a car I will be leasing. This will be returned once finalised with the actual leasing company. They advised that the car would be ready for collection by the end of the month, but this is now not the case. Can I request the deposit to be fully refunded and now not proceed on the basis they have not upheld their part of the agreement as to vehicle availability ?

    • Hi James. If you look at the T&Cs of any vehicle sales contract, the dealer is entitled to deliver the car up to 28 days after the initially advised delivery date before you have the right to terminate the contract.
      Plus, since you are leasing the car, it would probably have to be the leasing company that cancels the contract, since they will be buying the car and renting it to you.

  43. Hi Stuart. Yesterday (15th Jan) on Autotrader I saw an approved used car from a Renault dealer about 200 miles away. I phoned them and put down a deposit. The salesman sent me a video. I then signed (scanned and emailed back) the used vehicle order form, statement of demands and duty of care documents. I gave my debit card details for the remainder of the payment including delivery and admin charges. Delivery to me has been arranged for next Thursday (24th Jan).
    Today I went through all the images and noticed that all of the wheel nuts are rusted. I have phoned and emailed the salesman (who’s “with a customer” all day) asking if he would ensure that these rusty parts are replaced before delivering to me.
    Am I within my rights to cancel my purchase and get a full refund if he either doesn’t get back to me or refuses to rectify? Many thanks.

    • Hi Colin. If you wanted the dealer to carry out any actions before delivery, you should have agreed this before signing the contract.
      However, as the sale is being conducted at a distance (phone and email, rather than you visiting the dealership to buy the car), you are legally entitled to cancel the purchase within 14 days for any reason you like.

  44. Hi Stuart,

    I contacted a official Mercedes dealership regarding a car which is listed for sale on the website, due to it being a new listing there was no pictures on the car, with minimal description. I contacted the dealer to enquire more information about the car. I ended up speaking to a sales Representative about the car, he spoke to me over the phone on what options the car has, They managed to convince me to put a £500 deposit to ‘hold’ the car as I told other customers are interested in this car. He assured me that this deposit is refundable if after i’ve seen the car I decide not to purchase. After he gave deposit I asked for spec of the car and example finance quotes on a deposit I was going to provide. After he provided the spec of the car I noticed a option which was missing which is one my must haves. I queried the spec sheet and compared it with another one, but has assured me that the option is there and that there must be an error on the spec sheet. I am concerned that I may not get my deposit back on something despite not physically seeing the car or seeing pictures of the car. I have not been to the dealership nor have i signed any T&Cs or contracts. This is just done by email/phone. Since i’ve seen the spec sheet I have asked him to confirm my refundable deposit if the car is not to my liking when it arrives at the dealership. Is my deposit safe in the case I do not accept the car?

    • Hi Dean. If you have conducted all of your business with the dealer by email and phone, and not set foot in the dealership, you can cancel your purchase up to 14 days after taking delivery of the car for any reason you like. So the dealer would be wise to simply refund your money quickly and move on.

  45. Hi Stuart, this is an update. I wrote to you originally on 25/10/2017. I took to the court the car company that wouldn’t return my £5K deposit and I won the case. The money has been refunded 100%.

  46. Hi really hope you can help i went to see a car at a second hand car dealer and test drove it. I did not discuss the price or terms of sale at the time but did state I had preapproved finance I did put a £500 deposit down on it.

    At the bottom of the receipt was small print saying this was a partial payment and non-refundable but I did not sign and date this and was not told this either. Once I got home I rung them and we agreed a price and conditions of what needed to be done before I got the car. After that, I spoke to my finance company and gave them the details and name of the company they said the lender that was going to do the finance for me could not deal with that company as they have 4 disputes with them!

    I phoned the dealer to explain and said I’d try someone else. So I tried another two companies and was turned down for the money I do not want to try anymore as my credit score will not be any good if I do plus I still need a car for less money now.

    I’ve asked the dealer for my deposit back explained why I could not get the finance in the first place as it was there company having disputes with the lender also told them id tried another two companies but no luck! The company said write an email explaining this and the will give me the deposit back that day they did not.

    The next day I rang and they are now refusing to give me it back what can I do does it matter I didn’t sign or date the binding part of the receipt for the deposit? Also, it’s not my fault the only company that would lend me the money will not deal with them that’s the dealers fault! Please can you help.

    Thank you

    • Hi Steve. Once you put a £500 deposit on the vehicle, you essentially bought it and the receipt is simply a record of the money you paid. A receipt is not a contract, so you not signing it is largely irrelevant.

      If you didn’t share any details of your finance pre-approval with the dealer then they’d have no way of knowing that there’d be any problem. So it’s your problem, not theirs.

      Based on your description, I doubt they are likely to ever give you back your £500 and they know it would probably cost you more than that to get a lawyer to help you.

  47. Hello , I recently put a deposit down on a car in a garage which I looked at and test drove. At the time I was happy to pay £100 and was very much keen to buy the car. As fate goes , my boss found a better car and has offered to go 50/50 with the costs. I declined to buy the car off the original garage and I accept I’m not intilted to a refund. The garage however wants me to pay for the MOT which was done on the car coming to £282 or they will take me to court. Is this sort of thing normal? What should I do?

    • Hi Cameron. They can certainly try to charge you for any expenses they’ve incurred as a result of you buying the car and then changing your mind.

      You can argue that they’d have to MOT it (and presumably whatever else was needed to get the bill up to £282) for any customer, and it just depends on who backs down first or – if it gets that far – what the small claims court decides.

  48. I’ve recently put a refundable deposit on a car. The sales person said that it was refundable if I couldn’t get credit or if I changed my mind. I have changed my mind and I couldn’t speak to the sales person at the time as he was with a customer so I was put through to a sales manager who told me that I was legally bound to buying the car. He went on to say that it was in the contract. That he would email me across and still have not received he even called and left a message to say sent however due to my phone being on 1% at another car dealership the sales person took the phone into the office and put on charge for me. So I did not see the call and still some hours later have not seen.

    At the time of speaking to the sales rep I had my father with me and he remembered that the sales rep said it was fully refundable even if I changed my mind or couldn’t get credit. I would not have put the deposit down had I known. He sales rep said he could take off sale for £99 I’ve spoken to him a few times over the week and I’ve asked him how long he could keep off sale with that deposit and he said till end of the month but the sooner the better to let him know. I made him aware over the phone that I had looked at a few other cars at no point has this sales person said eh up you’ve signed to say you want this car as the sales rep told me that the £99 and signature was just to take down until within reasonable time that I got the loan or if I changed my mind.

    His sales manager is now saying that I’m legally bound despite what the sales person told me that I could get back if I changed my mind. Another dealerships legal and site manager has seen the paperwork and said that because it says deposit and not part payment that I’m entitled to my deposit they have the same issues themselves often and they have to refund said they might not be happy about it losing the sale but they have to refund.

    • Hi Nicola. Sounds to me like both dealers are lying to you. Unless your contract states that the deposit is refundable and under what circumstances, it’s not. “The salesman told me…” doesn’t hold water because the salesman will miraculously deny ever having said such a thing. And if they know that you’re trying to cancel your purchase so you can buy a car elsewhere, there’s zero incentive for them to be helpful.

      The second dealer would most likely behave in exactly the same way. If you put a deposit down on a car (call it a part payment, if you prefer), you’ve bought the car.

  49. Hi Stuart

    I went and test drove a car with a view to buy. Never agreed to anything, went home to have a think for a few days . Phoned the garage back after about a week to see if car was still available, it was and was asked for a deposit over the phone and paid a £200 deposit. After that I applied for finance and unfortunately my application was declined.
    Would I be entitled to get refund of my money?
    Many thanks

  50. Hi Stuart,

    I currently battling to get my deposit from a dealer as well, I paid a deposit on a car after agreeing on the monthly payment with the car dealer, however when they applied for finance it was refused. The dealer then promised to look for alternative finace. 2 days later they came with an agreed finace which was higher than what I told them i could afford monthly.

    I insisted that I cannot pay higher than what was agreed and since they couldnt find a finance deal that suits my burget I will need a refund, however they have refused to refund me, their claim was that the found a finance deal for me which I have declined (higher than what was agreed)

    Please can you advice if I am entitled to a refund of my deposit in this instance.

    Kind Regards

    • Technically, no. You’ve signed a contract to buy a car for £X and the finance agreement is separate to that. However, it’s unusual for a dealer to be insistent if they can’t source a finance agreement that matches your agreed payments.

      You should be able to get your money back eventually, but you may need some legal assistance. A letter from a legal firm tends to get better results than a letter from a regular person in the street.

  51. Hi I found a car on autotrader, went to test drive all good, left saying I’d think about it, called back 2 days later and said I would do the deal offered and left a part payment of £350 on credit card and the remaining on collection, 3 days later after talking with partner we have changed our minds and decided to Lee our car, the dealer has said he won’t refund the part payment as he has put new brakes on the car and RAC inspected it for the road? Am I entitled anything back? I didn’t sign anything either


  52. Hello i paid £250 deposit for car, but mentioned the dealer that there is something wrong with steering wheel. So they told me that they will have a look at this. after few days i received message that they cant find any fault. so that the car is fine. but i felt there some movments. and they are still advertising the car.
    am i right to have deposit back or not?
    thanks a lot

    • In theory, the dealer should refund you if you can’t agree on whether the fault has been resolved. That doesn’t mean they will play nicely, of course.

      If you’re not comfortable about buying the car, it’s worth losing the £250 and taking your business elsewhere. Obviously you’d rather get it all back again and you can hassle the dealer for as long as it takes if they refuse, but don’t get sucked into buying a car you’re not happy with because you don’t want to lose your deposit.

  53. Hi I’ve recently put a deposit down on a truck the next day the dealership said I couldn’t have the truck because it was price incorrectly and it was another 4K, they have returned my deposit but should they not honour the price.

    • Hi Andy. In the UK, a dealer can argue that a genuine mistake was made and is not bound to honour the contract. If you believe that it was not a genuine error and that you were deliberately misled, that would be a different story.

  54. Hi Stuart. I recently saw an advert on auto trader for a car, after phoning the garage he told me as i could not get down to see it due to work commitments for a week or so he needed a deposit to Make sure no one could purchase the car until i was able to arrive. I then proceeded to pay 500 pounds. After reflection i have decided the car just isnt required and i have changed my mind about it. The garage have told me that because he put it through the workshop for a service and MOT and cost of workin out appropriate PCP finance that my deposit was non-refundable. Where do i stand with this, i havnt signed any paperowrk and have never been to the garage it was all done over the fone and email

    • Hi Ricky. In theory, you should be entitled to your money back regardless of money the dealer has spent (he’d have to service and MOT the car, whoever buys it). In practice, you will probably have to fight him to get it back and he’s probably content to wait for you to give up.

  55. Thanks Stuart, that is pretty much what I thought. I suppose a campaign of letting other potential customers know about the risks and the type of company they are dealing with is the best I can do!

  56. Hi Stuart, its taken me a while to get through all the queries and answers above but very useful. I have a slight variation on the theme in that we paid a deposit for a lease vehicle based on a delivery date of September. We have since been told that delivery wont be until December which leaves us without a vehicle for 3 months. This unfortunately is no good to us so we told them we would like to cancel the contract as they haven’t fulfilled their side of it. They are now refusing to pay back the £240 ‘admin’ fee. Where do we stand?

    • Hi Christian. You should be entitled to the money back, but it is often difficult if you are leasing through a third-party broker – who will argue that it’s not their fault the dealer can’t supply the car on time. Unfortunately, they know full well that it will cost you more than £240 in legal fees to recover the money…

  57. Hi, I saw a car on autotrader and arranged a test drive for the following day. The dealer was an hours drive away, so a video was sent of the car. It looked perfect so decided to drive down. On inspection, the car was just what I wanted and after a test drive we negotiated my part ex and a deal. I was told that I could pick the car up in a few days but that they would ring me to book a suitable hand over time. I signed a purchase agreement and gave a £400 cash deposit. I was shown the service book with history but nothing else. A few days went buy and I hadn’t heard anything so rang to see what was happening. I was told that they were waiting for the log book from the dealership garage they bought the car from but I could take the car if I wanted as it still have tax. I informed them that I was not prepared to take car without V5 and that you cant transfer tax. They disagreed but said that was fine and would chase up the log book. It is 2 weeks on and I still dont have my car. They are saying the previous owner sent the log book off but I would have thought when they part exed it with dealership they would have left new buyer slip. I am now getting very twitchy about all of this. The car is lovely, I do want it but now concerned something is not quite right. Can I get my deposit back in these circumstances?

    • Hi Julie. Unless you have specified that the car must be delivered by a certain date in writing on the contract, the standard terms and conditions would allow the dealer up to 28 days’ grace from the original date specified.

      It may be that the car had a private plate on it and there is a delay while that’s being undone to return the car to its original plate on the DVLA system. Unfortunately, the DVLA is pretty much the slowest organisation on the planet so simple things tend to take a long time.

  58. Hi,

    I recently visited a dealership in relation to an offer on the Carwow website.
    After being told the car I wanted would take months to deliver from the factory, the salesman suggested moving up in spec. As I had some room in my budget I asked what the price would be. He then stated he was checking the Carwow offer and then quoted me a price. Taking him at his word I put down a deposit and signed the papers.
    However afterwards I decided to double check the Carwow offer myself and found the offer from the same dealership to be £1200 less than the price he quoted. Have I any comeback on this as I feel I was mislead by the salesman?

    • Hi Dave. Since this was a different car from what you originally inquired about, the dealer is not obliged to match a Carwow quote – even if he says he “checked the Carwow offer”. The whole story about waiting months for your original vehicle may have even been a ploy to swerve the Carwow quote altogether in favour of a more profitable quote on another car – or it could be entirely true.

      You can always go back to the salesman and threaten to cancel your order unless they agree to drop the price to the Carwow level, but they’re not obliged to agree to it. Moral of the story is ‘never trust a car salesman’.

  59. Hi
    I’ve paid £200 deposit for Toyota. On the collection day a friend of mine who went with me to pick up the car spotted on the car had paint on a passenger side doors and (front and rear) middle post and back bumper.
    Everyone who knows a little bit about cars can confirm if there was no accident / incident there is no reason to re paint any of exterior elements. I’ve changed my decision and I don’t want a car because a dealer can’t explain a reason why that car was painted. They said they are happy to pay back my deposit if me or my friend will provide a photographic evidence to proof that car was involved in road accident. Firstly I never been aware about any paint changes before I’ve paid my deposit, secondly only one proof of my friends words is a paint coat. I’ve been told we made a big accusation about them.. car HPI is clear. Am I allowed to get my deposit back?

    • Nope. If you were concerned about previous damage to the vehicle, you should have inspected it signing the order form.

      The car could have been resprayed at any time, even before it was sold new. An HPI certificate won’t highlight damage to a car unless it has been declared a write-off for insurance purposes. Minor damage is not recorded.

      Unless the vehicle is faulty or you’ve been mis-sold, there are no grounds to reject the vehicle.

  60. Hi Stuart,

    Looks like this article and all of the comments are still going strong. Really good information here – I wonder if you can help further with my particular circumstance.

    I have recently paid a £500 deposit for a car at the weekend with an RAC approved dealer. After talking onsite with the salesperson (also the owner), I was led to believe that the car was going to receive an RAC inspection before we paid the full amount and picked up the car. I found out over the weekend after some research online, that RAC approved dealers carry out the checks themselves and are (or rather may) be audited at some point by the RAC. In reality, it seems that these audits are few and far between, based on the dealers number of sales per annum. I spoke on the phone with the dealer and requested permission to have my own RAC vehicle inspection carried out at my own cost, which they agreed to “no problem at all” albeit with the suggestion that they told me how the system works before I paid the deposit – neither myself or my wife have any recollection of this!

    I arranged the inspection with the RAC and emailed the dealer with the details. It now appears that he is being a little awkward in response to that email and trying to put obstacles in the way, suggesting that things could get delayed and he needs to have the vehicle picked up by a certain time. On the order I signed, one of the agreed items is an “RAC Check” which at the time my wife and I believed to be actually carried out by the RAC. There is no mention of a specific collection date on the order. I really want everything to check out fine and purchase the car, but do not want to continue with the purchase without the inspection. Where do I stand if the dealer puts up barriers to having the RAC inspection carried out? Am I entitled to walk away from the purchase and have my deposit back, or have I lost it? Also, if the RAC turn up and are refused entry, I would presumably lose the payment I have already made to them too – is that correct?

    Thank you for any advice you can give

    • If the contract specifically mentions that an RAC inspection, then you have the right to have that done prior to delivery. You will need to agree a suitable time with the dealer, so there will probably be a bit of to and fro between you, the RAC inspector and the dealer to make sure the time is mutually agreeable. If the dealer then refuses to allow the RAC on-site, you’d have very good grounds to not only cancel your order and get your deposit back, but also be reimbursed for the bill you’ve paid to the RAC.

  61. UPDATE: Well, I didn’t buy the car. They called me today and said that the leather was fixed, so I asked for a picture just to check it out – they said they would text it to my phone, but then they called back and said they would email it because it was a better image, and then over the next 8 hours and selection of phone calls – including one where I re-gave them my email address…Nothing. I presume they didn’t want to use the text system because its less easy to say a text is lost in cyberspace somewhere

    So, I didn’t send the bank transfer and was told ‘come hell or high water’ I wasn’t getting my deposit back and they would ‘see me in court’..because they had a ‘£150,000 a year solicitor’. Apparrently, the £500 was ‘punitive damages’ as they had taken the car off sale for two weeks…however I never saw it with the leather fixed.

    I told them they hadn’t proved to ME that they work had been done, and they said they had proof of sending the email (which I never got) but I think they may have tried this scam before with emails so they can try to prove it was sent, but there was NO way I was going to send the cash via the bank without seeing the vehicle. I feel a little foolish for paying the deposit, but thankful that I didn’t give them the bulk of the money. I am keen to fight it if I can, is a solicitor’s letter the best approach or just try the small claims court direct – I think I can attempt a claim online.
    Your advice was helpful and I’m glad I didn’t pay the total of the car…many thanks

    • You can choose either approach to try and recover your deposit, but bear in mind that you will accumulate your own costs with either option with no guarantee you will get your money back.

  62. Thank you Stuart – the month end thing hadn’t occurred to me until now…I will let you know how it goes

  63. Hi Stuart
    Thanks for all your info and advice on this thread it is very useful. I am in the market for a new vehicle and visited a local second hand dealer who had the model I wanted. Upon seeing the car, it was in good condition apart from a rip on the rear of the passenger seat – the dealer said “Oh I’ll get the leather man to fix that before you collect it, it’ll be as good as new” I paid a £500 deposit by debit card and waited the week he said it would take.

    They called yesterday to say that the leather man was now on holiday for two weeks but I should pay (by bank transfer) collect the car, and then return it to get the leather done. I had checked with my bank and wanted to pay by debit card, but was being strongly encouraged away from debit card (the dealer will charge me a 0.5% premium on debit) and they want a bank transfer. I think I stand a better chance of being protected via the debit card ‘chargeback scheme’…but now I am worried they wont actually fix the leather and am considering pulling out of the sale.

    On the paperwork I signed (with the £500 deposit) paid – it clearly states ‘fix leather’ but if this has not been done when i turn up to collect the vehicle am i covered under ‘ not as described’ and the consumer rights act to request my £500 is returned, as I only paid that on the understanding that the leather would be repaired. Their attitude has been robust to say the least, as though I am being difficult by wanting this repaired before i a) collect the vehicle of b) pay for it in full by bank transfer.

    two questions, does chargeback protect me at all in this circumstance and am I entitled to a return of my deposit under consumer rights act please? Any advice gratefully received, as I am expecting a call from them this wednesday
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Jonathan. The dealer obviously wants your money before the end of the month, and will give you all the assurances under the sun that it will be properly sorted in due course. Honest, guv.

      However, if you have a contract that specifically stipulates that the leather will be fixed, you are entitled not to pay for the vehicle until it complies with the contract. There are other leather repair specialists they could engage to fix it if they really wanted to.

      They might not like it, but you are well within your rights to hold them to the contract. If they can’t/won’t comply, you have the right to declare the contract void and get your money back.

  64. Hi, my aunt paid £1000 deposit for a new car putting her old car in as part ex also. The car was due in June but the dealer rang a couple of weeks ago to say it was ready early. Sadly after a family bereavement my aunt suffered a heart attack came out of hospital and suffered another so is unable to drive at all for many weeks. On trying to cancel the car for this reason was told she would lose £250 of the deposit and is lucky it is not more. Just asking is this reasonable as she is unable herself to argue the toss if it isn’t. Thanks for any advice in advance

    • Whether it’s reasonable will depend on the specific situation. However, the dealership is probably within its right to keep part or all of the deposit.

      They may or may not believe that your aunt is unwell. Don’t take it personally; dealers get all sorts of excuses from buyers wanting to cancel their purchases, often including medical ailments, and they’re very often lying to cover up the fact that they’ve changed their mind about buying the car. After hearing the same excuses dozens of times, it’s easy to get cynical.

  65. Hello, last week i went to a local main dealer to look at a car. when i got there i was told the car was not in the showroom, as one of the salesmen had gone on holiday & was now in a local airport car park until the end of his holidays. Instead i was offered a test drive in the same car (but not the same model spec) after the test drive they told me an amount of px for my car & told me to secure the car i would need to leave £250 which, if i decided not to buy the car was non refundable. A day later i phoned the dealership & paid the holding amount / deposit of £250 to take it off sale. A day later they sent (email) what appears to be an order form, showing £250 as a deposit & delivery date a day after i will be visiting this week, to view the car. just wanted to know if this would be refundable if i so decided not to purchase the car, due to paying the amount over the phone, not signing any contract & the car not being viewed as it was at a remote location.

    • Hi Ade. I’m not a lawyer, but I wouldn’t see your deposit as being refundable as it’s not a genuine distance sale. You went into the dealership and were made an offer – and they confirmed that your deposit would not be refundable. You took a day to think it over then called them to accept it by paying your deposit.

      If you had doubts, you shouldn’t have paid a deposit until seeing the car.

  66. Hello Stuart, I have given a £200 deposit on a car from a well known dealership, the car is one year old and low mileage and I was told the vehicle has had one owner from new. I have since discovered the one owner was a rental company and I am no longer interested in the vehicle, have I lost my deposit as the dealership were not open and honest about telling me about who the previous owner was

  67. Hi Stuart, yesterday evening I put down 250 deposit and signed on an astra at a local dealership after coming home and doing a vehicle check online I’ve found it’s recently failed 2 MOTs (but then been passed on the same day) but the most recent MOT has 6 advisories including an oil leak and damage on the windowscreen in 2 places? Am I entitled to cancelling and getting my deposit back? We weren’t told about any of these problems?

    • Hi Kelly, You can’t cancel a purchase because of MOT advisories, but you can if the car has failed an MOT test.

      Failing an MOT test and then passing on the same day is not unusual – it just means that whatever caused the failure has been fixed. If a customer has booked a car into a garage for an MOT test and a service, the garage will often run the MOT test first so that they can see if there are any other problems that they will need to address while they’re servicing the car.

      You can certainly raise the issue of the MOT advisories with the selling dealer, but you can’t insist that they fix them to whatever condition you deem acceptable.

  68. Hi ,

    I went to a dealership and put down a deposit of £2000 for a car.
    The sales rep has given me a price of £13000 and I was under the impression that it is the final price.
    That was not the case as that was without interest.
    The total price after credit checks came down to £19000 which I immediately turned down. (no paper was signed)

    Can I get my deposit back?

    As a side mention I have e-mailed them and told them that they did not fully disclose the full price and the only way I would buy the car now would be with a 0% interest rate ( to which they have agreed)
    Should I go ahead with the 0% interest option if it turns out to be true.

    • Hi Bogdan. We can’t advise whether you should go ahead or decline any finance offer – all we can do is advise how finance agreements work and what to consider, and then you have to decide what is best for you and your situation.

      It is surprising that they have agreed to sacrifice £6,000 of interest if what you say is true, which suggests that there’s more to the story or that they have made an error and are desperate to keep the deal despite losing what would presumably be a fair chunk of money.

    • I have put a deposit on a new car. The dealer is asking for the full payment two days before I collect. I am paying by bank transfer and my bank is aware. How do I stand.

    • Hi John. That’s perfectly normal. 48 hours is enough time that the bank can’t usually reverse the payment. What the dealer wants to avoid is you driving off in the car and then the bank taking the money back, which is a scam that happens more often than you’d think.

  69. Hi Stuart, I wonder if you can help. I did as everyone else has and put a £500 deposit on a (used) BMW on the basis the dealership group didn’t have the exact requirements I was wanting (ie leather seats). When I got home I did some digging and it turns out the group did have available option and also had similar vehicle (exactly the same) for almost £3000 less. I immediately called and told them that I wanted what I had originally asked for and also queried why they didn’t tell me about the other options. I gave them an opportunity to source what I wanted but after a couple days they couldn’t. The order agreement does not say the deposit was not refundable. Since they were unable to obtain what I needed, do I have any claim to my deposit back. Note, I found a vehicle matching my needs at another dealer and asked them to source it, which they couldn’t so I told them I would go with the other option and ordered it over the phone myself. I have also paid a deposit here and told the original dealer that I cannot accept what I didn’t suit my needs. They refuse to budge. Any help would be great, thanks

    • Hi Justin. You’re not in a strong position to get your deposit back from the first dealer. If they didn’t have what you wanted, you didn’t have to buy a car with the ‘wrong’ specification – you could have gone home and looked at alternatives before buying it.

      And the dealer will know that you are going to buy another car from another dealer, so they will know that you don’t have any of the usual financial hardship excuses to cancel your contract.

  70. Hi Stuart
    I put down some of the deposit for a new car but, I am unable to come up with the rest of the money. Will I get my deposit back if I cancel everything within the 14 days calling off period?

  71. Hi Stuart,
    I put a £250 deposit on a 2008 BMW 1 Series this afternoon @13.30pm. About an hour later it was reported that there is now a recall of around 300,000 BMWs including the model that I have placed a deposit on, talk about bad timing.
    What are your thoughts, I was adamant I wanted to pick the car up tomorrow. I would be less keen to cancel buying, only it seems that BMW may have been misleading the DVLA about a known fault (albeit according to the MSM).

    • Hi Richard. I’m currently away on holiday so haven’t been following the detail of the BMW recall (although Andrew has reported on it).

      It will take BMW dealers a while to work through all the cars that need to be recalled and repaired, so it will probably be difficult for this to be done before you collect the car. You’ll just have to book it in at your earliest convenience.

      If you want to cancel your purchase, the dealer will probably still insist on keeping your £250 deposit as the recall isn’t their fault and there is a rectification process in place wit the manufacturer.

  72. Hello. I put £5000 deposit on a car in Feb from Vauxhall. 2 months after CV Joint had to be changed. Car booked in again to be fixed another fault. Not happy with car. Spoke to manager I could exchange car but i lose £4000.

    • Depending on the age and mileage of the car (I’m guessing it’s not new if it needed a new CV joint after two months), you may be able to reject the vehicle under the Consumer Rights Act, but this other fault would have to be significant enough to render the entire car faulty.

    • I would NEVER expect any dealer to give me my money back if work had been carried out such as fitting of a hoist! As I said previously I want the car – I thought I made that very clear in the above posts.

    • So you want the car but you’re unhappy about the price? That should have been agreed and clear before paying a deposit.

      One of your previous posts said that you have paid more than £3,000 deposit to the dealer – once you hand over your deposit, you have bought the car. You can’t keep haggling after you’ve already bought it. I’m not sure what advice you’re looking for, since you don’t want to cancel your purchase and there’s no way that a dealer is going to discount the vehicle after you’ve already bought it.

  73. Hi Stuart, I have been looking at buying a Horsebox and found someone who does conversions. He sent me several pictures of what he had done although he did not send me any references from previous customers. He said his build slots were filling up and on that basis I paid a deposit of £1000 plus vat. At the moment the person doing the conversion has not yet purchased a vehicle that he is going to convert for us. He says that his quote for the vehicle converted is £21,600.00 + VAT = £25,920.00 and that he will not start the build until the end of June 2018. My understanding was that the deposit is refundable. We paid the deposit on 9 April 2018 although we have not received an invoice or receipt for the payment yet. We have not signed anything. The terms were:
    £1000 + VAT BUILD SLOT DEPOSIT = £1200

    S.C 20 – 43 – 47
    AC NO 6 3 6 7 5 9 2 0


    We paid via Barclaycard.

    Since paying the deposit we have been doing some investigating and have found that people have experienced several problems with the vehicle conversions he had done. On Sunday I met someone who had a horse-box conversion from him and the day he delivered it “a piston in the engine had gone and it was billowing smoke and oil” He took the vehicle back and said he had repaired it but when it came back and went into the garage they were told the engine was made up from two different engines ! They had to spend a few thousand pounds sorting it out. Needless to say that this has given us no confidence in what we will be getting and as such wish to cancel or build slot and have the deposit refunded. The terms say that the deposit is refundable and that if we are not happy with the vehicle when we go to collect it we are free to walk away and a refund of the build slot is returned.

    We have informed him that our circumstances have changed and we wish to cancel and have a refund of the build slot deposit (£1000.00 + VAT for which we still have not received a receipt). He says cannot have the deposit back at the moment but if we do not like the vehicle for any reason and are not satisfied then the build slot deposit will be returned then?

    Do you think he is obligated to return the build slot deposit now or shall we let him provide a vehicle and then tell him we are not accepting it and ask for the deposit back then. Your advice would be appreciated. Thanks

    • Hi Malcolm. If it’s your intention to cancel the order, you should do it ASAP. You may lose your deposit, but if you wait until the vehicle has been built and then try to cancel then you will be in for a much bigger fight – regardless of what he may say now.

      If you wait for the bloke to spend many thousands of pounds building you a vehicle and then you try to walk away, he is almost certainly going to take issue with you refusing to accept the vehicle. Either that or he’s a really, really stupid businessman, and that’s unlikely.

  74. But that was exactly what the problem was. I had agreed to buy the car and already paid my deposit thinking the balance left to pay included the price of the hoist.

    It was only when I got up to leave that I heard the salesman say that the price of the hoist had not been included. That was why I went back because if the price didn’t include the hoist the figures didn’t make any sense. The unacceptable attitude only occurred AFTER I had paid the deposit.

    Of course, I want the car. I just feel that I have been tricked into paying more for the car than what I had said I would pay. I had no way of knowing that he had not included the hoist in the sale. The manager used the argument that he knew nothing about the hoist. I wonder why he would have taken the VAT off if he was truly unaware of the hoist. None of it makes any sense to me.

    Thank you for your response. You see I had already been deceived because you have said that the £100 deposit that I paid committed me. I was told that in no way whatsoever did this commit me to buying the car or agreeing to a price for the car. So they deceived me right from the start. I shall make sure I get the whole deal sorted out in advance and in writing next time. I have never dealt with a situation where a car is brought up from another dealership. So I will know in future. I think in Scotland even verbal agreements are binding so they should not have mislead me the way they did.

    I have still not signed anything and to date they still have not provided me with any paperwork of the breakdown of what I am paying for. I should have demanded it all in writing right from the start. It seems a shoddy way for a reputable dealership to conduct a sale. At least I shall know next time round. Thank you for your speedy response.

    • A verbal agreement is difficult unless you have proof of what was agreed. The dealer could easily turn around and say that their recollection of any verbal agreement is entirely the opposite of what you are saying. Unless you have a genuinely independent witness to verify what was said (which is unlikely as any witness would likely be with you or working for the dealer, so they’re not going to be independent), all you can refer to is what’s on paper.

      If you have not signed anything, you may have some chance of seeing some or all of your money back if you kick up enough fuss with the dealer and Citroen UK about how you feel the sale was conducted. But if the dealer has already done any work in fitting the hoist or other vehicle preparation, they’re very unlikely to co-operate.

  75. I suppose what I should do is just forget the whole thing and let the patronising, arrogant Manager get his own way. If he is happy with what has happened I actually feel very sorry for him. I just want to ask him “When I said , oh I see what you have done – you have knocked off about £500 of the car and thrown in the servicing for free. I want to ask him why he allowed me to think that was what he had done if it was not.” To me that is deceitful. And as far as someone throwing things in my basket at a shop and them being free would be acceptable but sneaking them in then charging me for them is again extremely deceitful. Certainly no way to treat a vulnerable customer. I know it all happened because of them swapping salesman during the sales procedure but even so it is still very unfair to me as the customer.

    • That may all be true, but you are still responsible for signing a contract and paying a deposit. You didn’t have to do either of those things, and you made it clear that you were not happy with their conduct before you agreed to purchase the vehicle.

  76. I went to a dealership and looked at a Citroen Berlingo. The dealer told me he could get me this car in an Automatic version from another branch. I said I needed to do some research and think about it. I went home and the next day I telephoned to say I would like to test drive the automatic. I paid £100 for them to get the car up from another branch. I was told that this was refundable. I made it clear to the salesman that the part exchange and final price of the car still needed negotiating and that in no way was I agreeing to buy the car at the full advertised price.

    The car arrived and I went down to test drive it. The price of the car was shown as £16,998. I had not had the chance to negotiate the price I was willing to pay as I was waiting to know what they would pay for my 2009 Nissan Pixo N-Tech. I had discussed that I was having a hoist fitted and that the car would be exempt from VAT and that they would need to arrange the hoist fitting prior to delivery and include the hoist in the price. Then a different salesman took over – it was the manager and I assumed he was aware of how far we had got. I told him I wouldn’t be prepared to buy the car for any more than around £16,100. He went away and came back. The price on the computer looked to me as if the VAT had been removed and the hoist added. I said “Oh I see what you have done. You have reduced the car by around £500 and thrown in the servicing free of charge so I am happy with that because that brings the price down to what I wanted. I am happy with that.” I assumed that because everything worked out to what I expected the price to be including the £1050 for the wheelchair hoist that the cost of the hoist had been included but I didn’t say that because the sale had already been arranged to include the hoist with the salesman I had been dealing with. NOW AT THIS POINT if what I sad was not accurate he had a legal obligation to correct me. The reason I was saying it was to make sure I had understood what was happening. Now my original salesman returned and I said I was happy and I wanted to pay the deposit so that the hoist could be fitted prior to delivery. Just as I was leaving a heard the trainee salesman say something to my original salesman and I didn’t catch what had been said. The original salesman answered saying the price of the hoist hasn’t been added yet. I was already getting up to leave and as I left the showroom alarm bells were ringing. I sat in the car and worked everything out. I made my Carer take me back in. The manager who was the man who had taken over and confused the whole process was quite patronising to me. He asked me what the purpose of my visit today was. I said, “I came to test drive a car and, if I was happy with the car, to negotiate a price for that car and the part exchange value.” He said to me so you had already agreed to buy the car. I said, “No I had not agreed a price.” The manager had taken over the sale mid way. He did not need to be so patronising to me.

    At this stage I was writing everything down on paper as I also had during the sale. The manager was reading what I had written as he had been during the sale. He pointed out that I had worked out the VAT incorrectly. I had worked out the VAT reduction incorrectly as I am used to starting with a net price and having to ADD VAT not take VAT off products. I apologised for my mistake with the VAT calculation. It just so happened that the price of the hoist came to the same amount as my around £500 mistake with the VAT, the tax of £140, and the servicing of £300. I would have expected to NOT have items added to my bill unless those items had been discussed. It turned out he had added £25 for petrol, the servicing had been added and I had assumed this had been thrown in free as we had not discussed whether I wanted it or not.

    I still want the car. I am just not happy with the way this sale was conducted. I was tricked into paying full price for the vehicle because the sale was taken over by the manager mid way through the sale. What idiot pays the full price displayed on the windscreen of a car!! I am no idiot and so I DON’T. Or rather NEVER have up until now being tricked into it. What can I do? I have so far paid £3,100 in deposits. I don’t think things should have been added to my bill without discussion with me. I don’t even know how many services are covered. I could be dead (I have two terminal diagnoses) before the services are due and the car may not even belong to me by that time! I confirm I want the car. I just feel I have been tricked into paying the full price. The car had 10 miles on the clock and is a pre-registered vehicle – registered September 2017. So over 7 months of the guarantee is lost, over 7 months of the MOT exemption period is lost and also in effect the car is over 7 months old already – it is irrelevant to the value of the car that it has only done 10 miles. What do you suggest I do? I feel the manager was very rude and patronising to me. Maybe he thinks all women are stupid, or maybe he assumes I am because I am disabled. I don’t know. I think he would be pretty mad with his wife if she came home and told him that she had paid the FULL asking price for a car which is over 7 months old!

    • Hi Jadie. Ultimately, most of your issues centre around what you believe should have or have not happened. However, the only thing that matters is what the contract says. If you signed a contract and/or gave the dealer a deposit, you have agreed to whatever that contract says. Verbal discussions or your own personal notes are not relevant; the only thing that matters is a contract signed by both parties.

      You can demand that they remove the servicing from the contract, and you can even insist that they remove the £25 charge for petrol, and they’ll probably agree to it. But from the moment you gave the dealer £100 to bring the car in, you were effectively buying it at whatever the advertised price was.

      You may be right that the staff at the dealership were being deceitful, patronising and rude. But if that was the case, you should have simply left rather than agreeing to buy a car from them. Ultimately, you can complain to the dealer principal/general manager about their conduct. You can also contact Citroën UK’s head office in Coventry and complain about the dealership. That might get you some sort of compensation or support, but it won’t cancel the purchase.

  77. Hi There,

    I ordered a new Audi from main dealer PCP deal 4 yrs.
    car has been twice back with them due to alarm kicking off randomly. They cannot fix it and are trying to speak to Audi executive office, I have demanded rejection and 4K deposit back but dealer is still waiting to hear from Audi office..
    Can I get my deposit money back? This has happened with
    Twice in the first month and now again within 6 months..

    • Hi Jon. It’s probably not sufficient grounds to reject the car under the Consumer Rights Act, unless the alarm is disabling the car from being driven. It’s certainly inconvenient and annoying, but if the car still works properly then it would be difficult to argue that the whole car should be considered faulty. It sounds like a car with a fault, not a faulty car.

      Certainly, you should expect it to be fixed under your new car warranty. You may have to keep hassling the dealer and, if necessary, Audi UK’s head office in Milton Keynes to get it resolved. When dealers can’t immediately fix a problem, it tends to get pushed backwards in the queue until the owner loses patience and starts kicking off. Ultimately, if the dealer and Audi can’t fix the problem then you should be arguing for a replacement vehicle. However, this is likely to be a negotiation between you and the dealership, rather than rejecting the car under the Consumer Rights Act.

  78. Hi, we’re in a predicament. We ordered a used car and signed the agreement and paid a deposit. Next day we went and signed the finance agreement and we were told we had 14 days to change our mind. We were expecting delivery of the car on a certain date 7 days later. They couldn’t delivery it because the paperwork was in the post. Our car we were part exchanging in broke down that weekend and we didn’t have delivery date for the new car. In the end we bought another car because we were desperate and we thought we could cancel the used car as it was only 7 days since we ordered it. The finance company said..fine get the garage to unwind the agreement. After talking to the FSA it seems I have two agreements and might have to ‘buy the car anyway’? It was not explained to us on sale. I put down £500 deposit and paid a further £1500 and was going to p/e my car. Will I ‘have’ to buy the car? It’s so confusing and it’s £27 K !

    • Hi Alison. Your finance contract and the vehicle purchase are two separate agreements. Confusingly, you have a 14-day cooling-off period on the finance contract but you don’t get a cooling-off period on the vehicle purchase (since you can choose to pay for it any way you like).

      You have cancelled the finance agreement, but that doesn’t cancel the vehicle purchase. In theory, the dealer can insist that you proceed with the purchase and find the funds from elsewhere. You can’t really use the usual excuse of financial hardship, since you have now gone and bought another car elsewhere.

      In reality, it would be difficult for the dealer to insist that you proceed with the order and demand the full £27,000 from you. they’d have to try and take legal action against you, and the legal costs would probably wipe out any profit they’d make in the sale – and that’s assuming they won the case.

      However, they are unlikely to be interested in returning your £2,000 deposit without a fight. You may have to take legal advice of your own if you want to see any of that again.

  79. Hello I payed a deposit on a vehicle 2 months ago £500 signed by both parties . the vehicle needed some work and an MOT and a service and this work has still not been done 2 months on
    I now need to move on and get another vehicle am I entitled for my deposit to be returned thank you

    • Hi Frank. Two months seems a long time for “some work, an MOT and a service”, so there may well be a much more serious issue.

      Your vehicle contract should have a clause regarding delivery dates in the T&Cs. Usually the dealer has 28 days from the originally-advised date to deliver the car or else you can cancel and get your deposit back.

  80. Hi. Just looking for some advice.
    I went to view a car, paid a deposit of £240 and signed a form at a car dealers.

    I asked why their was a penny wheel on one of the wheels instead of a proper wheel. I was told it was due to a puncture. So the agreement was for the tyre and seat to be fixed as stated on the signed form. Then the car would be delivered in a weeks time.

    A day before car was to be delivered, the seller tells me the alloy of the punctured tyre is cracked so they have left it off. I told them I was not informed of any issues with the alloy, just a puncture. Otherwise I would not have purchased it as getting a single alloy is going to cost me extra money. The seller said he’d only just found out about the crack himself which is why I wasn’t informed until now. I asked for it to be fixed and they refused, I asked for money to be knocked off, they refused. So I told them I’d rather have my deposit back as I no longer want the car. I was told I signed a form that states the deposit is non-refundable so cant have it back. And seeing as I no longer want the car it will be re-advertised asap. Any chance of getting it back my deposit back? This conversation was via txt so I have proof of the seller saying he wasn’t aware of the cracked alloy which is why it wasn’t mentioned to me.

    • Hi Mandy. If the dealer has disclosed a fault with the car after your order but prior to delivery and refused to fix it, you should be able to cancel your order and get your money back.

  81. Hi Stuart,

    Hope you can help, I want to a car dealer, wanted a Nissan Note, the car was not available in the dealer shop. I was told to come along to machine shop (Which was just across the road), the car is been worked on and I asked the guy when the car will be ready (was told the following day and he will call me to pick it).

    I did put down a £500 deposit and read the contract no mentioned of deposit not to be returned.
    I called the same day to cancel and I also send the email but was told deposit will not be returned.
    The car was for my mum (her name was on the contract)

    What can I do?

  82. Hi thanks for your reply, I have another query if possible? I payed the deposit and my deposit receipt says that the car will be held for 7 days and that it can be collected on Friday 6th April so far I’ve head nothing from the dealer, if its not ready for collection on the a green date am I allowed to pull out of the deal and have my deposit refunded?

    • Your contract (vehicle order form) will specify your rights in this regard. Usually it states that the dealer has 28 days from the originally-stated date before you can cancel the deal.

  83. Hi there, I visited a used car dealership yesterday and payed a deposit of £150 on a car. The car was listed on gumtree for £1795 however we negotiated a deal that I would pay £1895 if the seller had the timing belt kit replaced. I’ve since seen that the seller had the car listed elsewhere for £1795 and in the description stated that that price of £1795 would include the timing belt change. I now want to pull out of the deal as I feel that I’ve been overcharged £100.would I loose my deposit?

  84. Hi there, we went to a dealership and told the rep that we had had a problem with debt. He asked if we had been paying all that had been agreed to since then and we confirmed that we had. He said there shouldnt be a problem getting the credit. We paid a £100 deposit for a car but creidt was declined. Are we able to get our money back?

    • Hi Pauline. Yes, you should be able to get your deposit back without any problems, unless the dealer wants to be a difficult so-and-so. They can’t realistically expect you to buy a car if you can’t get credit, so they should just refund your money and move onto their next customer.

  85. Hi, I have ordered new car in January and paid £1000 deposit with planned delivery date week commencing 12th of March. car has been delayed and date changed few times now with the latest being after 10th of April. Can I cancel the order now and get full deposit back?

    • Hi Izabela. Have a look at your vehicle order form and it should explain your rights if the delivery of the car is delayed beyond a certain period. Usually it’s 28 days – after that you are entitled to cancel the contract and get a full refund.

  86. Hi Stuart, Yesterday I went to see the car I wanted to buy. I have checked almost everything, but when I came back home and research I found that I did not check few very important things. Also during the check on DVLA I found that car recently has outstanding recall. I already have payed deposit of £300. Tomorrow I am going to check car again and hopefully buying it. I would like to ask if I will find something I would not like can I ask for my deposit back? I payed through internet banking

    • Hi Vika. You can certainly ask the dealer to arrange the recall work to be done before you collect the car, or you can book it in to be done yourself after you have taken delivery. Recalls happen, and as long as the work is done, there’s no reason for concern.

      If you have paid a deposit before checking all the things you wanted to check, that’s not the dealer’s fault. You would only have cause to ask for a refund if the car is not as advertised or faulty in a way that was not evident when you inspected it.

  87. I recently paid a deposit of £750 for a second hand car at a car dealer & signed an order form. The transaction was carried out at the car dealers office. When I returned to collect the car at a later date I inspected the car again and found that some fairly significant (but not obvious) damage to the roof had been missed during the initial visit because the car was wet and conditions were dull. The dealer even verbally agreed that the damage would not have been seen during the initial visit. The dealer offered to repair but my view was that if this damage had been noticed (or pointed out by them) during the initial visit I would not have paid a deposit and proceeded with the purchase. The dealer refused to refund the deposit. Where do I stand – is there protection from the consumer good act, ie car is not of satisfactory quality?

    • If you’ve looked at the car and failed to notice damage, you can’t really complain about it afterwards. If the dealer has offered to rectify it, I’d accept the offer.

  88. Hi Stuart, I paid £1000 holding deposit for a Mini Countryman, I never went to the Mini (Park Lane) Dealership, it was all done over the phone/email. I have electronically signed two documents: Demands & Needs, Finance Disclaimer and an Used Vehicle Order Form. I’m just wondering if I would be able to get the £1000 back or not, if not all but at least some of it. Thank you.

  89. Hi Stuart,
    I recently ordered a new car through drivethedeal.com and paid a deposit of £500. I have signed a customer order form with the dealer that was sent to me by email and filled in a TRACS form. Both were sent back by post. The car is due mid April. My financial circumstances have changed unexpectedly and I now need to cancel my order. Will my deposit be refunded?

    • Hi Sajid. If you paid the deposit of £500 to the broker, then probably not. If it was to the dealer, who is actually selling you the car, then yes you should be entitled to your deposit back.

  90. Hi, I have been to a VW main dealership and put a deposit on a car that has to be sent over from another garage. It’s been two weeks and I’ve now received a phone call to say they will have to get another car in stock as my one is no longer available. I paid £250 deposit to secure the car, are they allowed to sell it to someone else? If so, why did I need to put a deposit in the first place?

    • Hi Natalie. This happens all the time and is usually a case of two people in two locations buying the same car at the same time and it’s only a day or so later when the paperwork is being completed that they realise what’s happened. One customer has to get the phone call with the bad news, but I’m not sure why it has taken them two weeks to do so. Presumably, they have been trying to find another similar car to replace it.

      You are entitled to have your deposit back and walk away, or you can let them try to find you a suitable replacement. However, you are entitled to negotiate a better deal this time around rather than accepting whatever they offer. Your old contract is now void, so you are free to drive a harder bargain and use the leverage that they have been messing you around for more than a fortnight.

  91. Hi thanks nope this information just another question, if I had signed an order form and we agreed on a finance agreement but the finance company had changed this and I said I I wanted to cancel it what can happen to my deposit.

  92. I recently went to a Vauxhall garage to buy my son a Corsa which was advertised as a Used vehicle, there was a sticker on the windscreen stating it was awaiting appraisal of repairs, we asked for the keys and started the engine up and it sounded very rough, they assured me this was in need of a coil pack and would be fitted the interior was in immaculate condition and the outside had scuffs to the passenger door, which they assured me would be done also, I was trading my car in and purchasing a newer car for myself and this corsa as a first time car for my son, the other car was in the compound only just come in but was in a very dirty state with badly scratched alloys to both sides of the vehicle and a chunk missing out of the tyre, again they assured me this would all be done, I was unable to test drive any of the cars, I said I would have both vehicles and left a deposit of £100 on each, today we went to test drive the vehicles which is a week since I left a deposit, the sales person was not in who we dealt with, however the vehicles had not had done to them what was originally promised, the scratches to the corsa looks like it has been dabbed with paint of a different red and is blotchy and feels like sandpaper, and the new vehicle the alloys look worse than ever as it is now not in the compound and I can see the other side, I am probably stupid for buying a vehicle without test driving this but I have emailed them today asking for my deposit back and stating I no longer want the cars, I have rang the showroom and asked to speak to a manager but I have still not had any response, I never signed any paperwork and the deal was going to be cash on collection, where do I stand with this

    • Hi Janine. You don’t have any paperwork where the dealer has confirmed what level of repairs would be conducted, only a verbal promise from a salesman (which is worth nothing). The dealership may try to be difficult, particularly if they think they are going to lose two sales at the end of the month, but you should fight to get either your deposits back or for the cars to be prepared to an appropriate standard.

  93. Hi. Hoping you can offer some advice. I recently paid a £500 deposit for a car from an Audi dealership. I live in Scotland and the dealership is in England. The transaction was carried out over the phone last Friday. I agreed to pay for delivery costs to Scotland and an add-on treatment for the car. They sent me the video of the car today (which they were supposed to send me yesterday but I had to chase). 4 days in however and the dealer called me to say that today (Tuesday), after checking, the car has been ‘condemned.’ The costs of getting the car fit for sale, he advised, exceed £4000 at which point Audi condemns the car. Now for various reasons, I am extremely doubtful about this. The car has very low mileage, 1 owner and was ex-PCP. Effectively, Audi have agreed to sell me a car which they are now no longer prepared to sell me. I have put the wheels in motion to sell my own car. I will now need to let my buyer down. Just wondering how to proceed with this one. As well as being extremely disappointed, I would like to know if Audi have acted legally and ‘above board’ in selling a car that wasn’t (so they say) in a saleable condition. Have they the right to pull out of the sale?

    • Hi Katie. I suspect that the term “condemned” is simply how Audi and its dealers describe a car that is going to cost more than is feasible to meet Audi’s used car standards and be sold through an Audi dealership, so they will ship it off to auction and it will be bought by an independent garage, popping up on sale in a few weeks’ time somewhere else in the country.

      There could be any number of reasons for this – the car could have been damaged and require repairs, it may not have been serviced according to schedule or it may have some mechanical issues that they don’t want to have to fix in order to sell it. Of course, if it’s a diesel Audi that you were trying to buy, it’s entirely possible that it’s been properly broken by the Volkswagen/Audi/SEAT/Skoda “fix” applied to dieselgate cars. VW swears that the fix doesn’t cause any problems, but they’re lying.

      In short, yes they can pull out of the sale. The car would have been advertised as soon as the dealership got its hands on it, and it’s probably only sometime later that the car went into the workshop to have an inspection where they have discovered whatever problems there may be.

      Basically, you should be glad to get your deposit back. Either the car has problems, which may or may not ever be properly fixed, or the dealer is lying to you about what’s really going on and therefore you don’t want to be buying a car from them anyway.

  94. Hello . I looked at a car and as it was far away the dealership agreed for me to put down a 100 refundable deposit to hold the car. I had this in an e mail from them that it was refundable. I visited and test drove the car. After this my partner looked and found a number of vaults with the car and I wanted my deposit back. What are my rights? They agreed for it to be refundable and I have it in writing that it was meant to be.
    So frustrating. Sarah

  95. Hi
    Saw car in dealers but it was faulty and couldn’t drive it . They said they would fix seat problem. Test drove another car same model. Left £ 250 DEPOSIT on debit card . Asked and reassured cooling off period and deposit refundable and twice confirmed this is the case. This was a Saturday. Monday morning rang them advised changed my mind. Asked for refund. Haven’t said no just dragging feet. Took details of card again to return money . Weeks later no refund.The contract was never signed by them and has a fictious date of birth on it ? Am I like to have a right to get deposit back . Thanks Lisa

    • Hi Elizabeth. You will just have to keep nagging them, daily, to repay your deposit. Unfortunately, the default position for a lot of dealerships seems to be to ignore you for as long as possible in the hope that you will give up and go away.

  96. Hi Stuart,

    Two weeks ago i put £200 deposit on a car i saw online to bring it to branch near me. After a week and sending the e-mail i get a call from salesman that he said that the car was sold in different branch and that i will get a refund soon, so i put deposit on other car in same company, with exactly the same situation and again after few days they give me a call and said that this car has been sold as well. Now, last week i ordered another car and transfer previous deposit, after waiting a week i saw that the car is no longer available on a website when i e-mailed them, i get an information that car probably has been sold and that i will get more information when the car should be in branch near me. On a terms of paying that deposit, it was said that the car will be ‘reserved’. If i paid that deposit and car should be reserved, can dealer still show this car to other and sell it?
    Thanks in advance

    • Hi Anna. If it is a large dealer group with multiple sites, then this happens quite a lot – although you’ve been unlucky to have it happen three times now. There may be thousands of people looking at the dealer’s stock on any day, so inevitably there will be situations where two (or more) people will sign a contract or place a deposit on the same car at the same time.

      Dealers will always prefer to sell cars in stock on site rather than moving them around, as it’s cheaper. If a dealer has two customers who have both reserved the same car and one of them is local while the other is hundreds of miles away, the local buyer will usually win.

      However, once a specific site has been notified that another branch has taken a deposit on one of their vehicles, they should not be able to continue offering that car to other buyers. It’s difficult to keep on top of, especially at weekends when the sales departments are busiest and there are usually no admin staff to record which vehicles have been sold.

  97. Hi Stuart,

    I put down a £500 deposit on a car! We agreed a price and i singed the paperwork for what i was going to pay. A couple of days later I received a call from the finance company saying that monthly fee’s have gone up around 30%. I could not afford this so i emailed the company numerous times saying i cannot afford the extra money per month. Can i get my deposit back as the monthly fees are not what i signed for?

  98. hello Stuart,

    I went to visit a second hand dealer on saturday and paid £300.00 deposit, did not get to test drive the car because it did not have a valid mot. Which they stated on their site it was with mot. On monday after I checked some photos taken i realise i do not wish to proceed with the sale. Am I entitled to my deposit back.

    • Hi Melissa. It’s quite common for dealers to not get the MOT inspection done until the car has been sold, then get it done in the days before you actually take delivery of the car. It’s not usually anything problematic, simply good business practice. If, for whatever reason, the car doesn’t sell, it will go off to a dealer auction and another dealer will buy it, so the first dealer will have paid for an MOT for nothing.

      From a customer’s point of view, it means that the MOT will last a full 12 months. If the dealer had the MOT done when they first put the car on sale, but then it sat there for three months before you came along and bought it, you’d only get nine months.

      As for whether you’re entitled to your deposit back, that would depend on what grounds you don’t wish to proceed.

  99. Thank you Stuart for your reply, its very appreciated. Yes he has a list of “alleged” vehicles still for sale on two car selling sites. He screens all calls and calls back without answering the phone direct. We now have a surname and two possible business names but I cannot find anything about these business anywhere, I expect they are alias’s. My hubby called and left a message for him to call back but he hasn’t done so and he still has not refunded our money.
    I was going to go to the bank but everything I read points out that because my hubby authorised the transfer we are not covered, even though as you say it now has become a “theft” issue as is my understanding aswell. I would like to send him an email with some legal terms, as well as the theft comment. Could you tell me what the correct “Act” is legally if this applies to us please? I’m also thinking auction fraud is a good place to report him as well. But we don’t want to run the risk of him going undercover. thanks again for your reply… Michelle :)

  100. i cant believe how often this happens reading through the posts but we have just been ripped off by a dealer and wonder if u can lead me in the right direction of our legal rights and the terminology needed to write to him. we agreed to purchase a vehicle online paid £500 deposit. agreed we would collect vehicle today. received text sat night from dealer to say this car has now been sold. refused to answer our calls yesterday. today we got a hold of him and he is refusing to refund our deposit. surely this is theft. Did we not enter a verbal contract when we paid him the deposit. do we have any redress through the bank as it was a bank transfer? hubby has already lost a lot of time and money on this and just says to leave it. but if this guy has done this to us hes done it to others and I want to take it further. Im so furuous right now! can i report his business to action fraud? I also wish to write to the online page he is selling his vehicles on. We only have a first name and his online selling name plus email address.

    • Hi Michelle. If the dealer has taken your deposit for the purchase of the vehicle and then cannot proceed to sell you the vehicle (for whatever reasons they may have), then they need to give you your deposit back.

      He sounds like a devious character, so I’d be reporting him to the police as it sounds like blatant theft. If he is a dealer and advertising his vehicles on a vehicle search site, I’d be writing to them as well.

  101. Hi Stuart, my apologies if this question has been asked before but I would like to ask for your advice on an approved used car that I have paid a deposit of £1000 on.

    I am very happy to continue with the purchase of the car but my funds to complete it will not be available at the end of the month as agreed with the dealership but rather 2 weeks into the following month.

    I understand why they were eager to complete the sale by the end of the month for their targets but can they now keep my deposit and sale the car to someone else? Or do I have the right to ask them to wait 2 weeks for the funds to clear?

    Many Thanks,


    • Hi Mark. If the dealer wants to break the contract and sell the car to someone else, they will be obliged to give you your deposit back. However, it’s much more likely that they will have a bit of a sulk that they won’t get the extra number on the board this month and roll it over into next month instead. These things happen all the time.

  102. Hi Stuart,
    Being a foreigner I am not that much familiar with the rules of buying a car in the UK – so I visited a dealership during the weekend and spotted a car that i liked. I gave a ‘holding deposit’ of £500 on it which the sales person told me was fully refundable – it was given to hold the car until Monday.
    I was there with my spouse and we both think we were led to believe that the deposit is fully refundable.
    Now after reading your article I am really upset as it seems that the deposit may not be refundable at all…. i feel that i was pushed into something that i was not fully aware of and agreed to purchase the car without realizing it.
    Please can you let me know what my options are here?

    • Hi Margot. Have you actually tried to claim the refund and now been told that it’s not refundable? From the sound of it, you are worrying before you’ve actually asked for a refund. You may find that they do refund your money without question.

  103. Hi Stuart,
    Can you clarify if the right to your deposit back from a dealer (when the sale is conducted over the phone/internet), is only available if you cancel the purchase within 14 days of paying the deposit. Does the right to recover your deposit lapse if more than 14 days (from payment of deposit) have passed under the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013?

    • Hi Noreen. My understanding is that, yes, you have 14 days to cancel your purchase and get your deposit back, but it’s worth checking with legalbeagles.info as they will be able to give you a better explanation of the law.

      Obviously there needs to be a time limit, otherwise the dealer is left holding stock for an indefinite period that they have paid for but can’t sell to get their money back.

  104. Hi I seen a car on line Auto trader i am from Germany the person on the ph said put a holding dep and when you get in at the airport i pick you up at 9.45pm you can test drive it to the yard and if you like it we can do the payer work.
    But then i gave them my flight info paid for the ticket then they sent me a email they can not pick me up go and get a hotel and come to your yard the next day. I was a little upset so i said i want my money back all they said sent the managerment a email thats it so have i got the rights for my refund as i called then from Germany never seen the car thanks Gary

    • Hi Gary. Yes, since the business was conducted over the phone rather than in person at the dealership, you have the right to your deposit back. That doesn’t mean that the dealership will play along happily, however, so you may have to fight them to get it. Being located overseas obviously makes that more difficult, unfortunately.

  105. Hi Stuart,

    Thanks for the article. I was wondering if you could help on our case.

    we saw a car online, liked it and went to the dealer for viewing on Sunday. The car was on preparation in a different site so could not view the car. We deposited a sum of 250£ at the dealer office and reserved it. Salesman told us he will get the car within 2 days but wasn’t. My wife was expecting in a week so we panicked. No sign of the car until Thursday. On Friday they called me saying the car was available in their site. The visit was scheduled Sat morning. But Friday evening, we had a viewing with a different dealer, we liked the car and bought it. As the car was bought, we did not visit the previous dealer next morning and told them over phone that we have bought a car and would like to get our refund back. Salesman told us that manager will give us a call. After a week, the manager told us that we will not get the refund because the car was available for us to view and buy but since we did not view the car and rejected it, we are not getting the refund.
    Could you please advise us on this matter ?
    Kind Regards

    • Hi Navin. If you went to a dealership and gave them money to buy a car, then they are probably entitled to keep your deposit. If you then chose to go elsewhere and buy another car, that’s your problem.

      You can try arguing that they failed to have the car available when they said they would, and you will probably get the money back eventually if you keep persisting. But they are probably not obliged to give it back.

  106. Hi Stuart

    I visited a dealership and discussed pcp deals. There and then, i decided they they were too expensive and to not purchase.

    Several days later a different salesman called me and offered me a contract hire deal. After a few telephone calls discussing the deal i agreed to proceed and put down a deposit.

    I decided after about 6 days that contract hire was
    not the right deal for me, and advised the dealership that i do not wish to proceed and want my deposit back. I did quote the relevent legislation relating to distance selling.

    Am i entitled to my deposit back? Contract hire was never discussed when i was on site at my intial visit to the dealership and the entirety of that deal took place over the phone. I never even met that salesman face to face who offered the contract hire deal.

    Best wishes, Terry

    • Hi Terry. Yes, you should be able to cancel the contract within 14 days and get your deposit back under the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013.

  107. Hi Stuart, my apologies if this question has been asked in the above comments but I’d like your view on a situation I am now in with a car I was looking to purchase. I had planned to finance a car through a dealership due to their low APR rate. They have helped me pick a car of my choice and had planned to purchase on my behalf from another separate dealership. To reserve the car I paid a £500 deposit and after receiving the finance documents/terms and conditions I became aware that my financial situation over the term of the contract may change and as a result I chose to cancel the sale of the car (not signing anything) and have asked the sales team for my deposit to be returned. All communications have been carried out over the phone by myself and the company I have been looking to finance through. Am I entitled to my deposit back? It has been a week since I paid the deposit.

  108. Hi, on Nov 8th I paid a £100 deposit on a second-hand car on the basis that the seller puts a brand new MOT on the vehicle, on the 9th of Nov the seller contacted me to say the car
    had failed the MOT and as it would cost too much to repair the vehicle they would refund my deposit, I have contacted the seller 6 times over the past month for my deposit only
    to be given excuse after excuse, one time they asked for my sort code and bank account so that they could do a bank transfer, as of today I have still not received the refund, I
    contacted the seller today only to be given more excuses and told if I didn’t like it to go to trading standards?

    • Hi Richard. There is no real problem with the first part of your story – the car failed an MOT and the dealer decided it was too expensive to fix so offered to refund your money. It happens, especially on lower-priced used cars.

      The second part of the story, however, suggests that the dealership is a fairly dodgy operation. They are clearly hoping that you will give up and go away rather than keep fighting for your £100 back. The only solution is to keep hassling them, two or three times a day if necessary. You can complain to Trading Standards, but it is unlikely to help you get your money back.

  109. Hi Stuart,

    We purchased a new Mazda 2 from a dealership and have paid a 500 pound deposit. We took advantage of a scrappage deal on our old car which was at the garage in repair. We contacted the repair garage to say we just wanted them to make the car start and not do any other repairs but it had already been sent elsewhere that day and we have had to pay a 400 pound repair bill. We have not changed our mind about the Mazda purchase (the actual vehicle is not yet in the dealership but will be in a few days) but we would rather not take possession of it and start the finance deal until we have done a planned 600 mile journey to Europe and back in the old car so that at least we are getting something for our money before it is scrapped! Are we legally obliged to pick up the car as soon as it arrives or can we ask them to keep it for us for a few weeks?


    • Hi Nicola. I understand that you are annoyed about the £400 repair bill, but if you car is going to be scrapped anyway, you may as well take delivery of your new car and enjoy what is presumably a more comfortable and safer experience on your trip to Europe.

      The dealer will be highly motivated for you to take your new car as soon as possible – they tend not to take kindly to customers wanting to wait “for a few weeks” before taking delivery. Legally, there will an obligation set out in your sales contract as to how long you have to take delivery of the vehicle.

  110. Hi, I wonder if you could help? We recently viewed a horsebox advertised by a private seller. We liked the box and verbally agreed that we wanted to purchase it and agreed a price. We then left. During the evening I received a message to say that someone else viewed the box after us and also wAnted to purchase it. The owner asked if we could pay a deposit to hold the box. We agreed and paid £500 and said we would hopefully pick up the box the following weekend and pay the full amount. She said this would be fine. We decided to have a pre purchase inspection done on the box – due to access and light restrictions this could only be done at the weekend. This potentially may have delayed the sale by 24hrs. The owner pulled the box off the market saying that we had agreed Saturday for picking the box up and she would incur costs if it wasn’t. Due to these costs she has refused to refund our deposit. My argument is that the deposit was a holding deposit only – there was no specific reference to a purchase date at this point and she actually broke the contract. Is this correct and am I entitled to a refund?

    • Hi Sue. If it’s a private seller, you have zero rights and it’s all a matter of argument.
      I’m not sure how the seller can have incurred £500 of costs from holding onto the box for an extra couple of days, but that’s fairly irrelevant. From what you said, you had a verbal agreement with a private seller, so you have no rights or comeback. Even if you had a written agreement, it’s hardly legally-binding and you’d spend more than that trying to chase them via the legal system to get it back.
      To be fair, you appear to have thrown in the pre-purchase inspection condition after the sale was agreed, so you have changed the agreement not her. Maybe she doesn’t want the box inspected because she knows there’s something wrong with it?
      You can argue, threaten, beg, reason or do whatever you like to convince her to return your money, but you don’t appear to have any right to have it back.

  111. Hi Stuart,
    I’ve put a deposit on a used car when Indaw it at a dealership. The car was advertised as free of damage. When I came back to make the payment and to collect the car I saw body repairs which have not been done well. I have decided to not buy it as I have not seen these repairs during my first visit. Can I still get my deposit back?
    Many thanks for your comment.

  112. Hi Stuart i am about to order a new car got finance approved. Dealer wants a holding deposit for the car. I assume this will be refunded once i collect the car ?

    • Hi Calum. That depends on how your payment for the vehicle is structured if you are financing through the dealership. It is rare for 100% of the purchase price to be financed, so you will need to look at what you have been quoted under “customer deposit” on your finance quote. This is the amount you will be expected to pay up front, including any holding deposit.

  113. Hi Stuart, I paid deposit for car but later i discovered the seats were not comfortable. I advise the salesman and he sold the car to someone else, and now he is refusing to refund my deposit. Please advise

  114. Hi Stuart. I test drove a used car and paid £5000 deposit for a car that costs £46,500. the dealer was going to look for finance on behalf of me and I signed pre order form based on 6.3% APR . Now the dealer can’t get me that rate and offered 8.11% APR. I refused and asked for the deposit to be paid back but the dealer refuses to pay back my deposit. Can they do that?

    • Hi Clirim. There’s no legal basis for a “pre-order form”, so you’ve either signed a contract (order form) or a meaningless piece of paper. If you’ve signed an order form for the vehicle, it’s not connected to the finance so you’ve still bought the car.

      A dealer can quote you any number they like for finance, but it’s ultimately up to the finance company to make you a formal offer of finance. Ultimately, you’re going to have to fight hard to get your money back, and because it’s a significant sum of money, the dealer will do whatever they can to avoid repaying it.

  115. I have been in touch with Trading Standards, since he cancelled the sale and is refusing to refund me now. He however did call on Monday and offer me an additional £200 off the car, I guess the people who wanted it no longer want it. Any suggestions on how I can get my money back?

  116. Hi, I put down a deposit of £300 for a car and then was told I needed a payslip. I’m a director of a new company and had no need for payslips or PAYE yet. The dealer insisted I take the car on credit since he has low margins and his commission on the finance is his profit. Cut a long story short, I contacted my accountant to get this sorted for him and I told him I will sort it out today Wednesday which is 7 days later and the first day back from holiday for my accountant.

    Where do I stand, I’ve obviously tasked my accountant and will be charged by him, and want the car.

    My question I guess is can the dealer cancel my order. And secondly I believe i’m entitled to a refund.

    • Hi Mohammed. A dealer is absolutely not allowed to tell you how you must pay for your vehicle. If you are buying the car, it’s up to you how to pay for it. There may be additional incentives to take a finance package (like a deposit contribution), but a dealer can’t tell you that you have to take the car on their finance package or not take it at all.

      If he continues to insist, I’d be calling Trading Standards.

  117. Hi Stuart,
    I put a deposit down on a car with a local dealer that they were reserving from another branch. 2 days later I was called to say that the car had been sold at the other branch. I was informed that they could get the same spec car from a further dealer but it would be another three weeks until it arrived. As the delivery date arrived I called the dealer who informed me the car was not ready, it was in Germany! After further questioning it turns out that the second car had also fallen through and rather than tell me the dealer had ordered a car of the same spec from the manufacturer and it is currently still being built with no delivery date. I want to cancel as I have no trust in the dealer and wondered if I am legally entitled to my £1000 deposit back.

    • Hi Vanessa. If the contract was for a specific vehicle (the VIN is listed in the agreement), then the contract will be void if the dealer cannot deliver the vehicle. If the contract was not for a specific car, but for a specific specification, then that’s a different story. It will depend on whether a delivery date was specified – if they have missed that target then the contract will be void.

  118. Hi Stuart
    I paid for a £100 deposit to balance £400 on collection day,at a Toyota dealership in my town,signed order and finance form (0% finance) on saturday,by tuesday night -am convinced that I might have rushed and may not be able to afford monthly repayment. I contacted the salesman on his mobile,and he says the car has already been ordered and would be delivered in a few days. what are my options please as I do not wish to go on with the purchase just now. thanks

    • Hi Celestinne. If you cancel your order, the dealer will want to keep your deposit but there is not a lot they can practically do to force you to proceed. They can bully you or threaten legal action, but they are unlikely to proceed to court action as it’s not usually worth the expense.

  119. Hi I placed a deposit on a van subject to an AA inspection. The deposit was placed late Friday. The AA inspected the vehicle on the Monday. Mechanically the vehicle is fine However it’s 2014 vehicle which has not been taxed since February this year As there is a 7 month gap until now I a concerned where the vehicle has been / has it been in a crash etc. the vehicle was bought subject to me being happy with the AA report. I am not happy with the gap in dates and asked for a refund. The dealer has refused. Can he do this ?
    Many thx

    • Hi David. If the agreement was subject to an AA inspection, and the vehicle has satisfactorily passed that inspection, then your contract is valid and the dealer is right to expect you to proceed. You don’t need an AA inspection to discover that there was a seven-month gap in the road tax. There may be a reason that has nothing to do with any vehicle damage (maybe the previous owner lost his job/business, or was ill and unable to drive, or any other reason), but even if the vehicle had been involved in an accident and repaired, that’s not a valid reason to cancel the contract unless the dealer has lied about the vehicle history in response to your direct questions.

  120. i recently put a deposit on a car that needed work doing to my specification – however the garage 3 weeks later is now asking me to pay the remainder of the sum agreed before agreed work is carried out and will not budge – i have told the garage i am happy to pay 50% and then the remaining 50% on pick up of vehicle but they will not budge – where do i stand as i dont want to pay in full just in case the work carried out is not 100% satisfactory – we are at a standstill – am i entitled to my deposit back under these circumstances?

    • Hi Stephen. If your contract says that the dealer will do the work as part of the sale, then the payment terms would be the same as for any car sales contract – you pay a deposit upfront and the rest on (or just prior to) delivery.

      If the agreed work is not properly detailed in the contract, then it’s simply a matter of negotation.

  121. Thanks for the reply Stuart.

    Sorry, I wasnt very clear, but so far I haven’t signed any order forms or anything other than the test drive waiver. So far I’ve paid a £1000 deposit and they’ve sent me an order form to sign (which of course I haven’t as yet)

    • If you’ve given them a deposit, you’ve basically committed to buying their car. They may refund you the money eventually, but you’ll probably have to work for it.

  122. Hi Stuart,
    Great article, thanks for writing it.

    I wanted to check my assumptions on the following. I visited a VW dealership 10 days ago and took a model for a test drive. I then agreed terms with the sales guy on a different model (saloon rather than hatchback), and said I needed to get it approved by the wife – would be madness for me if she wasn’t consulted.

    So after getting the wife on board I rang up the garage to say it was all good, so he asked if he could take £1k payment to enable the order to be placed. I paid via debit card.

    Now, since then I’ve used a site like carwow, and have found the same model for 4K cheaper (I clearly didn’t negotiate very well). So you think I should cancel the order and attempt to get my deposit back, or should I try and re negotiate a price close to the one I found on line?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Hi Stephen. The dealership is under no obligation to renegotiate the contract you have signed. If you choose to go with a quote from Carwow, they are entitled to keep your deposit. They may be interested in dropping their price to keep the sale, or they could throw a lawyer at you, since you clearly intend to purchase a car from elsewhere when you have a valid, legally-binding contract.

  123. is my deposit transferable? i put down the £200 on a car i was considering buying, it says subject to viewing and test drive on the green form from the garage with my receipt. i have decided to go down the motability route. is my deposit transferable from the used car to the motability car?

  124. Hello, my husband is disabled physically, I have Aspergers (more about that later). we went to the Fiat dealer to view a particular car, but they didn’t have one there but charged us a refundable deposit of £200 and got us to sign a form to bring a used Fiat Qubo from another garage for us to test drive. We were clear to them at the time that we were considering a purchase or the Motability option. After the test drive, we did our maths and found the Motability was the best option. When I informed them, they said we couldn’t have our deposit back or count it towards the Motability upfront payment. Can they do this? I have since found Aspergers is not a gift but a vulnerability and the whole deal has left me seriously ill. We still need the Qubo so I have no choice to visit the same garage to get the Motability car.

    • Hi Debbie. In terms of liability for your deposit, it probably depends on the contract you signed. If there is nothing to suggest that the deposit was refundable if you didn’t like the car that they brought over, you probably can’t get it back.
      If you are purchasing a car via Motability through the same dealer, I would have thought that the dealer would allow you to transfer your deposit to that vehicle. If they don’t, I’d suggest contacting Fiat UK’s head office and making a complaint.

  125. Hi Stuart

    I have paid £300 deposit for my PCP agreement, I have signed all the documents etc. but the car was in different branch, around 40 miles away. They have told me that it will take them around 2/3 days to deliver and than I would complete the purchase. Unfortunately after a week and little communication from their side I called and ask about the car which still was not assigned to be transferred. I have told them that I want to cancel my order. Moreover I have asked to get my money back and they said it will not be a problem. It was almost two months ago and I still didn’t get my money back. Am i entitled to get my money back?
    Oh, and I got the call next day and they have told me that the car is ready for collection. Again I told them that I dont want it and I just want my money back.

    • Hi Mike. Legally, they probably don’t have to refund your money. The T&Cs on your vehicle contract probably makes reference to you being able to cancel if the dealer cannot deliver within 28 days of the indicated delivery date, so a week’s delay isn’t enough to trigger that.
      If you complain to the sales manager or dealer principal, you may eventually get a refund and an apology. But you probably can’t demand it from a legal point of view.

  126. Hi Stuart,

    We left a £250 deposit on a used car and was told that the dealer would touch in the scratches and stone chips. When we went to collect the car on the agreed date, the work was of a poor standard. The sales person admitted it looked worse than before and advised they would rectify it. Unfortunately I have lost faith in the dealership and no longer want the vehicle. I asked for our deposit back but they’ve refused. Am I likely to get the full refund back if they have breached the contract by not having the car ready on the agreed date?

    • Hi Olivia. It would depend on the dealership agreeing that they have breached the contract, and it’s a difficult argument for you to win. The contract presumably does not specify the standard of repair required, so the dealer can argue that the contract has not been breached.

  127. Hi Stuart, I paid a 2k deposit on a car at an Audi dealership in person today without seriously considering my financial situation, in other words I’ve bought it on a whim and now I’m having doubts about actually going through with the purchase. I only signed a credit check agreement form and all I was given was a cash receipt form. I haven’t signed any HP agreements or anything. Am I likely to get the deposit refunded if I tell them my financial status isn’t as healthy as I thought it was?

    • Hi Rob. If your finance application is rejected then you should get your deposit back without any hassle. If the application is accepted but you choose to cancel, you’ll probably lose your deposit.

  128. Help please, I’ve put a deposit down on a car at a well known dealers but unable to go through with sale as have been poorly and have to wait for a reply from dvla to clarify whether I can drive or not. Have I lost deposit?

  129. Hi Stuart, on Sunday I saw an advert for a car, phoned the dealer and gave a £250 reservation payment on my credit card to “hold” the car till I could travel to see it. The dealer said that in the mean time he would get the car mot’d and ready to go should I want to drive it away. On checking the ad and other information and consequently recontacting the dealer I have found that although described as having a sat nav, it doesn’t, that it’s failed it’s mot and that there’s outstanding finance on the vehicle taken out a couple of days before it went on sale plus I’ve not been able to contact the dealer since. Not surprisingly, I don’t have a good feeling about this, could I get my money back, thanks Simon

    • Hi Simon. If the car is not as advertised (satnav), then it’s pretty simple and you should be able to get your money back without hassle. Doesn’t mean that the dealer will play along happily, though…

      The MOT failure isn’t a reason to cancel the purchase if the failures are repaired before delivery. A car can fail its MOT for very minor reasons, so you should ask to see the MOT failure report and judge for yourself that the fix is acceptable. For example, if the car failed its MOT because of a worn tyre, you should insist that the dealer fits a new tyre that matches the other three rather than fitting a used tyre that doesn’t match. It’s still legal, but you should expect better.

      The finance issue is almost certainly dealer finance. Very few car dealers own their stock outright as they don’t have the cash, so all of their cars are under finance from specialist providers. This is perfectly normal, but you should still double-check that and ensure that the vehicle data is updated ASAP to show that the finance company no longer has any interest in the vehicle.

  130. Hi Stuart. Hope you can help. I.paid a £300 deposit for a car the other day a local small car sales, they said that they would put the car through a new MOT, it was advertised as having one. Today the salesman called me to say that it failed due to needing too much work. I asked about a refund and was told to call to the garage as they couldn’t do it over the phone. Went after work to be told that the person who deals with the refunds has left and then they tried to sell me a new car. I said I wasn’t interested and wanted the refund to be told to call in tomorrow. Do I have grounds for a refund please?

    • Hi Michael. Yes, absolutely. If the dealer cannot complete the contract, you are entitled to your deposit back. If you are clear (without being rude), they shouldn’t fight you too hard on this as they are the ones in breach of the contract.

  131. Hi stuart

    I called about a car I had seen
    The advert read as though it had everything I wanted
    I called and asked some questions
    Negotiated a price and the dealer said i could come up and collect would have to pay deposit
    I paid deposit over phone using my husbands card as mine had expired and new one not come through
    I hadn’t seen car
    I then reread ad called back as wasn’t convinced about Bluetooth
    There was a photo that made it look like was Bluetooth but it wasn’t mentioned in description
    I was told yes he was sure it had it and would double check
    This was 10 mins after my initial call
    I said it had to have it or I didn’t want car

    They said would call back

    He called back 30 mins later said no it doesn’t
    I said wanted to cancel it then
    He said no can’t have deposit back
    I said about distance selling and he said no
    He had marked it as sold – it was literally 10 mins

    After much calling I spoke to director that evening who offered £220 (deposit was £440) this was if I didn’t go to trading standards
    I said no

    I have asked bank to stop payment they won’t

    I called consumer helpline and they told me to write to them
    I have sent letter advising I want a refund under distance selling cancellation
    But they haven’t replied

    • Hi Marie. Yes, you are entitled to your deposit back in full. For more information, read our article about buying a car then changing your mind.

      Unfortunately, the dealer in this case seems to think that he doesn’t have to co-operate. I suggest visiting the excellent forum at legalbeagles.info, as a legal expert there may be able to give you some advice. Failing that, you may need to get paid legal assistance to bring any action against the dealer – and he’s probably counting that you won’t bother.

  132. Good morning. I was wondering if you can help me with my problem I found advert on AutoTrader and I have rang to car dealer to ask if the car is still available. I been told that if I want to reserve a car I need to pay 500 pounds deposit which I did on the same day. After a week a have went to car dealer to see the car. I noticed that there are few issues with car like scratches on alloy and a few scratches all over the car and seat cover was peeling off. I been told by the sales mam that the car is manufactured approved and they will change alloy,fix all paintwork and prepere a car for me to be in excellent condition. This car is almost brand new 2016 plate. After that I paid a additional 2500 deposit for the car as I wanted to choose hp finance with initial payment of 3000 pounds. I been told that they will prepare the car they will do all works and they will deliverto my home. Two days later I received a finance documents by email which I signed and I send them back via email. When they come to deliver the car I noticed that car have even more scratches and dents and I refused the delivery-car went back to a dealer. They rang me to apologise and promised to fix everything and deliver the car within the next few days. Car is with the dealer now. Can I cancel my hire purchase contract and get deposit back? Please help

    • Hi Carol. Yes, you can cancel your finance agreement within 14 days, but this does not cancel the vehicle purchase – it simply means you have to find another way to fund the car. If the dealer agrees to you rejecting the vehicle, that won’t be a problem, but it is unlikely to happen for light cosmetic damage that should be easily repairable.

  133. Hi Stuart

    I looked at a car on Auto trader and I really wanted to buy the car. I called the dealer I was willing to pay £100 as a deposit but the salesman insisted that £100 did not show my intent to buy the car and £500 would reserve it. So I unwillingly paid £500 and asked him to hold it for 1 day. and I would come the next day and if I like the car I would buy it. The entire transaction took place over the phone.

    When I went there the next day, I did not like the car as it looked very aged, not as the pics showed it. I refused to buy the car. The dealer said he was not happy and I had declined other the opportunity to buy this car. I only held that car for 1 day. He said he would not refund my deposit.

    I have then emailed him to request my deposit back.
    And he has emailed the following response
    Mr Soni

    Thank you for your recent email the contents of which I note.

    My view of this position is that we entered into contract with you in relation to the BMW X5 when you willing placed a £500 deposit on the BMW X5 over the telephone.

    It is worthy of note that we declined, on no less than two occasions, to take your deposit, explaining that you should view the car in the first instance before making a commitment to buy. However, you didn’t listen to my suggestion and you we particularly insistent on placing a deposit, and therefore entering into a verbal agreement/contact with Oakwoods Group Limited in relation to the purchase of the black BMW X5 at a ‘three day sale event price’ which main stipulation was collection and payment of the goods by 17.00 hrs Saturday 24th June 2017. The only stipulation you set was that the car was to ‘drive well’, and you were accepting of age related wear and tear. A contract was entered into by both parties and agreed with those terms.

    As a result of your actions XX Limited were legally bound by the terms of that verbal contract and advised other interested parties that the X5 had been sold and we removed the X5 from our website and other third party advertising sites. The car was made ready for your collection on the aforementioned Saturday.

    Your reason for wanting to break the contract to purchase were nothing to do with they way the vehicle drove and were all condition related issue which you were happy to accept when placing your initial deposit on the BMW X5.

    XX Limited verbally agreed to release you from your contractual obligations in relation to the outright purchase of the BMW X5 but didn’t agree to return you initial deposit.

    Having had time to consider the position in relation to your deposit I have decided to retain that £500 deposit but you appeared to be more than happy to purchase a car from us in the future, so with that firmly in the forefront of my mind, I will be happy to apply your £500 deposit to any vehicle you purchase from XX.


    PLease advise if this is even valid

    And what option do I have.

    • Hi Sunny. Your deposit is refundable as it was taken over the phone. He cannot withhold it or make you buy a different car. He may well have lost two other customers, but that’s the way the law works.

  134. Hi Stuart, It has been fascinating reading your article and the comments. I put down a £1,000 deposit on a car in early March. I had test-driven the car and visited the dealership twice, but the contracts and the majority of discussions were done via email. At the time I was told by the salesman that delivery would be expected to be in June, which was fine as we had a driving holiday booked in early July and we would need the new car by then. Upon the order being placed, I was then informed that delivery was now scheduled to be at the end of July/early August but that in practice this would move forward, so I was hopeful all would work out ok.

    The salesman then left the dealership in May and a new sales person was appointed and I asked about the status of delivery and was informed that it was now pushed to late August (nearly 6 months after the order was made). We kept asking for updates over the last few weeks with no real help from the dealership and I made the decision to cancel the order as I needed to source another vehicle quickly that would arrive in time for my driving holiday. I was assured by them that it was an issue with the manufacturer and that the delivery date could not be changed. I then emailed to cancel the order and proceeded to purchase a used vehicle that could be delivered within 2 weeks from another manufacturer and surprise surprise, the dealer came back to say that delivery could now be moved to 17 July(!), however it was too late as I had already paid a £2000 deposit on another car. Despite the car not being built yet, they are still saying I am liable for the entire £1,000 deposit. Is there anything I can do or is this lost now?

    Many thanks in advance for your advice. Prad

    • Hi Prad. It will probably depend on whether you have anything in writing (contract, emails) that specifically says that the expected delivery date is in June (prior to approx. 19 June). If the car is not deliverable with 28 days of the promised date, you can cancel and get your deposit back. It should be in the T&Cs of your contract.

      If you don’t have anything in writing, you’re not going to be able to prove anything.

  135. Hi. I ordered a new Hyundai i10 in April 2017 for delivery on 1st September. The car is white and I specified I wanted a red interior (choice was black, blue or red). I have now found out that the car is no longer made with a red interior and that I will be supplied with a black interior instead. I did not want a black interior in April and I still don’t want it, so am I entitled to a refund of the £1000 deposit? Although the car will function in exactly the same way, I consider this to be a fundamental change to my specification, which is written on the order form. Thanks…Ian

  136. I asked about a car and was persuaded to put down a deposit over the phone and I said I would come to look at it and if all ok purchase the car. I then called back two days later to say I didnt want to go ahead. the dealer was rude and hung up on me. I then emailed him to confirm my conversation, He said that he put new tyres on the car as good will gesture and I will have part of deposit back minus the cost of tyres. I said that this was not discussed so I dont have to pay to make his cars road legal. I want my deposit back. He has refused to send me policy on terms and conditions. I didnt sign anything and he has now sold the car?. what can i do ?

  137. I went to a dealership and put a $500 deposit on a car that they said I was approved for with intentions of paying the rest and getting the car only to find out the very next day that the dealership approved me for the loan but it had not yet been approved thru any bank. Am I entitled to get my deposit back and shop elsewhere?

  138. Hi Stuart,

    The managers car I drove was the exact model I wanted. However, later realising that a 7 seater would be more suitable. Any chance I could get a partial refund?


  139. Hi Stuart,

    I wonder if you could help here. I went to a car dealer and test drove the managers car which is the model i wanted. I was told the actual car I would receive is being shipped and not going to arrive until about 3 weeks. I put down a deposit of £1000 so they can direct the car to be delivered to them. I signed some pre-contract agreement form. After 2 weeks, I’ve changed my mind as the car is “not fit for purpose”. We need a 7 seater now, not a 5 seater. Can I get my deposite back?


    • Hi Donald. I don’t see that the dealer would be obliged to refund your money. You can’t argue that the car is not fit for purpose when it hasn’t even arrived and you have changed the requirements after buying it.

  140. Hi, wondering if you can offer some advice. I visited my local Audi dealership to view a car, which turned out to be unsuitable. While I was there the salesman looked through their database and told me they had a different car (higher engine size, automatic, different colour) at a different branch, and they could get it up for me to look at. I said I’d look but wasn’t sure about it. After leaving the dealership I received an email asking if I’d pay a £500 deposit to have the car brought up to view. They did state that if I decided it wasn’t for me, I’d get my deposit back. I then received an email from the business manager with finance quotes, and congratulating me on purchasing a car…which obviously got me worried. I’ve decided that the car isn’t for me, it’s not what I originally set out to buy, however the car is now at the local dealership and is awaiting me to test drive it. I’ve agreed to go today but already know I have no intention of buying this particular car. I’m worried they are going to try to pressure me or argue over refunding my deposit. Do you have any advice I can follow?


    • Hi Kay. Stick to your guns and insist on getting your money back. If they try and pressure you, insist on making a complaint to the general manager about their sales tactics. If they are being completely objectionable, throw a massive hissy fit in the middle of the showroom in full earshot of other customers – that usually works…

  141. Hi Stuart, I put a £300 deposit on a new personal lease car. Two days before the car was due to be delivered the lease company phoned to say the car had been damaged in the dealership and needed repairs. They were unable to confirm when the car would be delivered, offered no apology or made any attempt to compensate for consequential losses. Not sure I now want a new car which has been damaged even before I get it. If I cancel the order, will I be entitled to a refund of deposit.

    • Hi Keith. It all depends on the extent of the damage. Problem is, no-one is likely to want to give you too much info about exactly how bad it is, as neither the dealer/manufacturer or the leasing company will want you to walk away from the deal.

  142. Hi. I put a deposit down of £500 on a car after the dealer agreed it would be fully refundable if I decided not to proceed with the car. There was some body work repairs that needed doing that the dealer said he would be doing away but if I left a deposit he would get the work done quicker. I would then view the car to decide if I was happy to proceed any buy the car. A few days later, on reflection I decided that I didn’t want to consider the car being repaired and asked or my deposit back. The dealer is not refusing to pay my deposit back as he is saying he has spend out to put the car right. This was work he would of had to do anyway so I am
    Not happy that he keeps my deposit. I honestly don’t think he has had any real out of pocket expenses. The cat was even still being advertised! Do I have a right to my deposit back?

    • Hi Henry. Unless you have a written guarantee from the dealer that your deposit is refundable, then you’re probably not going to get it back – unless you kick and scream long and hard enough that they give you the money back to make you go away.

  143. Hi Stuart. My daughter and son in law recently agreed to by a 7 year old Vauxhall Meriva from a garage and put down a deposit agreeing to collect the car a few days later. They were told the paperwork was at there other garage and it would be ready when they collected the car.
    However the day before the collection they were phoned to say that there wasn’t a V5 as the previous owner had it and they would have to fill out a V62?
    I advised them that the garage should get the V5 before they should buy it, but nothing has happened 2 weeks on.
    They have since found another car, but the previous garage is refusing to refund the deposit. Do they have any legal rights as the garage didn’t say up front that the 5 was lost, and what should they do? Thanks

    • Hi Mark. You are quite right to insist that the car has a valid V5C certificate before purchasing the vehicle. Otherwise there is the risk that the original owner could claim the car back and it could get messy (there are scams involving this sort of behaviour, although they are not common).

      If the dealer is refusing to refund their deposit, they will probably have to call in a solicitor to take (or at least threaten) legal action.

  144. Hi Stuart, I put down a £300 deposit as part of a PCP deal on a new VW and cancelled the next day before the car was ordered. Will I be entitled to a deposit?
    Cheers, Pete

  145. Hi Stuart. I started a discussion over the phone with a private dealership to purchase a one owner car with a full main dealer service history. I used the cars registration on AutoTrader website to get model spec (listed as ‘Exec’ version) information and a guide price for the car I wanted to purchase. The dealer advert on Auto Trader included a video walk around of the car, showing and stating, amongst other things, that a full set of original documentation was present with the car.

    I then visited the dealership on Saturday to look at and test drive the car. During the visit I enquired about an engine repair item that I knew the car required. The sales person said this had now been completed by the main dealer, however did not produce any paperwork to that effect.

    In the course of our discussions I was told that the service book was not available with the car (contrary to the video advert), but that the main dealer would validate the full service history and provide a new service book. I then asked about the last service that fell due in 2016, which should have been a major service based on the age and mileage of the vehicle. The sales person went away to call the main dealer and then came back to tell me that only a minor service had been done in 2016 and not the required major service. The private dealer said they could not do the major service on the vehicle for me, but might be able to get a trade price for me on the major service work, however they could not put that in writing.

    I left the dealership not having paid any deposit, saying that I needed to think about it all before proceeding.

    Later that day, in a follow conversation with the dealer, the salesman told me that they had other people wanting to see the vehicle and that I couldn’t really wait overnight to make a decision, but they could ‘take it off sale’ while the outstanding issues (engine repair confirmation, new validated service book and trade price for major service) were being sorted out, if i left a £1,500 deposit. I reluctantly agreed to do this, thinking that the deposit would be refundable in the event the we could not resolve the outstanding issues and paid the deposit over the phone with a credit card

    Later on Saturday evening, more from a peace of mind point of view than anything else, I ran an Auto Trader Experian Vehicle check on the car. On checking the results, I was surprised to find that the car was listed as the ‘base’ version and not the Exec version. This was a new concern, as I knew that one feature which I was particularly interested in having (rear seat heating) was standard in the Exec spec’d car, but only an option in the “base’ model.

    On Sunday morning I called the dealership to find out about the spec anomaly and to check the car did have rear seat heating. The sales person who I was working with was not in, but another sales person went to physically look at the car and came back to inform me that it did not have heated rear seats!

    Reflecting on all of this on Sunday, I came to the conclusion that there were now just too many issues with the deal for me to continue and that it would be better for me to pull out before completing the purchase.

    I e-mailed the sales person I had been dealing with, explained the situation as outlined above and suggested that they put the car back on sale immediately, while we agree how best to conclude our business. When I spoke with the sales person on Monday afternoon, I was met with a fairly frosty response, saying essentially that they were legally entitled to keep my deposit and that I should consider that carefully if I choose to now pull out of the purchase.

    Needless to say, I don’t feel that the vehicle I thought I buying, is the one thats being offered and there are now too many questions in my mind about service and maintenance history for my comfort. Moreover, I have lost trust in the relationship, which prior to my visit to the dealership I felt was ok. I would really just like to get my deposit back and walk away at this point.

    How would you advise me to proceed?

    Many thanks


  146. Hi there, I bought a van online with an initial £500 deposit. After delivered I found a wide array of faults making it not fit for purpose. All within 7 days. After the dealer finally agreed to take it back he emailed me saying he sees the faults and will offer refund or replacement. I said refund and after weeks of him going on holiday and ignoring me he finally sent me an email saying the money will be in my account within 2-3 days, minus the deposit. Its been a week and nothing has gone in yet.

    Can he really hold a deposit for a faulty car? How do I fight this?
    Please help!

    Regards, Nicole.

    • Hi Nicole. If it’s a work vehicle (and vans usually are), then you are not covered by the Consumer Rights Act as you would be for a personal use vehicle.

      Morally, if the dealer has accepted that the vehicle is faulty and agreed to refund you, it should be 100% without holding anything back (assuming the vehicle is in the same condition as when you bought it). However, legally is not the same as morally, so you may have to fight to get your final £500 back.

  147. Hello. I recently put a £500 deposit on a vehicle that I saw on the internet. I called the dealer and asked questions including if the car has been HPI checked which he said it had which he now denies. I have checked the car myself which showed that it is a Cat D write off. I have decided that because of this I no longer want the car and I have asked for my money back. The dealer is being difficult and said that I should have checked it before giving them the deposit. There is no mention on their website or advert Goethe car. Please could I have some advice SD to where I stand. Many thanks.

    • Hi Mat. A dealer is oblige to declare if the car is a Cat C or Cat D write-off. It’s very unlikely that the dealer would not have done an HPI check; it’s standard practice.

      Saying that you should have checked is unacceptable, and you should be able to cancel your order and get your deposit back.

  148. Hi Stuart,

    I’m looking at buying a car from the local Ford dealer. They are requesting that I pay a £500 deposit before the car is moved over from another branch in Oxfordshire and that this is normal practice. Does this consitute an off-premises sale? I’m just wondering where I’d stand if there was a fault with the car or I wasn’t happy with what it looked like when it arrived.

    • Hi Nick. If you’re in the dealership, it’s not an off-premises sale – regardless of where the car is.

      Make sure you have a suitably-written comment in the contract which says something along the lines of “Contract subject to customer’s inspection of vehicle”. If you’re not satisfied, the contract is void.

  149. Hi Stuart,

    I have recently put a deposit down for a vehicle and was offered an extended warranty. The warranty is due to start when the manufactures warranty lapses on 31.10.2017. Having read the fine print of the warranty I will still purchase the vehicle but won’t be taking out the warranty. How do I stand legally regarding the whole of the deposit.

    • Hi Derek. The dealer probably won’t be happy (they get a nice kick-back from the warranty company), but you are well within your rights to cancel the extended warranty.

  150. My wife has put a £200 deposit down on a car based on a quote using a friends and family discount. However it turns out the discount was family only and so not valid which has increased monthly cost by £50. Is she entitled to her deposit back? The deposit being put down and increase in price occurred over 4 days.

    • Hi Michael. It will depend on whether or not the policy changed in that time, or if you were simply wrongly advised about how the discount works.

      If the policy changed so that she was no longer eligible, you would be entitled to cancel the contract and get your deposit back. If the policy never allowed it and you were mistaken, you’re probably not entitled to your money back – unless you can show that you have been incorrectly advised in writing (verbally doesn’t count).

  151. Hi I recently but a £500 deposit down on a I haven’t seen the car as they said they would have to bring it from another garage. I haven’t signed anything but when I’ve looked into it I can’t afford it. I phoned to cancel it, bearing in mind it’s not even at the garage yet and they said i can’t have my deposit back. Is this right?

  152. I have seen car on auto trader with trader seller, put down 200 deposit to reserve car, but once visited showroom car did not match description of add, I have requested refund which trader has refused. All dealings has been done over phone or sms prior to visit when found out car does not match description. Can I get deposit back, if, so how? Thanks for advice.

    • Hi Sunny. Yes, you are entitled to your deposit back. Firstly, the deposit was placed without you setting foot in the dealership, so you are covered by the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. You can cancel your purchase and get a full refund. Secondly, the car is not as advertised, therefore you have the right to cancel your purchase under the Consumer Rights Act 2015.

      If the dealer refuses to give you your money back, you will need to take action against him. He is probably assuming that you will give up rather than pursuing this, since the cost of engaging a lawyer is going to be more than £200.

      I would suggest you write to him, pointing out your rights in law, and then keep hassling him every day until he refunds you the money. If he realises that you are not going to give up, he will eventually pay you to make you go away.

  153. Hi there. Thanks for all the advice above. A friend has just phoned and falls in the middle of many of the discussions above.
    He did visit the dealership to test drive the car, but then paid £500 deposit over the phone by debit card.
    He has not seen or signed any paperwork.
    He now wants to cancel the order – but more than 14 days have passed since he paid the £500.
    The dealer says it won’t refund the money because he’s taken longer than 14 days to tell them.
    Any advice would be a great help.

  154. I have seen and enquired about a car online. I agreed a price over the phone and paid a £200 deposit. The dealership has now got back to me and says the picture is a ‘library’ image and that the car has lots of extras on it which has increased the price by about £400. I can stand the extra cost but one of these extras is a red ‘touch’ package. I was under the impression I had orderd a black car only to find out its black and red. Should I be able to get my deposit back?

    • Hi Kate. You are absolutely entitled to your deposit back. The car is not as described so you can withdraw from your purchase and get your money back. The dealer may try and cajole you into buying the car anyway, or transferring your deposit to another car they have for sale, but you do not have to accept any alternative option.

    • Thank you for your advice. I have been to the dealer this morning and told them I did not want the car as it wasn’t the car I had agreed to put a deposit on. They said it was fine and I could get my deposit back and they would call me in the afternoon once a manager could process it. Surprise surprise the phone call never happened and when I called back the sales person I have dealt with was either busy or had gone home. I will try again tomorrow and this time if they don’t return my call I will go again in person and wait at the dealership until a manager becomes available.

  155. Hi. I test drove a car and left the dealership with no purchase etc. A few days later I decided to buy the car and paid £1000 deposit over the phone. I have signed no paperwork and can now no longer proceed with the purchase. Because I had test driven the car does this mean that although I have signed nothing and paid the deposit over the phone that I am not entitled to my deposit back?

    • Hi Judith. The dealer may be happy to refund your £1,000 or they may want to argue the matter.

      If they want to argue with you, it is likely to depend on how much discussion went on at the dealership, and whether they provided you with a quotation. If you were paying a deposit based on a quotation provided on-site, they are likely to argue that the sale was largely inducted on the premises and that your deposit was confirmation of your acceptance of their offer.

      If you keep arguing, you will probably get it back eventually.

  156. Hi. I wonder if you could help please? I’ve recently placed a £1000 deposit on a used approved car from a main dealership. This has all been done over the phone and I was due to complete the sale in person in a few days. I haven’t signed any contracts or seen and T&Cs. I’ve now looked properly at my finances and I am unable to proceed with the deal. At the time I paid the deposit I wanted some time to think about it, but was talked into placing the deposit. Will I be able to get my deposit back and walk away from the deal?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated.

  157. Hello, a £255 deposit was put down on a used car. My son returned the car within the 30 day, under the consumer protection act, as it was not ” fit for purpose”. The company had it back and cancelled the credit agreement, however the deposit had not been returned. Where do we stand.
    Thank you

    • Hi Sandra. Yes, if the car has been rejected under the Consumer Rights Act 2015, the full invoice amount of the vehicle is refundable.

      The finance agreement is separate from the deposit paid to the dealer. You will need to keep chasing the dealership until it is repaid.

  158. Hi Stuart.

    Thank you for this informative article. I wonder if you don’t mind answering a personal query on this: I put down a £300 deposit on a car from a dealership and the entirety of the sale took place over the phone and not on premises. A couple of days after putting down the deposit over the phone i did not go ahead with the order. I did not sign any sort of order form etc. As per your article above i believe i am entitled to this money back but the salesman told me that they had to bring in another car from a dealership etc and therefore incurred costs so i cannot have this deposit back. None of this i was ever aware of. They even mentioned that they can hold this deposit in case i wanted to buy a car from them in the future. I have tried contacting them again to request my refund back but have now received no communication back from them and i am wondering a) if i am entitled to my deposit back and b) how to approach the situation?…

    Any help would be most appreciated.



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