Backing out of a car at a dealership

You can ALWAYS get out of a contract. The question is: How much will it cost you to get out of the contract? As a general rule, if neither side has invested anything into the contract, then you can get out with just a notice. But chances are that the dealer will show that they have invested in this contract and if you back out, you are liable for any of their investments.

If you drove the vehicle off the lot, it will cost you plenty. If the dealer has already registered it in your name, you will be liable because it is now a used car. But the sooner you contact the dealer with your intentions, the less it will cost you.

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I have yet to see a contract to buy, lease, or license ANYTHING which favors the buyer, lessee, or licensee. The reason should be obvious to anyone with the intelligence of a chicken. Companies which sell or lease vehicles, real estate, etc. or license software, devices, etc. have vast legal budgets, and carefully craft the purchase or lease contract, or EULA to give the customer the absolute minimum rights under state law.

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First contact the Dealer and tell them you no longer want the car and you want to cancel the contract. I would expect them to be disappointed and ask you to pay for their preparation costs, which is reasonable

But if you don’t get the response you want, contact an attorney.

In general, one of the requirements for an “Enforceable Contract” is “the exchange of valuable consideration” (Example: cash or a promise to pay, in exchange for the car) and since you didn’t take the car you probably don’t have a contract. Simply an unenforceable “Promise”.
Further as mentioned above, even if you do have an “Enforceable Contract” some States have a “3 day right of recission” which would allow you to cancel the contract in exchange for a payment for the use of the car.

But again, contact an attorney.

That is almost never the case. The OP should check if it is.

Well to give the final update, we are not held liable for anything since there was not an exchange of money and we did not leave with the car even though we signed paperwork. We did lite them know as soon as we had changed our minds so maybe that helped our situation. Thank you everyone for your responses! I appreciate it! Have a wonderful week!


The only one I ever heard of the guy lost his downpayment.

I would think that if the car hasn’t been registered yet a reputable dealership would help you out.

I’m so glad that this had a happy ending!

Glad it worked out for you and kudos to the Dealer too.

I’m glad it worked out. I remember my 2 worst experiences at new car dealerships. One was when the Ford salesman started swearing at me, saying the f word and that I was wasting my time by not buying the car after I took a test drive in it. The other time was when a big huge salesman physically tried to block me with body his from leaving a Dodge dealership, after I only looked at the car visually.