Latest time to back-out of a new vehicle purchase (in a state with no cooling-off period)


In a state that doesn’t allow a brand new auto buyer to bring it back a day later (i.e. no “buyer’s remorse” remedy), when would you say is the final moment one the customer can walk-away no-harm no-foul?

Say that the new car buyer has inked the loan agreement and signed the purchase agreement/all paperwork. The sales rep walks the customer to his or her new vehicle. The customer is about to get in and drive off the lot, but notices a flaw or just realizes that s/he doesn’t want that vehicle. Is it too late at that point to walk-away without repercussions?


I would certainly hope not. Some states may vary but any dealer with any degree about their reputation should be accommodating. It might mean talking to a manager but a no drive it off the lot should be a no go for the deal.


States all have their own laws for automobile sales. The “right of recision” (the right to rescind the agreement) is not universal, and you’d need to check with your state’s attorney general’s office for clarity on yours.


Bruce Williams used to say that a pen is a dangerous weapon. I think legally once you sign the papers, its a done deal, but realistically, a dealer would likely tear the papers up until the car was taken. On the other hand, a contract needs a performance and consideration so as long as the car wasn’t received/delivered, you can argue the contact wasn’t valid. Now if there is a defect or something, that’s a different story. How’s that for waffling?


The “buyers remorse period” is a myth. You can’t come back a day later and say “oops”. There may be rare exceptions, but don’t count on it.


Once you sign the papers the car is yours before you even lay the pen down.

Some dealers will offer a 48 or 72 hour return period with a refund but that is not by statute. Its simply a PR move made by the dealer.

If there is an obvious flaw the dealer should take care of if in the name of customer relations, but…


Ya know you people are turning into sheeple, crap if there is a dent and I do not want the car because of it,I call in the big guns, my wife, now I can stand my ground and be an ass, but when it comes to I need muhammad ali in my corner she will come out swinging, figuratively of course, but she is my ace in the hole if needed, I love that lady. She can turn rose petals into scorched remembrances if needed.


I bet a lot of those dealer’s return offers allow you to apply those $$ to a different car…


Once a pen inks the contract you own the car. If the car has a flaw, the warranty comes into play. The dealer has to perform and deliver a thing that looks like a car, smells like a car and acts like a car. If you just do not like it, you have no legal standing, you should have not signed. However as others have said, in order to keep their reputation the dealer may let you back out if the car never leaves the lot. Some dealers will do this and other dealers will not.

Do not sign unless you are sure you want the deal.


I’ll bet a lot of those dealers would offer to cancel the deal once you say I will trash your reputation on better business and everywhere else I can find including the news channel if you make me own this car that is not what it is supposed to be, carp to the nth degree!


Her name’s not Pam is it? I know a guy that’s still feeling the scorching after 30 years.


Say you sit down at a restaurant, order a meal, it is served to you on the table, and with your fork an inch away from the first bite you decide you don’t want the food. Would you expect to be able to stand up and walk away without paying for the meal?

What’s the difference?


I think the point of no return is when the car is titled and registered with a DMV.


No way I sign anything until I see and thoroughly go over the car and decide it is acceptable. I walked away from a deal when they tried to scam me with a badly damaged, soiled interior, lots of miles on the odometer ringer rather than the pristine new car I had verbally made a deal for. The manager was furious. Too bad.


This is exactly why you perform a pre-purchase inspection prior to going inside to sign the paperwork. I haven’t yet showed up to pick up a new car that didn’t have some type of issue that needed to be resolved. You have the most leverage before the paperwork is signed.

That being said, you have two scenarios that are quite different. The first is a defect that needs to be corrected. Certainly, any dealership worth anything will offer to correct any flaws. In my last purchase, some ham-fisted lot boy gouged the dash during prep. They arranged to have a dash repair company come to my house to do the repair. You can’t see any evidence there was ever a repair. But I negotiated this in the lot before I gave them a red-cent. Same thing with dealer advertising. I have this written into the contract. I show up and there’s any evidence of it, no sale…

Your second scenario is nothing is wrong, I just changed my mind. Tough lesson, put more thought into it next time. Without pain, there is no learning. Why should the dealership suffer any financial loss due to a customer’s poor judgement? The only caveat is if they took advantage of you in some way. This is why some states have consumer protection laws that allow for a return within a set time period. I don’t necessarily agree personally with that. If you stink at negotiation or make poor choices, bring along someone who is better at it.


Texases, that is not universally true. Because auto transactions cause so many problems, many caused by high-pressure and/or unethical sales tactics, many states have specific laws that apply solely to these activities. In some states there does exist a “right to recision” that supersedes the purchase and sales agreement. In some states that time period begins when the Purchase and Sales agreement is signed. Dealers in these states will often “prep” the car after the sale to eat up that time period, such that the car remains in their possession during that period of the buyer’s right to rescind. In other states that have “right to recision” statutes, the time period doesn’t begin until the car is delivered. Many states have no such consumer protection at all.

Car sales are subject to state statutes, and state statutes are not universal.


A three day period is common when a sale is made in a person’s home, but at the place of business, don’t count on it.


I rally think dealing with the dealer is step 1. Sure a lot of times I could have done lawsuits lawyers etc, but I have found individuals willing to talk and make everyone happy. Once you get into the corporate world of lackeys and responsibility shifters, don’t have anything good to say.


Anyone know where there is the right to back out? It’s VERY uncommon.