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The Consumer Law Group, P.C.

Do I have a right to cancel a car purchase agreement?

Red Cancelled Stamp on Top of Auto ContractBefore signing on the dotted line for that shiny new car, you had better be sure about the purchase because, once you drive off the lot, you will not be able to cancel the agreement and return the car. Unfortunately, there are some misconceptions that buyers have a “cooling-off” time period in which to change their minds about the purchase. While this is true for some types of purchases, it does not apply to new cars.

When Contracts May Be Cancelled

One of the few circumstances that could lead to a new car purchase agreement being cancelled is if the dealer has agreed to a conditional sale, also known as a “yo-yo sale.” In this case, you sign a contract agreeing to purchase the car and the dealer lets you take the car before it has received final approval from a third party lender it is trying to sell your loan to. If financing is denied, the dealer will cancel the contract.  You must return the vehicle, in its original condition, within 24 hours and the dealer must return you trade in and the down payment you made with no deductions for your usage or mileage  or you face repossession. This right to cancel only applies to the dealership—you do not have a right to cancel for any reason.

Buyer’s Remorse Protection Does Not Apply to New Cars

Unlike other products, cars lose significant value as soon as they are driven off the lot. If car dealers allowed even a brief “cooling-off” period, they would be stuck selling new cars at a loss. That is one reason the Federal Trade Commission’s 3-day cooling-off rule does not apply to new car purchases. In fact, this rule only applies to sales made at your home, workplace or dormitory, or at a seller’s temporary location, like a hotel or motel room, convention center, fairground or restaurant. It is designed to protect consumers from high-pressure sales tactics in locations other than a store or showroom. Some people believe they are allowed this protection for any purchase, but they are not.

When You May Have a Case for Return

If a dealership intentionally misled you into purchasing a car, either through false advertising, failing to disclose the full price or terms of financing, or misrepresenting the accident history or condition of the vehicle, or any other form of fraud, you may have a case for returning the car for a full refund. If you believe your new car has a mechanical defect and qualifies for Virginia’s Lemon Law, you may also be able to return it. These situations can often be worked out directly with the dealership but, if a dealer is making it difficult for you, you may need the help of a consumer attorney.

Call The Consumer Law Group, P.C.  If You Suspect Auto Fraud

If you believe a dealership in Virginia has committed fraud and you are stuck with a car or a loan payment you don’t want, contact our consumer attorneys. We will fight to get justice for you.