Returning a Car

Some car buying questions from Al in Illinois who is
thinking of returning a car after buying and taking delivery...

Can you return a car after buying and you have taken delivery? or how many days do you have to return it?


Hi Al,

It depends on your state and if there is a cooling off period. For instance, I am in AZ and there is no cooling off period and once the contract is signed and the customer drives all four wheels off the lot, then the car is officially delivered and they are the owners.

In CA, unless you opt to take advantage of the states return policy (fee applies and must be decided at time of sale), then you own it as soon as you sign the contract.

If you did not take delivery from the dealership and the car was delivered to you off site, then some states will allow the buyer a 3, 5, 7 day, etc. right of rescission.

In addition, some dealerships offer a return option, but don't necessarily advertise it too loudly. They usually only tell the customer about it if they are having a hard time closing the deal. So you may want to call in acting like a interested buyer and find out if they offer this.

Lastly, if all else fails, he who complains long enough, often enough and loud enough will usually prevail and the dealer will sometimes just allow you to return the car, because they don't want to deal with the headache.

Important Note:
If you've made your first payment, then all of this does not apply and it is between you and the lender. Be very careful, because if you plan on returning a car to a lender, then you are looking at a voluntary repossession which WILL damage your credit for quite a few years to come.

I'd suggest checking with your local Motor Vehicle Department or even the IL Attorney Generals office to see what, if any, rights you have in this situation.

Hope this helps,

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