Everyone makes mistakes. Purchasing a car is a big decision, and it’s important to carefully consider your investment. If you purchased a car on the spur of the moment or had a drastic change in circumstances after you got the car, you may be rethinking your purchase. If you regret your decision, you may be able to return the car to the dealer. If the car has significant mechanical issues, you may also be within your rights to return it.
Returning the Car
If you purchased the car very recently, you may be able to return it to the dealer. It depends on the dealer, though. Check to see if the dealer has a return policy in place. If they do, then follow the terms of the return policy when returning the car. If the dealer has no return policy, then it’s up to them whether they accept the return or not.
Start by contacting the person with whom you worked when you bought the car. Explain that you’d like to return the vehicle. You may need to speak to the manager or the owner of the dealership. State your case and see if they will accept the return. If you can afford a less expensive car, talk to them about switching to a more affordable car. They may work with you since they’ll still have a car purchase on the books.
If you traded in a car when you purchased your vehicle, you probably won’t be able to get it back. Trade-ins are often sold at auction, and that may have happened by the time you return the new car.
Lemon laws protect consumers who purchase a vehicle with major defects. If your car is defective, the first step is to contact the dealer. They will attempt to repair the vehicle. Depending on the laws in your state, they may have to repair it one or more times before they are obligated to replace it or give you a refund. The issue with the car also has to be significant. A small issue, such as a broken door handle, won’t be grounds for a replacement or refund under the lemon law.
If the dealer isn’t willing to accept the return and the car is financed, you have a few options. One is to do a voluntary repossession of the vehicle. This means you return the car to the company that provided your financing. The financing company will sell the car at an auction. If the amount the car sells for is less than the balance of your loan, you will be responsible for the difference. Additionally, the lender will also report the repossession to the credit bureaus, and it will have a negative impact on your credit score and credit history.
You may also be able to sell the car. It’s a bit tricky to sell a car with an outstanding loan, though. Before you proceed, contact your lender to see if there are any specific steps you need to follow. It may be more difficult to sell a car without a clear title, but you may find a buyer willing to work with you. New cars depreciate quickly, though, so it may be challenging to sell the car for enough money to cover your loan balance.
- State lemon laws protect consumers from the results of purchasing a car with significant mechanical problems. Contact your state attorney general's office for information about applicable lemon laws in your state.
Melinda Hill Sineriz is a freelance writer with over a decade of experience. Her work has appeared on Pocket Sense and Sapling. She specializes in business, personal finance, and career writing. She has worked in insurance sales and financial planning, helping families to manage their money and prepare for the future. Learn more about her and her work at thatmelinda.com.