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Are you able to return a car that you bought recently? Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by offering interactive tools and financial calculators as well as publishing original and objective content. We also allow users to conduct research and evaluate information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers such as, but not restricted to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The offers that appear on this site are from companies that pay us. This compensation may impact how and when products are featured on this website, for example, for example, the order in which they appear in the listing categories and other categories, unless prohibited by law for our loan products, such as mortgages and home equity and other products for home loans. But this compensation does affect the content we publish or the reviews that you read on this site. We do not contain the vast array of companies or financial offerings that could be available to you. Westend61/Getty Images

6 min read Published on January 31, 2023.

Written by Allison Martin Written by Allison Martin’s career began more than 10 years ago as a digital content strategist. She’s been featured in a variety of top financial media outlets, such as The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, MoneyTalksNews , Investopedia, Experian and Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate from late 2021. They are committed to helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances by providing concise, well-researched and well-written information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promises

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You have money questions. Bankrate has the answers. Our experts have helped you understand your money for over four decades. We are constantly striving to provide consumers with the expert guidance and the tools necessary to succeed throughout life’s financial journey. Bankrate follows a strict , so you can trust that our information is trustworthy and precise. Our award-winning editors, reporters and editors provide honest and trustworthy information to assist you in making the right financial decisions. The content created by our editorial team is factual, objective and is not influenced through our sponsors. We’re open about the ways we’re capable of bringing high-quality information, competitive rates and helpful tools to our customers by describing how we earn money. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. We are compensated in exchange for the promotion of sponsored goods and, services, or when you click on certain links posted on our site. This compensation could influence the manner, place and when products appear within listing categories and categories, unless it is prohibited by law. This is the case for our mortgage home equity, mortgage and other home lending products. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether or not a product is available in your region or within your personal credit score can also impact how and when products are featured on this website. We strive to provide the most diverse selection of products, Bankrate does not include information about every credit or financial product or service. If you’ve purchased a brand-new or used vehicle and you have second thoughts about it, you’re not likely to return the vehicle. The dealer who sold you the vehicle is generally not legally obligated to return it and offer you a reimbursement or exchange once you’ve signed the sales contract. There are a few exceptions to this law. Some dealerships may allow you to return the vehicle in certain circumstances. If the car has major mechanical issues, the dealership might be required by law to accept the return. However, it’s best to avoid having to return your car in the first instance. The reasons to return your vehicle Besides buyer’s remorse, possible reasons to sell your car are mechanical or financial problems. Dealers might offer to help you if you cannot make payments. If you have mechanical issues the possibility of returning the car to the dealer is contingent on how you do it and the terms as well as conditions for the vehicle return policy. You were ripped off If you think you were ripped off is the case, it’s worth a visit with the dealership manager. If you are meeting with the manager, make sure you bring documents to support your claim that you have been wronged. For example, if believe that the dealer was overcharged, present evidence of the vehicle’s fair market value from a reliable authoritative source (like Edmunds or Kelley Blue Book) to back up your claim. Make your argument clear to the manager calmly. Be aware that, since you’ve signed the contract Your options aren’t as wide in the event that the manager decides not to comply with your request. You can also contact the office of your state attorney general for a discussion of your choices. File a complaint with the Better Business Bureau. Employ an attorney to bring a lawsuit against the dealership. Write a negative review on the website of the dealership. File a complaint with your state’s consumer protection agency as well as the Federal Trade Commission. Tips for banks

To determine if you’ve paid an unjust amount, you can look up the price of vehicles with similar make, model, and similar mileage on or .

The car’s payments are excessive If you’re planning to return your vehicle because your monthly car payments are too high, you’ll have a more difficult time convincing the dealer to let you return the car. The general manager of the dealership may claim that you should have determined whether you can manage the monthly payments prior to buying the car. It’s up to the dealer to decide if they want to let you return the car and swap it out for something more affordable. Speak with the salesperson who sold you the car first. If that doesn’t work, get in touch with the sales manager, or the dealership’s general manager. Once you’ve exhausted those possibilities, you can look at different options for . Your auto loan with a lower interest rate or a more extended term could lower the monthly cost. Bankrate tip

Use an to see how much money you could save and to compare different loan options.

The car you own is a lemon. To build a case for returning a car that isn’t work properly, you should first gather documentation showing the mechanical problems that you’ve faced. You may need multiple trips to the service department of your dealer. Make sure your complaints are recorded with full detail on all repair orders. If the problem still hasn’t been fixed and you’re not sure if the car is a lemon, the vehicle is beyond repair. Because the laws are different between states so you’ll need to conduct a thorough investigation to determine whether you’re able to claim a valid claim under the lemon law. In many states, laws pertaining to lemons apply to new vehicles with an issue that seriously affects your ability to drive it. Other lemon law provisions that vary from state states include the amount of time after purchasing the vehicle, the mileage of the vehicle and the number of times the dealership attempted to repair the vehicle. You can research the laws in your state on , which provides each state’s mandatory actions and the timeframe for returning a car under lemon laws. Upon a successful claim you’ll be able to obtain a reimbursement or similar exchange. Seven states have lemon laws on used cars: Connecticut, California, Massachusetts, Minnesota, New Jersey, New Mexico and New York. Limitations apply, and these laws may not provide some relief for you in your circumstance. Bankrate tip

You could be entitled to reimbursement for attorney fees if you hire an attorney to represent you in your case. Keep track of your legal fees during the course of your case.

It was a change of heart Dealers do not generally consider buyer’s remorse to be persuasive. Very few dealerships have a policy on returns. Once you sign the contract of sale, you’re responsible for paying the note as promised. Although the FTC includes a “cooling-off rule” which is a law which gives you the right to cancel within three days a sale that you make at home, workplace or seller’s temporary address — a vehicle purchase is one of its exceptions. Even if a dealership sells you a car at an uncontained place, the rule applies if they have a permanent location. Some states also provide the “right to cancel” period that lets you return the car within a set time period without incurring any penalties or any damage to your credit score. But, the car is required to be returned in the exact condition as when you bought it. Other limitations may also are also in place. Tip for Bankrate

Avoid this situation by conducting research prior to the time. Make sure to follow these guidelines prior to making a decision on a new vehicle.

The dealer you are dealing with has a return policy A few dealerships have return policies. For instance, it has a 30-day return period. If you aren’t happy with the car, you can swap it out for one you like , or receive a full refund. Additionally, certain dealerships offer exchange plans where you can only have a specific number of days to exchange the vehicle. Be aware that other conditions could stop you from turning the vehicle into. If you’re able to turn it in however, you’ll likely need to pay the difference between the value currently and the value of the car currently worth. Bankrate tip

Always get a dealership’s return policy in written form. This way, you’ll be aware of the terms and conditions , and can navigate any attempt to deny your claim.

How can you avoid returning a car If you want to avoid the troublesome process of returning your car You must prepare properly to buy a car. This is the process . Read car reviews about the make and model you’re considering on sites like . It’s recommended to conduct a price analysis by using Kelley Blue Book or Carfax, , create a budget to see and drive the vehicle. It’s equally important to research the dealership in advance by reading online reviews. Make use of sites such as to make sure that the dealership has a good reputation and exceptional customer service. Finally, you’ll also want to conduct some research on the background and condition of the car you’re considering purchasing. It is possible to begin by looking up the history of the car via sites like Carfax or AutoCheck and the information about the vehicle can be accessed through the . If you’re buying a vehicle from a dealer, you should ask the dealer for the car’s history for your review. It’s an excellent idea to bring the vehicle to be inspected by an independent review of the vehicle and any issues it may have. If the mechanic notices mechanical problems, ask the seller to foot the bill for repairs. Alternatives to returning your car Can’t return your car? There are still alternatives. You can sell it. By to someone else you could be able to get out of having a car you don’t want. You might be unable to recover the full amount you paid to the dealer since a vehicle depreciates when it’s taken away from the dealership. The buyer is responsible to pay the difference between the dealership price and the price buyers pay to purchase the car. Request a the repossession to be voluntary. If you can’t afford the monthly payments You can contact the lender and request an uninvolved repossession. While this will make your monthly payments non-existent but you need to consider this action. A lender is still able to report the repossession to the credit bureaus. The repossession can negatively impact your credit score for up to seven years, making it more costly to obtain a future auto loan. You can refinance the auto loan. If your monthly installments are too high, you can by extending your time frame or getting a lower interest rate. Although this is a step that will , the effects are only temporary. In reality, after only several months of payments, your credit score should improve or even increase. The most important thing to remember is that prior to you buy a car, spend some time researching the price of the cars that you like, as well as reviewing the return policy of the dealership and car reviews. If you don’t do your homework, it could leave you with the car you bought. Most of the time it’s impossible to return a car you purchased recently — the majority of dealerships don’t permit the return of a vehicle. If you’re not able to return a car, there are other ways to get rid of it. You can sell it or make a lemon law claim in certain circumstances. Alternatively, if you have buyer’s remorse because of large payments, but wish to keep your car, you can refinance the auto loan to reduce the amount of payments.


Written by Allison Martin’s work began more than 10 years ago as a digital content strategist and since then she’s been published in various top financial media such as The Wall Street Journal, MSN Money, MoneyTalksNews , Investopedia, Experian and Edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are dedicated to helping readers gain confidence to manage their finances through providing precise, well-studied information that break down complex topics into digestible chunks.

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