Many new car buyers experience "buyer's remorse" shortly after purchasing a vehicle. Once they get the car home, they feel bad about the decision and want to return it. In most cases, you will not be able to return the car, but occasionally, certain programs allow you to give the car back.
The three-day cooling off rule was put into effect in 1972 and protects consumers from being stuck with certain items with which they are not happy. However, the three-day cooling off law does not apply to new vehicles, only to items sold for more than $25 in locations other than the company's normal place of business.
In some cases, buyers can take advantage of manufacturer programs that provide a return policy. For example, in 2009, General Motors Co. offered a 60-day return policy that allowed consumers to return a car for any reason. Most car manufacturers do not offer this type of program, but occasionally, special programs arise. If you wish to take advantage of this program, you must abide by the rules of the return policy.
You might be able to return a car if you purchased it from a used-car dealer. While most new car companies do not have a return policy, some used-car sellers offer a return policy for vehicles. This is to ease customers' fears about buying a car that does not run well or has some other issues.
If you take the car home and realize it has something significantly wrong with it, you might be able to take advantage of lemon laws. Every state has lemon laws that protect consumers from buying cars that do not work. If the car has something significantly wrong with it, you might be able to return it after giving the dealer a chance to fix the problem.
- USA.gov: Cancel a Purchase Under the 3-Day Cooling Off Rule
- St. Petersburg Times; General Motors Return Policy Loaded With Restrictions for New Buyers; Sept. 25, 2009
- Federal Trade Commission; Buying a Used Car; June 2008
- Edmunds; My Used Car's a Lemon! Am I Stuck With It?; Joanne Helperin; Oct. 20, 2009