General New Car Buying Information

The Best Way To Return A New Car


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Many car shoppers experience buyer’s remorse and ask how to return a new car. There are some limited circumstances in which you may be able to return a new car, but generally speaking, there is no easy way to return a new car once it has been purchased. Below are some of the ways a new car return may be possible.

New Car Return Law?
There's really no such thing as a law that requires new car dealerships to accept returns on new cars. For the most part, new cars can only be returned by using state lemon laws or hiring an attorney. If you believe the dealer or manufacturer has been negligent or committed fraud in some way, this is one way. Though if you do receive a defective vehicle, most dealers will work in conjunction with the manufacturer to either fix it or replace it, but a refund is rarely ever mentioned.

State Laws
All states have varying laws regarding a customer's right to rescind a purchase and lemon laws. You should contact your state Attorney General's office and find out what the laws are in your state.

Lemon Laws
Lemon laws, as applicable to new car purchases, are different in every state. Under state lemon laws, you may be able to get a refund or replacement vehicle if your vehicle falls within guidelines. However, most states allow the manufacturer, (through their dealers), the opportunity to fix or repair the vehicle. In most states a manufacturer is given three attempts to correct the problem, but some states provide for more or fewer attempts.

Under most lemon laws, if the manufacturer can't correct the problem with your vehicle, then they must offer you a replacement or a refund. Whether a manufacturer or dealer is required to offer a cash refund, will depend upon the lemon laws in your state.

Dealership Responsibility
A dealer is never responsible for a new vehicle, once it has left the dealership, unless they have committed fraud in the transaction. Once you sign the contracts or give the dealer cash and drive the vehicle off the premises, it is yours. If you receive a defective vehicle, the dealer’s responsibility to you is generally to work with the manufacturer and repair the defective vehicle. If you believe the dealership has been negligent in the sale or repair of your new vehicle, you should contact an attorney.

Also, remember that if you took out a car loan to finance your new vehicle, then you must continue making payments on your vehicle -- regardless. If you are offered a new or replacement vehicle, the manufacturer will usually pay off your car loan and you may have to qualify for another loan on a replacement vehicle. Likewise, if the manufacturer offers a cash settlement, that cash will need to be used to pay off the car loan.

Manufacturer Responsibility

Every now and then, some car manufacturers will offer a three-day new car return window as a sales gimmick or promotional tool. Because it is a promotional tool to help them sell more vehicles, this type of return policy doesn't apply to lemon laws or rights to rescind laws. It is offered strictly as an advertising tool and courtesy of the car manufacturer. There may be many restrictions that render this type of promotion ineffective for most car buyers.

If you do receive a defective vehicle and that car cannot be repaired, then it is the manufacturer's responsibility to replace or refund the defective car.

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