Once you sign the contract on your car loan, it’s yours – return policies on vehicle sales are extremely rare. In fact, they’re practically nonexistent. If buyer’s remorse has you racing back to the dealership less than 24 hours after striking a financing deal, you’ll find very little can be done to help this.
99.9% of the Time, All Sales are Final
The fact that there’s no return policy on vehicles isn’t in place to punish unsure buyers. Any uncertainty or doubts about affordability should be discussed with the dealer before signing anything. Unless something legitimately illegal occurred during the sale, the law is, unfortunately, not on your side when it comes to returning a vehicle.
What about That Other 0.1% of the Time?
If, for whatever reason, you decide you absolutely cannot keep this car, there may be a slight possibility that one of the following situations apply. If you think there’s a chance, talk to the dealer – in person – as soon as possible. But don’t hold your breath.
- “Unwinding the Deal” – Dealers are under no obligation to accept a return. Once in a blue moon, you may find a dealer that realizes that taking back the car is the right thing to do. If they do decide to do this, it’s known among dealers as “unwinding the deal” – but your chances of this happening are almost nil.
- If Dealership Policy Allows – In the vast network of dealerships, there are a few beacons of car-return hope dotted across the country. In fact, “few” may even be too many. Though the practice is nearing extinction, a dealer may offer a very limited grace period for new car purchases – usually only 24 hours. If you’re really lucky, you may find the holy grail: a dealer with a 30-day grace period. If this is the case, a dealer is likely to be upfront about the practice and will typically charge you for the miles you’ve put on the car as well as any damage. The way these returns are handled in terms of refund is also different for each dealer.
- Trade or Sell the Car – You can always sell the car back to the dealership, use it as a trade in on something else, or simply sell it privately and use the money to purchase something you want. A private sale is likely to get you more money, just know that vehicles depreciate as soon as they’re driven off the lot. So, if you do sell the car back, it’ll typically be at a significant loss. Cars initially lose about 11 percent of their value when driven off the lot and 20 percent of their value during the first year.
- Got a Lemon? – Most states have lemon laws, which can help someone if a vehicle has legitimate, irreparable flaws or mechanical issues. Being sold a car that’s classified as a true “lemon” is rare, but it can happen. The laws to prove a vehicle is a lemon are very strict and require extensive documentation. Check with your state for requirements and regulations regarding lemon laws if you think this applies to your car. Be careful though, because bringing false legal claims against someone can land you in a world of hurt.
No Substitutions for Being Prepared
If you can’t see any of the above situations applying to your new car, don’t be surprised. Car sales and financing contracts are designed to be binding final agreements, as is the case with most major purchases based on credit. That’s why it’s so important to be 100 percent prepared before you go into the dealership.
Don’t be afraid to take your time. Know what you need, what you want, and what you won’t stand for. Test drive all your vehicle choices, and ask plenty of questions. To be truly prepared, come into a dealership knowing your credit situation and your budget, bring a down payment, and plan to spend enough time there to read the contract before you sign it.
Remember, once you sign a contract, you own that vehicle. Returns don’t happen easily, if ever, when it comes to car purchases. Being completely ready and committed to purchasing the right vehicle for your situation goes a long way when you’re looking for your next car, truck, or SUV.
No Returns Necessary
The car you purchase now doesn’t have to be a forever vehicle, as long as it meets your needs until you can improve your credit to the point where you won’t need another bad credit car loan. But until then, an auto loan is an excellent way to build you credit rating if you have poor credit.
If you worry about your bad credit standing in the way of financing a car, let Auto Credit Express help. We work with a nationwide network of special finance dealers that have subprime lending resources available to help people who have credit challenges. We can get the process underway today. Just fill out our auto loan request form to get started, and we’ll begin searching for the local dealer who can help you.