If I Buy a Car & Sign the Papers, Can I Change My Mind?

Updated March 23, 2017

Purchasing a new car is a financial move that comes with a great deal of responsibility. After you sign the paperwork to buy a new car, you may want to return it. While in some states, you may be able to do so, most states do not allow for this.

Three-Day Rule

A common misconception is that there is a three-day window in which you can return your car to the dealership without having to pay any penalties. While this is true with many large purchases and loans, you cannot do this with a car in most cases. After you sign the paperwork on the purchase of a new car, you are stuck with that car until you sell it. This misconception comes from the right to rescind on certain other types of purchases within three days.

State Laws

When you buy a new car, if you are interested in returning the car immediately afterward, check your state's laws to see if this is an option. Even though the majority of people cannot return their car after they sign the paperwork, it is an option for some. For instance, California does have a rule that allows you to return the car within three days if you are unsatisfied with the purchase or if you change your mind.

Lemon Laws

If something is wrong with the car, you may be able to get out of buying it. Lemon laws exist in most states to protect car buyers from purchasing a car that has something fundamentally wrong with it. For instance, if the car has a major safety defect or it does not run, you can take it back to the dealer. Before you can completely get out of the purchase, you have to give the dealer plenty of time to fix the problem first.

Return Policy

Even though it is rare, some companies offer a return period after you buy a new car. For instance, if you lose your job, some companies will allow you to take your car back without paying any penalties and without having to worry about any damage to your credit profile. Typically, a company will use this policy as a selling feature to promote the car.

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About the Author

Luke Arthur has been writing professionally since 2004 on a number of different subjects. In addition to writing informative articles, he published a book, "Modern Day Parables," in 2008. Arthur holds a Bachelor of Science in business from Missouri State University.