The Federal 'Cooling-Off Rule'
You might have heard there is a federal cooling-off rule for some purchases. There is such a rule, but it is primarily meant to protect consumers from high-pressure door-to-door sales tactics. It explicitly doesn't apply to automobiles. If you signed the sales contract, you own the car. And the law is on the side of the dealer.
So, what can you do about that knot in your gut? Here's where the "maybe" comes in. Essentially, it is up to the dealer whether to unwind the deal. While business owners clearly want customers to be satisfied, undoing a car purchase is a costly headache for a car dealer. But there are times when it's the right thing to do. That's the viewpoint laid out in "Unwinding a Deal," an article in a dealership publication, F&I and Showroom, written by Marv Eleazer, finance director at Langdale Ford in Valdosta, Georgia.
Can you unwind your purchase of a new car? The answers to that question are "no" and "maybe."
Addressing other car-selling professionals, Eleazer writes: "There are situations where we must swallow our pride and endure the hassle of unwinding a deal." He goes on to address several specific situations: if the car doesn't perform as promised, if the buyer has misrepresented his credit score, and if the salesperson has overpromised and underdelivered on the deal.
Obviously, unwinding a deal is a gray area, and you must carefully approach the dealer with such a request. Although each situation is different, let's look at three common scenarios.