How long after buying a car can it be returned?

Cars & Vehicles
Car Buying
Law & Legal Issues

Arizona now has a used-car warranty, protecting car buyers for 15 days or 500 miles, whichever comes first. During that time, as the Arizona Attorney General's office interprets it, the major systems of the car must be working. If there is a problem, you are responsible for the first $25 of the first two repair attempts. The dealer must cover the rest or void the deal and refund your money.

As we see it, this law has two flaws:

1. Who determines what a major system is? If the dealer decides the transmission is not a major system, then you have to take him to court. That brings us to the second flaw:

2. Enforcement. If a dealer won't help you out, YOU have to take him to court. The Attorney General's office can't sue on behalf of an individual consumer. The AG's office will only take such cases when it can show a pattern of negligence. In that respect, you should still make your complaint to the AG (and the Better Business Bureau), but you should expect to handle it all on your own

There is no overall right to return or recind a car purchase contract. Once it is executed/completed it is done. Some dealers may provide the ability to return it as part of their agreement, however they likely have many fee's involved to do so...(as well they should: your changing your mind should cost you, not them).

In any of these types of car purchase/return questions - the first thing to do is look at is that stack of paperwork you got when you agreed to the deal...you know, especially the one you signed and initialed, probably several times, and likely has a big bold heading like "Contract for Sale and Agreement for Purchase". See what it says about ways and reasons you can return the car, required notices, rights to cancel, warranties, etc. This is what YOU agreed to. Not reading it (or saying you didn't understand it) - and now wanting it to be enforced only as to what you think you would have wanted it to be then...- that is just foolish. But, look at it, maybe there are grounds...

Once you bought it (you and them signed and agreed to the terms, conditions and did the work on the contracts and titles), it is yours now, (and for them to accept it back, you both need to do the same things...agree/conditions/titles/etc. again).

And even in the dealers where they advertise a return policy...better read it...at the very least you will be expected to pay for all the liscence, sales, registration, paperwork, etc., fees, and probably something for the fact the car, once sold...even if never moved, cannot be sold as "new" again...by law...New cars have favorable financing, rebates, some have non transferrable warranties on things, etc. available...so they probably have some calculation for those costs. Rightfully, your the one who made a new car a used one.

The 3 day cancel frequently thought of is generally not applicable: Generally, the 3-day cooling off period applies to contracts signed in the customer's home - not at a company's place of business - for consumer goods worth $25 or more. And the contract must be pending…it can't be cancelled if the whatever was contracted for was done….it is a right to cancel a contract…not return things…and the a car contract is no longer pending once you have the car and title…it is completed. If this cancellation period applies, it should be stated in the contract.

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