Question and Answer: Buyer’s Remorse Rule
Q: I bought a car but now I have changed my mind. Can I just return the vehicle within three days of the purchase date and get a refund?
A: Most likely not. Unless your purchase documents allow you a right to a refund you will be unable to cancel the purchase. One of the more prolific ongoing legal myths is that you automatically have three days to cancel any contract. THIS IS NOT TRUE! In North Carolina, the three-day cancellation rule applies to a very limited number of contracts/purchases such as work-at-home contracts, door-to-door sales, and health club memberships. The prevailing rule is that a deal is a deal unless the deal or the law says otherwise.
If the deal is final upon signature or agreement you need to do your homework and make the best decision. But read further… Many vehicle purchases and leases involve conditional delivery or “spot delivery” which usually means the finality of the transaction is conditioned on the financing being approved and accepted. Confused? Realize that most car dealers do not employ true dealer financing. True dealer financing would mean you make your vehicle payments to the same dealer or legal entity from whom you purchased your vehicle. But many dealers do not want the hassle or responsibility of accepting payments over time to finance a vehicle. Instead most vehicle transactions feature the selling dealer assigning the payment rights to a third party which is usually a bank or finance company.
When you sign a Retail Installment Sales Agreement you are agreeing to certain finance terms (payment, interest rate, etc.) but these terms are subject to the approval of the entity that will be financing the loan. People with challenged credit or limited credit history may have difficulty getting financed and it is not uncommon to be asked to return to the dealership to provide more information and/or sign additional documents in an attempt to secure finalize the vehicle transaction.
While conditional delivery of a vehicle is legal in North Carolina the seller must do it properly. If it is not done properly you may have valuable legal rights which allow you to cancel the transaction. If you have questions about cancellation of your vehicle purchase you should consult an attorney.