Can I cancel my purchase without penalty within 7 days if I buy a car online?

I'm confused about my rights when buying a new car online from a main dealer. Am I allowed to cancel within 7 days from delivery without penalty?

Asked on 14 May 2021 by Eric Moore

Answered by Georgia Petrie
It depends on a few factors, including whether you're planning to buy via click and collect or having the car delivered to you and, if delivery, then it depends whether the sale is done remotely in its entirety. It also depends on whether you're buying a model from stock or you want it factory-built to your specs.

If you complete the sale remotely then you're covered by the so-called distance selling regulations. When it comes to a Click&Collect car sale, this generally isn't covered by the same regulations - but it depends on which parts of the sale are completed where. For example, whilst you might have placed the order online and paid a deposit, dealers sometimes ask you to come in to sign the contract and/or any finance agreements or pay the balance on site. As you'd still have had contact with the seller on their premises during the process of finalising your purchase, the additional right to cancel your purchase within 14 days given by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 (distance selling regulations) would not apply.

The dealer or trader should make it clear in writing if the sale falls under the Distance Selling Regulations - we'd always recommend checking this before you agree to the sale. If you’ve placed a deposit on a new or used car - online or over the phone - the Distance Selling Regulations will give you the right to cancel the order within 14 days and receive a full refund of your deposit. But this doesn't apply to a private seller, only a business - like a dealer.

If you bought the car from stock, which means you bought a car that you didn't spec to be built for you, then as long as you bought it without setting foot on the dealer’s premises, the Consumer Contracts Regulations of 2013 will apply. If it's a bespoke product, like a car you've spec'd, then these regulations won't apply.

On a separate note, the 2015 Consumer Rights Act theoretically also gives you the statutory right to reject a new or used car (or anything else) within 30 days of purchase if any fault is found. You can read more here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/coronavirus/coronavirus-how-t.../

And here: www.honestjohn.co.uk/problems-with-a-new-or-used-c.../

A full outline of the distance selling regulations can also be found on the Gov site here: www.gov.uk/online-and-distance-selling-for-busines...s
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