Skip to main content

Once you sign papers with a car dealer ship (contract states no cooling off period) can they try and take the vehical back?

Mount Joy, PA |

We sing a cotract to purchase a used vehical from a dealership a week ago. Now the finacing company is not happy because my husband said the car was for me but he is the primary driver. My mother and husband signed the papers with the dealership. Because the finacing company has an issue with the car being for me they want the paper work to be in mine and my husbands names. We do not make enough income for there standards. The man at the dealership told us tonight his boss wants to get us out of the vehical. It states in the contract already signed that is is binding once signed and can not be changed by us with out the sellers consent. Can they take the car back. I have already paid the down payment and put other money into the car.

Attorney Answers 1


In most states the dealer probably would not be able to demand return of the car. It may be hard to believe, but it is true that car dealers will sometimes deliver a new or used car to you and have no idea of whether or not your loan is really approved or not. They do it because they know that if they can put you in their car, and take you out of your’s, then they take you out of the shopping market and that keeps you from buying somewhere else. They only worry about setting up the financing later. If they can't get a lender, then they may call you back and say they need you to get your own loan at your own bank yourself, or you have to come back to the lot and sign a new contract for one reason or another (such as, you don't qualify with that lender, they want more money down, etc). In many states, that can be illegal. Look at your sales paperwork for a document that is often called a Spot Delivery Agreement and then check with a local Consumer Law lawyer. A Spot Delivery Agreement is a paper that says what how long the dealer has to set up the loan and what happens if they don't get it done on time. It usually says they have 3 to 30 days (usually on the short side of that total) and that if they can't set up a loan then you have to give them back the car and maybe pay for the mileage you drove on it. Whether or not you get your trade in or down payment back should also be covered. This whole process is called "dehorsing" by the car dealers themselves (you can read a Car Dealer's Slang Dictionary at this web page: and doing it can be a violation of most state Unfair & Deceptive Acts and Practices laws, if you were buying the vehicle for non-business (personal) use. If your amount being financed is less than $25,000 (look at your finance contract's "federal box" where key finance numbers are stated) then it's very likely to also be a violation of the federal Truth In Lending Act too (that’s a federal financing disclosure law that protects consumers). Some states (like Ohio) also have a law that specifically applies to car dealers doing this sort of thing. If you don't have any spot delivery document in your deal and there is nothing on the finance contract that says it is contingent on financing approval and it says on it that the dealer (by its name) is the "creditor", then your deal may be a final contract and if the dealer can't get a lender to finance the sale for you then legally the dealer is probably stuck having to take your loan payments or accepting your cancellation of the deal, but of course they won't tell you that and they, in fact, will probably say they don't have to let you do it your way at all. You need to talk to a local Consumer Law attorney who deals with this kind of case (it's called "autofraud" or car sales fraud). Call your local attorney's Bar Association or you can go to this web site page for a Free Online 50 State National List of Consumer Law Lawyers ( and find one near you. Also, for every legal right you have, you only have a limited amount of time to actually file a lawsuit in court or you automatically lose (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to an attorney and finding out what your rights are. The key to the whole thing may be whether or not your finance contract has the car dealer's name listed on it as the "creditor" or "lender" in the financing. If it does, then the dealer may be stuck with having to take your payments or letting you cancel the deal if you want. Get to a local lawyer and find out. But act now because for every legal right you have, there is only a limited amount of time to actually file a claim in court or your rights expire (it's called the statute of limitations), so don't waste your time getting to a Consumer Law attorney and finding out what your rights are. If this answer was helpful, please check the box below.

Mark as helpful

20 found this helpful

3 lawyers agree

Business topics

Top tips from attorneys

What others are asking

Can't find what you're looking for?

Post a free question on our public forum.

Ask a Question

- or -

Search for lawyers by reviews and ratings.

Find a Lawyer

Browse all legal topics