No automatic right to return
Many people believe they have a right to return a new or used car within three days of buying it. However, there is no state law that explicitly grants this right. Once you sign a contract, you are bound to the terms of that contract.
The three-day right to cancel a purchase only exists in very narrow circumstances and typically does not apply to auto sales. Texas Law Help has an article that addresses the three-day right to cancel in more detail.
Exceptions for retail installment contracts
There are certain exceptions for what are known as "retail installment contracts." Although both contracts allow the buyer to pay for a vehicle over time, a retail installment contract is different from a loan.
A retail installment contract is a contract between the buyer and the dealer. A loan is a contract between the buyer and a bank or other lender for money to purchase the vehicle. See the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau's article on retail installment sales contracts for more details.
Section 348.110 of the Texas Finance Code requires a retail seller to deliver or mail a copy of the accepted contract to the buyer.
If the seller does not do this and the buyer has not yet received the vehicle, Section 348.111 of the Texas Finance Code allows the buyer to:
- rescind the contract
- receive a refund of all payments
- receive a return of any goods traded into the seller, or receive the value of those goods if they can’t be returned
What else can I do?
The contract or agreement that you signed might have provisions that allow you to return the vehicle. There may be cancellation provisions, a return policy, or a “cooling-off period.” You can also try negotiating with the seller and coming to a mutual agreement.
It may also be possible to file a lawsuit against the seller if there was deception or fraudulent activity. The Texas Deceptive Trade Practices Act prohibits sellers from using “false, misleading, or deceptive acts or practices” when making a sale. See Section 17.46 of the Texas Business & Commerce Code for a list of unlawful acts.
The law can be complex, so you may wish to talk to an attorney before taking any action. For more information on finding an attorney, please see the library's Legal Help page.
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