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I bought a second hand car, not delivered yet, can I cancel the deal?


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Hi, I bought a second hand car by part exchanging my old car. I signed the papers, but after coming back home, I checked the average price of that car on the internet (in AutoTrader.co.uk and Parkers.co.uk) and I think I overpaid at least £1000 on it. but I haven't driven the car yet (I told them to clean and do full service before delivering). can I now change my mind and cancel the deal? do I have a legal right to do so? if they can reduce the price by at least £500 I am happy ( I am not sure if they will agree), but if they don't, can I cancel the deal?

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Dear rkrishna,


You can certainly 'cancel' the deal from your side, but equally the dealer is entitled to sue you to complete the contract that you have entered into. This is especially so as you have instructed the dealer to clean and service the vehicle in preparation for delivery, incurring cost to them. Whilst this might enhance the value for a subsequent owner, it is dead money if the vehicle were to be sent to auction or sold within the trade.


It may well be that they have begun the transfer of registration into your name, this would then reduce the price that they could ask anyone else to pay, ie. 2 owner rather than a 1 owner vehicle.


The price that you agreed for both the vehicle that you purchased and the trade-in value on your vehicle are linked. What makes you think that they would reduce the price by £500 just because you have decided that this what you want? Perhaps you are being allowed more money on your existing vehicle, than you would get selling it to the trade (not to be confused with selling retail), the way to look at it is how much extra money you are parting with to upgrade to this vehicle. What does Parkers say about your existing vehicle?


The value that Parkers' Guide indicates is just that, a guide. The individual value of any vehicle depends on a whole range of factors that they are not party to. Specifically the condition, optional features, desirability of colour, local conditions eg. shortage or otherwise of this class of vehicle or dealership in your area, general trading differentials - London prices versus Lincolnshire etc.


The fact that you have not yet driven the vehicle is not relevant, unless you were specifically prevented from doing so by the seller eg., keys not available, vehicle boxed in by other vehicles etc. If it was just that you declined a test drive because it had just been taken in part exchange, or you did not have enough time, you cannot reject the vehicle. Once you have taken delivery, any problems that you encounter will be covered by the Sale of Goods Act which takes precidence over any warranty that is offered by the seller.


In essence, there is no cooling off period for this face to face transaction. You could appeal to the seller on the basis that you realize that you have made a mistake and cannot afford to run the new car, but the seller is not obliged to release you from the contract. You certainly cannot tell them that you can only complete if they knock £500 off the agreed price.


I hope that after you have read the above, that you will review your current mindset which appears to be 'I have paid too much, I want it for less'. It is quite common to doubt one's decision after making a transaction, some people are more prone to this than others especially if they are a little impulsive in the first place. Just visualize yourself driving the new vehicle, the pleasure you will get from it and the good service you will get in the future from the seller.



My time as a Police Officer and subsequently time working within the Motor Trade gives me certain insights into the problems that consumers may encounter.

I have no legal qualifications.

If you have found my post helpful, please enhance my reputation by clicking on the Heart. Thank you

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