You have the right to cancel your purchase of a used vehicle within one business day if you made the purchase through a licensed motor dealer. This means that you have 1 business day from the time the contract is signed to change your mind without incurring any significant penalty.
In this context, “1 business day” refers to the dealer’s trading days. If you sign the agreement on a Friday but the dealer is open on Saturday, you can include Saturday as one of your business days.
No authorized car dealer may legally make you wait out the cooling-off period.
For newly purchased automobiles, there is no “cooling off” period.
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The cooling-off phase following signature ends when:
at the end of the next business day at 5pm, or the next business day if the dealer is closed earlier than 5pm.
During this time, you have permission to leave with the car. The entitlement to a “cooling down” period will be forfeited if you do.
In the event that you steal the car, this does not apply:
To a third-party mechanic so it may be checked over before you take it for a spin.
When purchasing a pre-owned automobile, the buyer is not entitled to a “cooling off” period.
On consignment at a private auction if you are a motor vehicle dealer (unless you are purchasing it for your own personal use).
Similarly, the statutory right of withdrawal does not apply to the following types of purchases:
A vehicle that is not registered and cannot be wrecked since it is a commercial vehicle (a vehicle designed to transport goods or more than 9 persons, but not a utility with a load carrying capacity of 1 tonne or less).
The dealer must abide by the terms of the sales contract once you and they have signed it.
The contract becomes legally binding on you when:
You can leave with the car before the cooling-off time ends and drive it away.
Pause for reflection
The dealer must have you fill out and sign a “cooling off” form before you sign any contracts (PDF, 172KB).
If you do not receive this paperwork, the dealer is required to provide you with a 7-day return policy, up from the standard 1-day policy.
Dealers are allowed to collect non-refundable deposits during the “cooling off” period. There’s a $100 cap on the total.
If you decide to go through with the transaction, the dealer will deduct this sum from the final sale price of the vehicle. If you decide to cancel the agreement, the dealer is entitled to keep all or part of your deposit.
The dealer is obligated to provide you with a written statement detailing these terms.
You can cancel the sale by sending written notice to the dealer that you are withdrawing from the transaction. It can be handed off in person, sent through email or fax, or all three.
The dealer is not allowed to prevent you from using your right to a cooling-off period.
A possible competing bidder
Even though a customer has a signed contract on a car, the dealer can still offer it to someone else. However, the second buyer can only purchase the vehicle if the first deal falls through. This typically occurs during the cooling-off period when the original buyer cancels the purchase.
The second buyer’s deposit is 100% refundable after the first buyer drives away in the car.
Cars on consignment are offered for sale on behalf of their owners. For the most part, car dealerships act as consignors in consignment sales, selling vehicles on behalf of their owners.
There is no waiting period for consignment cars.
Any reputable vendor will inform you that:
Due to the nature of the car being used as a consignment, the standard three-day withdrawal period does not apply.
Any advertising must make this obvious as well.
Exchange of Vehicles
In accordance with the terms of the deal, you may have exchanged your previous vehicle for a new one. If you decide to cancel your purchase and are still inside the cooling-off period, the dealer must give it back to you.