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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69269
Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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we signed an order for a used car and paid a £100 deposit on

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we signed an order for a used car and paid a £100 deposit on Monday, 5th may 2014 but have now changed our mind about purchasing. today, we went to the dealership to cancel the order but have been refused on the grounds that the car is already registered and taxed in or name and ready to go. We have made clear our intentions to forfeit the deposit and contribute to any costs incurred, but the dealership refuses to cancel the order. Are we legally obligated to buy this car?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

Did you agree cooling off rights?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

I assumed cooling off period would be 7 days although this was not made clear.


Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
I presume you did the deal in store?
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

Yes. The deal was signed on 5/5/14 but today the dealership has said the car is ours and ready to go - registration and road tax has been assigned in our name.


When explained we didn't want the car anymore, they then offered a cheaper finance package and told us to think about it.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Thanks for the information. Overall, its quite good news.

Unfortunately, its not likely that you have rights to cancel. If you do a deal in store then you are locked in immediately. You do have automatic rights to cancel. You can agree cancellation rights under the contract which would be enforceable but commonly they have not been agreed because it wouldn’t be in the store’s interest.

It would be different if you had done the deal by distance. Then the distance selling regulations would give you unconditional rights to cancel.

If you cancel then you will be in breach of contract. However, they can still only claim the sum of their loss. They still have the car to sell and therefore have provided no consideration for this contract. The most they could claim here is some administration costs and maybe the cost of readvertising. That is very unlikely to be the sum of your deposit or anything close.

If you ask for your deposit back then its likely that you would get it all back. If they do refuse then you can always sue them at the small claims court here

While they do have a right to be compensated for some administration costs its very unlikely that they would bother to contest such a claim on this basis as it just plain wouldn’t be worth the manpower.

Hope this helps.

Please let me know if you need more information.
Jo C., Barrister
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 69269
Experience: Over 5 years in practice
Jo C. and other Law Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 2 years ago.

thank you for your answer.


I have made it abundantly clear that I am willing to compensate for their losses as I had asked for valeting and some interior work which apparently cost about £400 in addition to their administration costs as well as relinquishing the initial deposit paid, but they seem steadfast in holding me to contract.


so in conclusion, if there is no cooling off period present, I would be in breach of contract but liability on my part would only be for the dealership's costs in preparing the car. Is that correct?


If so, if we wish to break the contract would it be better to go back in person or send a recorded letter stating our intentions?


Many thanks I advance.

Expert:  Jo C. replied 2 years ago.
Yes, that is basically right.

You are liable but only for the sum of their loss and they still have the car to sell.

I think here it would be better to write to them. If negotiations fail then sending correspondence in writing is always better.

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