Purchasing a vehicle can be both stressful and liberating. Depending on what kind of vehicle you are purchasing, it can either be extremely expensive and time consuming, or simple and easy to deal with. And once you sign those papers, you may feel on top of the world, as you have survived dealing with those pesky dealerships that always just seem to be out for you money.
But, is it really so simple? Are you completely done with the dealerships and the paperwork? Unfortunately, this is not always the case. As with most other areas, dealerships and auto shops and stores tend to have certain ways to always make the most of their money and cars. Whether that be through legal but unscrupulous means, or if they will use any underhanded method possible, any method that can get them some more money seems to be the right option for them, even if it is after the sale has been made.
What is the process of buying a car?
The process of purchasing a vehicle does change from customer to customer. Many agents and financial advisers will, as instructed, attempt to get you to buy a vehicle. Showing you around, and letting you test-drive cars, are all bits to ensure you fall in love with a single vehicle and have to have it.
This is pretty standard and common, and is the same pattern you see just about everywhere. Once you have decided on a vehicle, they will generally sit you down to talk about the financial situation, and to see if you need financing or a co-signer.
Depending on what your situation is, they may approve you for the purchase, or deny you. But in most cases, they will attempt to get you approved so that they can make a sale and get some money as well. Once that is done, it is generally assumed that everything is completed. However, that couldn't be further from the truth.
Cooling off Period
After the purchase of a vehicle, you may not be informed of what is known as a cooling off period on a vehicle purchase. This cooling off period is the period of time where the dealership may be able to dispute the purchase of the vehicle. This dispute can come in many forms, from financing not going through, to the contract becoming null and void due to some other inherent problems they found.
However, in most states, such as California, this cooling off period is limited to 10 days. Within these 10 days, the dealership must bring about their complaints and file them accordingly. If they do not, then the deal becomes permanent. THis includes any financing they have set up, such as a lowered interest rate that they approved for you, or a lower down payment on the vehicle.
Although they may attempt to say that it is on you for these mistakes and that you must correct them, once the cooling off period has finished, all problems fall to them. As such, do not be intimidated by them.
How Dealerships Abuse Cooling Off Periods
There are points where the cooling off period can be extremely dangerous. In situations where the cooling period has not been completed, then the dealership is fully within their right to call and demand the vehicle be returned to them.
Dealerships use this to prey on unsuspecting and gullible buyers that are just looking to get a new vehicle for themselves. One tactic they may use is to give you a spot delivery and tell you a lowered interest rate and down payment, just to take you off the market. From there, they will give you a call during the cooling off period to call you back, and tell you that you will need to up the interest rate and make a larger down payment, or else they may take back the vehicle. This preys on your emotions as a customer and buyer, and is something that may dealerships abuse to get better deals for themselves.
Although this is not illegal, it is an extremely abusive technique that they may use to get you to buy their vehicles. As such, it is important to note that, if you feel that you have been taken advantage of in this way, you may not have any case against them, as it is still legal, and within their rights of the cooling off period.
Do remember that this rule is very much only a dealership rule. Unfortunately, you do not hold that same right of demanding a return, or demanding that they take back the vehicle under certain circumstances. THe only circumstance that does allow this is if there has been some misconduct performed by the dealer. In this case, if an illegal dealer practice has been performed, then you would possibly be entitled to return the vehicle and receive your money back in full.