How to Get Out of a Signed Contract for Buying a Car

Returning the car does not void your original purchase agreement.

If a dealership cannot match you up with a bank willing to finance your purchase, the dealer can void the contract you signed and ask that you return the vehicle. If you are the one who needs to get out of the purchase contract, however, your options are limited. When you sign an agreement to purchase a vehicle, your signature gives the dealership the right to pursue you for payment of the vehicle and even take legal action against you if you refuse to honor your end of the agreement. In certain situations, however, you can get out of a vehicle purchase agreement after signing on the dotted line.

Step 1

Talk to the manager at the dealership and explain why you cannot go through with the purchase. The car dealership's manager has the ability to void your purchase contract. While there is no guarantee that the manager will do so, if your story falls on sympathetic ears, the manager may just tear up your contract.

Step 2

Read through the purchase contract for a return policy. A common consumer misconceptions is that you have three days to return your vehicle after purchasing it. While dealerships are not required to grant you this provision, some do in effort to further customer relations. If your contract contains a three-day right of revision, you can get out of your signed contract by returning the car within 72 hours after purchasing it.

Step 3

Demand that the dealer take the car back under your state's lemon law statute. All state lemon law statutes differ, but in general if you have had the car repaired more than four times for the same issue and the issue remains, you can escape your contract due to the car's status as a "lemon."

Step 4

Refuse delivery of the car. If you have a certain vehicle in mind but the dealership does not have the car in stock, it will order it for you. If you change your mind before the car arrives, refuse delivery of the vehicle and offer to compensate the dealership for their storage fees and the documentation fees necessary to prepare your paperwork in exchange for voiding the contract. Provided you did not finance the vehicle through the dealership, the dealership may accept your offer since it recovers a profit on the vehicle and can still sell it to another customer.


Lemon laws typically apply to new cars but some states, such as Massachusetts, maintain lemon laws for used car purchases as well.


You may not be able to get out of your signed contract. If you cannot have the contract voided, you must make your monthly payments according to the terms of the contract until you pay off or sell the vehicle.

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