How can my friend return a too-expensive car in California?
June 5, 2013 4:34 PM   Subscribe

...or alternatives

My friend is financing a used vehicle in California that she has realized conflicts with her long-term financial goals. Can she return it? What else could she do?
posted by jander03 to Work & Money (6 answers total)
She can sell it or trade it in on something less expensive. If she sells it, she pays off the note and then the Lein holder releases the title. If you do it through a dealer, it's super easy.

If she owes more on the car than its worth, then she may be stuck.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:41 PM on June 5, 2013

It's unlikely she can return it, unless she just recently got it and the dealer had some special satisfaction guarantee-type offer going when she bought it... which is unlikely. She could always sell it, though chances are good that she'll lose money that way too, unless she got an exceptionally good deal to begin with.
posted by jon1270 at 4:43 PM on June 5, 2013

On used cars in California (but not new cars), dealers are required to offer a two day cancellation option for purchase along with the vehicle. If she purchased the option, she would be able to return the car.
posted by saeculorum at 4:45 PM on June 5, 2013

She's going to lose money no matter what. But some times it's better to get out while she can.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:46 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Without knowing anything about the car or what she paid for it / owes, it's hard to suggest good options. Speculatively, I'd guess that the trade-in and even private party values of the car are substantially less than what she paid for it. The amount of that difference is money she's already lost, and it's not coming back. Any sales tax and document processing fees are also already gone; transaction costs can be high, and that transaction is already over and done with, and if she sells this car and buys another then she'll have to pay transaction costs for that one too; that obviously wouldn't advance her long-term financial goals either. If the used car she regrets buying is an expensive luxury model, then maybe it would be prudent to sell it and get something far cheaper and more practical. But if what she bought was too expensive because she overpaid or because it was newer than she should've bought, then it would probably be smartest to suck it up and deal, saving money elsewhere.

Again, just speculating.
posted by jon1270 at 5:02 PM on June 5, 2013 [1 favorite]

Is financing rather than has already financed? Don't take out the loan.

She might lose some sort of deposit, but that might be better than taking the loan. If she hasn't financed it yet, they can't force her to sign the loan paperwork. Any contract signed with a deposit would probably specify what happens with the deposit at that point.
posted by yohko at 12:04 AM on June 6, 2013 [1 favorite]

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