By Lauren Reid
Published: Wednesday, May 2, 2018
Updated: May 14, 2018 at 1:18 pm
So you've just signed a contract for a second-hand car. Can you still change your mind? And what are your rights if you do? To find out, we asked RAA's motoring experts.
In SA, used-car buyers have what’s called ‘cooling off rights’. This means they have two clear business days after they’ve signed a contract to change their mind. This can include weekend trade, depending on the opening hours of the dealership.
There doesn’t have to be anything wrong with the car to be able to ‘cool off’; the buyer can simply decide they’ve made the wrong choice.
However, to exercise these rights, there are a few steps that must be followed.
Firstly, if the buyer decides they don’t want the car anymore, they must notify the dealer of their intention in writing, and deliver it in-person, by registered post, fax, email, or to a responsible person at the dealer’s address.
To be protected by the cooling-off period, the car must remain with the dealer during this time, while your trade-in vehicle (if you had one) stays with you.
The dealer can request a deposit when the contract is signed. If the purchaser exercised their right to cool off, the dealer may retain from the deposit paid, 2% of the purchase price or $100 – whichever is the lowest. The balance of the deposit must be refunded before the end of the next clear business day after a notice to cool off is received.
Buyers are allowed to sign a waiver of their cooling off rights; however, it’s an offence for a dealer, or anyone employed by the dealer, to coerce a prospective purchaser to waive these rights. RAA strongly discourages purchasers from waiving their rights – taking the time to reconsider all things involved in the purchase is important.
Don’t forget to carefully read any documentation before signing a contract. If you sign a waiver of your rights, it’ll be difficult to prove later on that you were unaware of what you were signing.