Think back to your last car purchase. What were you thinking about? You probably focused on how shiny it was or the practical value the new car would add to your workday or leisure time. Car loan liability may become a concern if you or a loved one dies with car loan debt — it usually comes to a head as the estate settles. There are contexts in which the car loan may pass to someone else, but more often, the car loan will be settled out of your estate or it will go unpaid.
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Before signing on the dotted line for that shiny new car, you had better be sure about the purchase because, once you drive off the lot, you will not be able to cancel the agreement and return the car. While this is true for some types of purchases, it does not apply to new cars. If financing is denied, the dealer will cancel the contract. You must return the vehicle, in its original condition, within 24 hours and the dealer must return you trade in and the down payment you made with no deductions for your usage or mileage or you face repossession. This right to cancel only applies to the dealership—you do not have a right to cancel for any reason. Unlike other products, cars lose significant value as soon as they are driven off the lot. It is designed to protect consumers from high-pressure sales tactics in locations other than a store or showroom.
Thankfully, there are ways to avoid being overcharged at the dealership. But even if you arm yourself with as much information as possible before you go car shopping, it's still possible to fall prey to unscrupulous dealers. What happens if you find you've been charged hundreds or thousands of dollars more than you expected? Ericka Honore of Lake Ronkonkoma, New York, said her fears of car shopping as a single woman were confirmed four years ago when she was looking for a used SUV. She had compared prices on Kelley Blue Book and other websites beforehand.
Last Updated: October 2, References Approved. This article was co-authored by Clinton M. Sandvick, JD, PhD. Clinton M.