Do I have a cooling off period before I can receive my vehicle?

We look at whether you have a cooling off period before you receive your vehicle...

Do I have a cooling off period before I can receive my vehicle title with man in a blue shirt writing with a document

When you make a big purchase, you will often have something called a ‘cooling off period’. This is where you have a certain amount of time to change your mind about your purchase. This doesn’t have to be a purchase, though it is most seen when making a purchase, but can also be a service that you have arranged.

We get asked about cooling off periods from time to time, and the main question we get asked at OSV is ‘do I have a cooling off period before I can receive my vehicle?’. Cooling off period and your rights as a customer can be quite complicated, so we thought it best to write our answer down.

In this article, we explore whether you have a cooling off period, what the cooling off period means and your rights as a customer.

What is a cooling off period?

A cooling off period, in a wider context, is a period of time in which you can cancel an order you have made either online, over the phone or via mail order.

In the context of car leasing, it can be slightly different.

If you are a ‘regulated’ customer, then you will have a 14 day cooling off period. This means that you have 14 days after you sign your order to cancel completely without penalty. Once those 14 days have passed, you cannot cancel without penalty.

Man signing contract

You do, however, have the option to change your finance option, but you are still committed to the vehicle.

For example; if you have ordered a car on personal contract hire but you’ve decided you might like to own it at the end, then you can change your finance agreement to personal contract purchase after that 14 day cooling off period at no extra charge to you.

If you are an ‘unregulated’ customer, then you will not have this cooling off period. Your order will stand as it was at the point of order, and you cannot change it.

Am I a regulated customer?

You are a regulated customer if you are;

  • A private individual
  • A sole trader
  • In a partnership with less than 4 partners

This is according to the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

You are unregulated if;

  • You are a Ltd. Business
  • In a partnership with 4 or more partners

If you choose to cancel at any point as an unregulated customer then you will likely incur cancellation charges.

So if you are a regulated customer, then yes you do get a cooling off period. This means that you have 14 days to cancel your order at no extra cost to you. After that 14 days is up, you do not have the chance to cancel without penalty. After that 14 days, you can change your finance agreement, but you still have to remain committed to the vehicle. If you are an unregulated customer, then you do not have this cooling off period. This isn’t a company policy, by the way, it’s FCA regulations.

What happens if I want to change something after the cooling off period?

It depends what you want to change.

If you want to change your finance agreement then you can do so at no extra cost to you, as long as it is before you have taken delivery of the car. That said, you will get a new quotation which could mean that the finance package costs more because the finance options may vary in price. But in terms of additional fees such as administration fees, you should not be charged.

Man being handed car keys while sitting in car

If you want to change the car then this is different. If you change your car before it has been ordered from the dealership then you can do so. In regards to our process here at OSV, this can be done at no extra charge to you as long as you are ordering another vehicle.

However, if you want to change your car choice after it has been ordered from the dealership, then you may face charges from the dealer. Say you have ordered a Toyota but now you want a Hyundai, the Toyota dealership now has a spare car without an owner. In which case, you may face charges.

What happens if I want to change something after my car has been delivered?

Again, it depends what you want to change.

If you want to change your finance agreement, then whether you can change your agreement depends on the finance house.  Be cautious though, the options available to you are very limited, so always check with your vehicle broker to see if this will be an option for you.

If you have a Personal Contract Hire and you love the car so much you want to buy it at the end then this is what you can do;

  • Contact the finance house and ask them for a purchase price (not all finance houses will do this but most of them do)

However, it can be complicated, so we would really recommend you contact an experienced broker who will be able to help you through this process.

If you want to change your car, then you will have to cancel your agreement.

Can I cancel my lease agreement?

You can cancel your lease agreement, yes. However, you may incur charges.

How much will it cost to cancel my lease agreement?

It varies in terms of how far into the agreement you are. We can’t tell you how much you will have to pay in cancellation costs, but we can tell you what contributes to cancellation costs, including;

Man showing sum on calculator to woman
  • How easy the car is to re-sell
  • How unique the car is
  • If the car has a confirmed build slot
  • If the car is in stock
  • How much your monthly payments will be
    • Sometimes the fee is based on monthly payments, so it could be 3 monthly payments
  • How far along the line your order is
  • If pricing has been secured

How do I cancel my Contract Hire agreement?

If you want to cancel your Contract Hire agreement, then this is what you need to do;

You will speak to the finance house about early termination. There will be an early termination fee. Your terms and conditions will outline the penalties and any cancellation fees. If you accept the fee, then they will pick the car up and you will pay the fee. It’s that simple.

You will still be subject to condition charges, and the car must be in a condition that is in line with the BVRLA Fair Wear and Tear standard. If the car isn’t, then you will incur condition charges. You can read more about Fair Wear and Tear here.

How do I cancel a Personal Contract Purchase?

If you want to cancel a Personal Contract Purchase then it depends how far along your contract you are.

If you have paid 50% of the total amount payable then you can end your contract without charges. However, you will speak to your finance house because fair wear and tear will still apply.

Where can I find my cancellation rights?

You will find your cancellation rights in your terms and conditions of your finance agreement.. It is vital that you read your terms and conditions carefully. They will include your early termination terms and conditions as well as the cause for these actions. This includes;

Man checking credit score on tablet
  • Late payments
  • Breaching your agreement
  • The vehicle being lost or stolen whilst in your possession

If your broker does not talk to you about the cancellation terms before you sign anything, then ask what their cancellation terms are.  While you might not think that you will ever need them, you don’t know what’s round the corner and it’s always good to be prepared.  

Am I protected if I want to cancel my lease?

You are protected by the FCA and the treating customers fairly principles if you are a regulated customer.

You can also ensure that you are protected before you order your car. This can be done by choosing a vehicle broker that is a member of the BVRLA and are also regulated by the FCA. You can read more about what accreditations you should look for in a vehicle broker here.

One of the best things to do to stop you changing your mind or cancelling your order is to avoid the situation before it happens. This means ensuring that you have done all your research and that you are with a trustworthy broker who can make sure that you are making the right decision for your situation. You can read more about whether leasing is right for you here.

In conclusion, if you are a regulated customer you do have a 14 day cooling off period. This means that you can cancel your order completely. This will be at no extra charge to you. If you are an unregulated customer then you will not have a cooling off period. This is in accordance with FCA regulations. If you want to cancel your lease contract after the cooling off period then you can do so, but it can be complicated and you can incur charges. This is not something we recommend as a viable option, and the best thing to do is to prevent this from being an option in the first place. You can do that by making sure that you choose a trustworthy vehicle broker who gives you all the information you need to make the right decision.

Find out more about your cancellation rights here

Holly Martin

Content Co-ordinator at OSV Ltd
Holly enjoys: Reading, music and spending time with friends.

Within a week of Holly starting work at OSV she became an indispensable part of the marketing team. She's very intuitive and gets on with the whole office effortlessly.
Holly Martin

46 Comments

  • Jonathan| 7th November 2019 at 12:23 pm Reply

    Hi, yesterday my new leased BMW got delivered and its an old spec model. Before it was ordered, BMW confirmed it would be the new spec. The lease company are Alphabet, but I assume BMW are at fault here. Should BMW rectify this as they gave me incorrect information and the wrong spec car?

    • Rachel Richardson| 7th November 2019 at 4:53 pm Reply

      Hi Jonathan,

      Thank you for your comment regarding your recent delivery of a BMW. The specification of the car you were to receive should be on the order form. We would recommend you refer back to this to check the specification you ordered. Do you have anything in writing confirming the specification. If you do then you should go back to the dealer. We would suggest you go back to the dealer with your concerns.

  • Andrei| 4th September 2019 at 9:07 pm Reply

    Hi I’ve by a car on 03 09 ….and today frommdifeent reason I’ve change my mind can I just return the car an cancel my finance an recover my advance

    • Rachel Richardson| 5th September 2019 at 9:48 am Reply

      Hi Andrei,

      Thank you for your comment. We have more information available on this topic on the following post Do I have a cooling off period before receiving my vehicle? As we are not aware of the complete situation (whether you have taken delivery of the vehicle, whether you purchased online or at a dealership etc) we don’t feel able to offer you advice specific to your situation. However, we would recommend you carefully read the smallprint in your Finance Agreement. We would recommend that you speak with an independent legal advisory service (like the Citizen’s Advice Bureau).

  • Abi| 29th August 2019 at 7:19 am Reply

    I just bought a certified car at a dealership and I signed the papers and such, but I have not yet paid any down payment. After I came home with the car, I was going over the documents and I realized that the certified car was supposed to have 7 years/ 100k miles warranty, but the paper work only show 6k miles warranty on it. I am going to go back to the dealership and return the car since they lied about the power terrain warranty. Since it’s within that 14 days of contract agreement time frame, I can go ahead and cancel the contract and return the vehicle without any penalties, correct?

    • Rachel Richardson| 30th August 2019 at 2:44 pm Reply

      Hi Abi,
      Thank you for your comment. Though we are unable to comment accurately on your situation as we do not have all the detail. If you have the 7 year/100k mile warranty in writing from the dealership then we would recommend you contact the dealership. They have the opportunity to rectify the issue. We would recommend you read the Finance Agreement and other paperwork carefully and contact the Finance House and Dealership.

      If you do return your vehicle and are looking for a new one, please contact Amanda on 01903 223391 and she will be able to pass you to one of our vehicle experts.

  • Lala Aa| 26th August 2019 at 10:31 am Reply

    Hi. I applied for finance on Saturday 24th August and am waiting for a response still. I’ve changed my mind about this vehicle and would like to continue to looking around. Am I able to cancel this entirely?

    • Rachel Richardson| 28th August 2019 at 11:44 am Reply

      Hi Lala,
      Thank you for your comment.

      In theory, you could cancel the application. However, it depends on whether you have signed any other paperwork, including a contract. If you would like to speak with one of our vehicle experts, please contact Amanda on 01903 223391.

  • Jennie| 14th August 2019 at 8:51 am Reply

    I bought a car on finance yesterday 13 august i drove it home and it dosent feel right its an Automatic and its feels it doesnt have the power hoing up hills.
    Whats my rights if i want to return it today and choose another type of car.

    • Rachel Richardson| 14th August 2019 at 9:11 am Reply

      Hi Jennie,

      We would recommend that you go back to the dealership where you purchased the vehicle to discuss this with them. However, if you feel that there is a mechanical fault then absolutely they will need to look at it. If it’s just the driving style that you are not happy with then it will make things more difficult and you will need to look at the small print on your Finance Agreement for clarification of your rights.

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