Buying a Used Car

Cooling off Rights

A two day cooling off period applies to the purchase of all second-hand vehicles, thanks to recent amendments to the Second-hand Vehicle Dealers Act. However, it’s important to note, the two day cooling off period only applies to vehicles purchased through a second-hand vehicle dealer. If you buy at auction or through a private sale, there is no cooling off period. Cooling off rights do not apply to new vehicles.

For more information on your rights when purchasing a vehicle, visit Information and services for South Australians.

Cooling Off FAQ’s

Q. How long is the cooling off period?
A. Two clear business days.

Q. Is Saturday regarded as a business day?
A. Yes.

Q. What if the dealer tries to talk me into waiving my cool off rights?
A. This is against the law, the decision to waiver must be entirely your own.

Q. How do I notify the dealer of my decision not to purchase the vehicle within the cooling off period?
A. You must notify the dealer in writing if you decide not to go through with the purchase, e-mail and fax are also acceptable methods. You may like to use our Sample Cool Off Letter.

Q. Who can witness the cooling off waiver form?
A. You must not witness this document if you are the dealer or a salesperson employed by the dealer who has been involved in any way in the transaction for the sale of the vehicle.

Q. Where does the vehicle you want to purchase stay during the cooling off period?
A. The vehicle stays in the possession of the dealer until the cooling off expires.

Q. What happens to my trade in vehicle during the cooling off period?
A. Your vehicle stays with you during the cool off period.

Q. What sort of deposit may I be asked to pay?
A. A dealer will be entitled to seek a deposit of up to a maximum of 10% of the contract price. If the purchaser decides to rescind the contract, the dealer will be required to refund the money paid by the purchaser by the end of the next clear business day after receiving the cooling off notice. The dealer may keep an amount equal to 2% of the contract price or $100 (whichever is the lesser).

Q. Do cooling off rights apply to new cars, auctions or private sales?
A. No.

Q. When does the used vehicle statutory warranty begin?
A. From the time you have actually taken possession of the vehicle.