Returning Car to Car Yard. What Is The Cooling off Period?

Hi all,

My partner purchased a 2004 BMW E53 two weeks ago but only picked it up yesterday from the car yard as it had to go through a road worthy and have something changed on the engine due to oil leakage. The point of sale contract was completed 2 weeks ago with the deposit but we had a new contract written up the day we picked it up due to the change of terms with the warranty offered.

The dealer made her sign a new contract and confirmation of transfer of change yesterday. We drive the car home and it seems fine. We take it for another test drive locally and the 'check brake lights' and 'check tail lights' warning comes on. We check everything and it seems OK. After some time in the day the check engine light is now on..

We want to return the car as we have no confidence with the vehicle and later noticed a lot more minor issues like heater not working on drivers side, a cigarette butt left in the ashtray and other minor defects.

Does the cooling off period apply when we paid for the deposit two weeks ago, or when we drove out of the lot yesterday, with a new contract signed with the change of warranty applied?

We are based in Victoria and have read through Consumer Affairs but would like a confirmation should the dealer fight back. As we see it, we have three day cooling off period from when a new contract was now signed and the car was driven out of the lot?

Thanks for reading and help!


  • +1

    This is your cooling-off period. However, if you choose to accept delivery of the vehicle during this three-day period, you will automatically lose your right to cool off.

    Thanks Google.

    • -1

      Yeah I googled everything but wanted an opinion just in case because I couldn't find anything around a similar situation.
      What is delivery deemed as? If they had actually delivered the car to our address I'm assuming?

      • +1

        Delivered means that they handed you the keys, and you have driven the car away. The excerpt I posted is from the Vic government, so anyone elses opinion is irrelevant at this point.

        What is the car? Did you have a pre purchase inspection?

        • Hmm well I'm glad I asked because I interpreted it completely wrong.

          We had a roadworthy completed but it seems like that's about it, the car isn't anything special it's a BMW e53 2004. I was expecting little things issues wise but the car also has an issue where it takes 3-5 goes to start which wasn't happening when we drove it initially. Not sure what others would do in this situation.

          • +6

            @lilchonk: Oh my, you bought an old X5 with no pre purchase inspection. 6 cylinder, V8, or diesel?

            I know it doesn't help now, but in future, get a pre purchase inspection, especially for an old euro that can cost a lot in repairs.

            You can try your luck getting them to take it back, but I don't think that will be successful. So you have stat warranty on a vehicle of that age in Victoria? If so, you will be able to get them to fix the issues, or at least try. Did they give you a crappy "Australian warranty network" warranty as well?

            • @brendanm: It's the 6 cylinder. The car drives okay, I think we weren't expecting so many things to start going wrong or implying something's wrong so soon.

              Yeah it seems like a warranty called AD mechanical warranty
              Covers $1000 for drive train and $100 for additional components.

              I appreciate you helping because I know it's probably sounding pretty dumb.

              I wasn't there unfortunately when my partner chose to purchase this vehicle 2 weeks ago. I'm usually very wary and do research prior to making big purchases. I'm just trying to help her out.

              • +3

                @lilchonk: Probably the best thing you could do now would be to get the vehicle inspected, and then attempt to get issues fixed using that warranty. Be prepared to argue with warrant company.

                It's a pity you aren't mechanically inclined, as parts can be had for quite reasonable prices for these things.

                • +2

                  @brendanm: Yeah. Go find the local indepedent BMW service garage and get it checked out. Grit your teeth.

            • +4


              Oh my, you bought an old X5

              Could have stopped hear….. 17 year old BMW… going to be a endless money pit!

          • +3

            @lilchonk: Euros are very expensive to fix when they get older. Wasn't the best choice of second hand car.

            • +2


              Wasn’t the best choice…

              But but but… “EuRoPeAn LuXuRy1!!1!!!”

              • @pegaxs: 💪 always get the better of a sensible decision.

  • Good luck with that…
    You'll lose the deposit minimum.

  • +18

    Cooling off period only exists between when you sign the contract and when you pick up the vehicle. As soon as you accept delivery, you waive your cooling off period, so that Avenue is off the table.

    Depending on the vehicle age and km, it will have varying levels of statutory warranty and also be covered by consumer laws. You can look these up on various government websites as required. Aftermarket warranties are not worth the paper they are printed on. (Also, used cigarette butts in an ashtray are not a warranty item, that’s just a sign of a shit car yard.)

    Lastly, if I’ve said it once, I’ve said it a million times… “if you can’t afford a new BMW, you certainly can’t afford a used one…” What ever possessed you to buy a used 17yo BMW X5? I could just imagine the quality of the dealer you bought that from.

    • Yep - cooling off period is not the issue.
      Rejection period might be, depending on the seriousness of the defects.

    • Hopefully it was cheap - like $7k-$8k

  • +10

    I hope you've got plenty of money OP, spare parts alone will keep you broke, as will motor mechanic rates.

    A second hand Euro from a dodgy dealer with a third party warranty - now what can go wrong with that?

    • +2

      Not to mention

      a cigarette butt left in the ashtray

      • +12

        The cost to remove a cigarette butt from an X5 would be about $8,000.

        • +1

          Yeah, but that service includes a top up of the blinker fluid.

        • Not covered by warranty:

  • +12

    The salesmen moments after you drove off with an old lemon X5 without getting it inspected.

    • +5

      Sums up my reaction when I read 2005 BMW X5 lol

  • Oh well, here goes your saving from ozb since 2012. Good luck.

    I admire your (partner's) courage, because I won't have the balls to make this purchase.

  • 2004 BMW

    hmm, what could go wrong, what was the price ?
    do you (or a friend) have an OBD scanner> if so you can read out the exact issues (this should be done even before going for a test drive at the yard)
    if you only paid a small price for euro luxary and it doesn't have any safety related issues, you could drive it for sometime and then sell later. It may be not that cost effective to fix all issued in such an old car.

  • +5

    My partner purchased a 2004 BMW E53

    That’s your problem

    • +1

      Friends don't let friends buy used Euro trashwagons… :D

  • We are based in Victoria and have read through Consumer Affairs but would like a confirmation should the dealer fight back. As we see it, we have three day cooling off period from when a new contract was now signed and the car was driven out of the lot?

    Incorrect, cooling period exists between the signing of the contract and BEFORE you execute the contract (pay the money and take the car).

    So to answer your question, you are outside of the cooling off period since you have driven it home.

    Don't know why you've decided to buy such an old euro car. I think some of them are unnecessarily complex, my friend once told me about a warning light that kept bugging him on the dashboard because one of the lights in the boot was out. Seriously, why is there a warning light for that. If the light in your boot is not turning on, and you can't see shit in the dark, then your light is out

    At this point, I would just run it until you can't. I don't think it's worth repairing

    We take it for another test drive locally and the 'check brake lights' and 'check tail lights' warning comes on.

    Shady dealer probably cleared the engine errors before you arrived

  • +1

    Well, your issue here is it's an old BMW.
    It's debatable, the problems at this age would be expected, can't really be shocked that a bmw has significant oil and electrical problems.

    Although there should be some sort of warranty offered by the dealer.

  • 16 year old car…. No independent inspection before pickup and final sign off.

    What can go wrong…. Eating the pop corn and drinks and waiting for more fireworks and stuff that makes me laugh about people and what they do….

  • +1

    Based on the responses and feedback, you’re screwed.

  • +1

    Ahhh… bmw life

  • Basically drive it until it breaks down then remove plates and uber home. The next day, get someone to pick it up and take it to its final destination.

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