Is there a cooling-off period when buying a used car?

And can you change your mind after the deal has been done?

A cooling-off period is a term often used to describe the amount of time during which a person can cancel a contract of sale if they have changed their mind.

We’ve provided some general information below regarding cooling-off periods. However, please note that this article does not constitute legal advice, and that carsales does not get involved between a buyer and a seller regarding vehicle sales, including in regard to cooling-off periods.


Under various state and territory laws, some areas in Australia offer the provision of a cooling-off period when purchasing a vehicle from an authorised dealership; please refer to the available government guidance below:

• New South Wales – information available here.

• Victoria – information available here.

• Queensland – information available here.

• South Australia – information available here.

• There is no cooling-off period when purchasing a vehicle from a dealership in Western Australia, Northern Territory and Tasmania.

It’s also important to note that the law doesn’t provide a cooling-off period for private sales.

As a result, buyers should fully understand the condition of the vehicle before they agree to purchase it through a private sale. This should include having the vehicle inspected by a qualified mechanic to highlight any mechanical issues or potential problems that may arise in the future.

Need some help? carsales also offers a fuss-free mechanical inspection service via RedBook Inspect.


Buyers should also check the title of the vehicle through the Personal Properties Securities Register to ensure there is no finance owing on the vehicle and confirm it is not a lost or stolen vehicle.

This can be organised quickly and easily though by ordering a carsales CarFacts vehicle history report.

It is also advisable to check the vehicle’s service history and ensure that engine and VIN numbers are correctly matched to the service records.


Disclaimer: This article contains general information only and does not constitute legal advice.

Any information on this page is provided as a guide only. It is not professional or expert advice and is not a substitute for such advice. The content may not be appropriate, correct or sufficient for your circumstances and should not be relied on as the only reason you do or don’t do anything.
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