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Buyer’s Remorse Law

QUESTION: My husband and I bought two days ago a brand new 2003 Lincoln Navigator. This is a $60,000 purchase and we were very excited. The reason we chose this model over the competition was because were told that it has a "wireless" stereo headset system installed.

When we stopped yesterday by the dealership to pick up the "missing" wireless headsets, we learned that our Lincoln had the older, hard-wired system, and that only the new ones coming out of the factory have the wireless system.

This component was very important to us. The dealership has refused to take the Lincoln back for a refund. However it has offered to find a replacement vehicle, and to let us drive this vehicle until he gets the replacement.

I'm nervous about this. Ideas?
M.L., Richmond

ANSWER: Hopefully the dealership will honor its promise to find a replacement vehicle that fits the bill here. However, since I deal is a less-than-perfect world, I suggest that you take steps to protect yourself in case the dealership changes its corporate mind.

First of all, there is no three-day cooling off period. Therefore you do not have seventy-two hours to cancel the deal. However, you may have a couple of legal grounds to unwind the deal and get you back to where you should have been if the mistake had not been made.

Where there is a mutual mistake of facts as here, both you and the dealership were mistaken about the type of stereo sound system installed a court may permit a cancellation of the deal. Also, where the product purchased fails to meet the standards advertised, you have a right to cancel the deal and reject the nonconforming product.

Generally, when the buyer desires to cancel the purchase, he or she must avoid using the product. You may want to stop driving the vehicle and return it to the dealership right away, unless there is a written authorization.

The dealershis offer to find a replacement and let you drive this one is fair. However, I suggest that you formalize your position and notify the dealership in writing that the Lincoln does not conform with the advertisement. You might consider giving the dealership three options:

  1. Replace the stereo system with one as advertised in newer 2003 models;

  2. Replace the vehicle with a Navigator that fully conforms with all promises;

  3. Consider the deal canceled, and have the downpayment refunded, and the Ford Credit loan application terminated.

You should also contact Ford Credit right away if this deal is canceled.

NOTICE: The responses published herein are fact specific and intended for general educational purposes. These responses are not intended as a substitute for advice from your own attorney on your particular circumstances. Car Law may be contacted at 703-243-7938, by logging onto the Web at, or by Email at Attorney Swann's office address is 1110 North Glebe Road, Suite 200, Arlington, VA 22201-4795.