Purchase cancellation

Many consumers mistakenly believe they have three days to cancel a motor vehicle purchase contract. They do not. The 3-day "cooling off" period only applies to sales the dealer makes away from the dealership — for example, at a mall or fair grounds. If you sign a purchase contract at the dealership it is a binding contract. The dealer may charge you a penalty if you cancel the deal. By law, the penalty cannot be more than 5% of the purchase price of the vehicle.

If you order a new vehicle to be delivered at a later date and the vehicle is not delivered within 15 days of the anticipated delivery date recorded on the purchase contract, you can cancel the contract without penalty.

If you are unhappy with your purchase, talk with your dealer. Some dealers will make a goodwill adjustment, or even cancel your contract without a penalty in order to satisfy a good customer.

Dealer and Agent Section can help

If you have serious concerns about your vehicle purchase or lease that you cannot resolve with the dealer, contact Wisconsin Department of Transportation's (WisDOT) Dealer & Agent Section at (608) 266-1425 or by email at: DealerLicensingUnit@dot.wi.gov. The Dealer & Agent Section may be able to work out a settlement between you and the dealership if the dealership sold the vehicle improperly.

To file a complaint against a dealership

Complete the Dealer Complaint form MV2338. Mail the form to WisDOT Dealer and Agent Section at the address below. Attach readable copies or originals of documents related to your vehicle purchase or lease. WisDOT will use the information you provide to resolve your complaint and enforce the laws. It may share the information with the dealer you name in your complaint. Under Wisconsin’s Open Records Law, your complaint will be available for public review upon request.

About Dealer and Agent Section

WisDOT's Dealer and Agent Section licenses, regulates and educates the motor vehicle industry, and resolves disputes about dealership sales and warranty repairs. The Dealer and Agent Section also investigates complaints about unlicensed dealers and odometer tampering. 

Related information:


If you have questions:​​