An Ontario woman says she lost a $2,000 deposit after she bought a used car and then changed her mind.

“My husband was under the impression there was a cooling off period and through this experience we found out that there wasn’t,” Charnell Iweze of Brampton, ON told CTV News Toronto.

A “cooling-off period’ is a period of time following a purchase when the buyer may choose to cancel a purchase or contract, or return goods which have been supplied, and obtain a full refund.

If you ever sign a contract in your home to buy something and change your mind you have ten days to cancel the agreement for any reason.

But if you’re shopping for a new or used vehicle there is no cooling off period once an agreement is signed which many people don’t know

Iweze said she and her husband had been considering a move to Alberta and wanted to buy a vehicle here and have it shipped out west.

“We are exploring our options about moving to Alberta,” said Iweze.

Iweze found a 2009 Dodge Journey with a selling price of $6,800. She decided to buy it, signed a contract and put down a $2,000 deposit.

But after she put down the payment on the vehicle she said she found out the cost of shipping the SUV out west was going to be too expensive.

“We put down a deposit for the car, but we let them know we would like the deposit back and they said they are keeping the entire amount,” said Iweze.

Iweze said she was unaware she couldn’t cancel the contract, and didn’t know there is no cooling off period when it comes to motor vehicle contracts in Ontario.

“We do not have a cooling off period in this province for vehicle sales,” said Maureen Harquil, CEO of the Ontario Motor Vehicle industry Council (OMVIC).

OMVIC oversees car dealers in Ontario and once you sign a contract to buy a vehicle it is a legally binding agreement and the dealership may decide to keep your deposit if you don’t follow through with the purchase.

“That’s why when you’re going in to sign that bill of sale and purchase or lease a vehicle it says right on the contract all sales are final and it is in Ontario,” said Harquil.

Iweze feels there should be a cooling off period for vehicle sales and is still hopeful she’ll get all or some of her deposit returned.

A dealership may decide to return a deposit to show goodwill as maybe you’ll be their customer in the future, but they don’t have to.

The best advice is to be extremely careful signing any contract for a vehicle unless you’re absolutely sure you want it.

Under Ontario law, there is a 10 day cooling off period when you sign contracts in your home, pay in advance to join a fitness club or purchase a timeshare. There is also a two day cooling off period if you get a payday loan. 


Foran, P. (2022, December 14). Ontario woman loses $2,000 deposit when she decides not to buy a car. Toronto. Retrieved March 31, 2023, from