The "Cooling Off Period" Explained

Posted by Motorama in Buyer Advice

Generally, the two largest purchases in life will be your house and a car.

And with any big purchase, you should be allowed to change your mind if isn’t exactly as described. In Queensland, the cooling off period for cars may or may not apply if you buy a new or used, and can depend from whom you buy it.

What is a cooling off period?

The cooling-off period is a set amount of time where you can “sleep on” your purchase. In Queensland, you will only get this if you buy a used car from a licensed motor dealer.

New cars

In Queensland, there is no cooling-off period for new cars, so you must be absolutely certain about the car before you sign a new car contract.

Make sure any contract you sign is completely written, and that it shows in any trade-in amount paid as well as a delivery date. You can also write any requirements into your contract, such as a delivery date of a specified build date and coloured vehicle or a condition that the contract will only be enforced depending on if you can get finance from your credit provider.

A dealership must tell you the actual price of the vehicle, the transfer (stamp) duty, dealer delivery charges, any other levies or fees that need to be paid before you can take delivery of the vehicle.

Before you take delivery, check the vehicle plates for compliance and build dates and make sure that they match the advertised year of your car. These not only help you with determining a resale value, but you should be driving home in a car that was built in the year that was advertised to you. (Remember, the compliance date will not always be the same as the build date – mostly on imported cars.)

When you drive away in your car, that’s it – there’s no changing your mind. This is offset by your various warranties to protect you if the vehicle fails to operate as intended.​

Used car


Used cars do carry a cooling-off period, as long as they're sold by a licensed motor dealer. At Motorama Pre-Owned we also offer a 48H Money Back Guarantee, for extra piece of mind.

The cooling-off period in Queensland is 1 day, or 7 days if the dealer does not get you to sign off on the cooling-off period and statutory warranty form before the contract is completed and signed.

This 1-day period starts from when you sign the contract, and on the dealer’s next business day at 5pm – or the following business day at their usual closing time.

This applies to all used and dealer demonstrator cars.

You cannot drive away in the vehicle in the cooling-off period, unless you are taking it for an independent mechanical inspection or a test drive. When the cooling-off period ends, or if you take delivery and drive away in the vehicle, you will be bound by the sales contract.

Not all used cars are entitled to a cooling-off period, though.

Cars bought from private sellers don’t receive one, so you have to do even more research and inspections on a car sold by a private seller. If it’s kosher, go ahead with the sale – but remember that you aren’t offered any statutory warranties either and private sellers are not subject to the same laws that motor dealers are.

Vehicles sold on consignment (through a dealer on behalf of its owner) do not receive a cooling-off period – however, a dealer must advertise and tell you whether a car is on consignment and will not come with a cooling-off period should you decide to purchase it.​

Vehicles at auction

Vehicles sold at auction are not subject to a cooling off period, and may not be subject to a statutory warranty.


Generally, you’re not allowed to drive a car at auction (some are unregistered or unsafe) – but it will usually have a sign with its vital information. Auctions must be held by licensed chattel auctioneers, who identify themselves with a prominent sign or verbally before the start of an auction.

If there is a buyer’s fee applicable to the sale (i.e. a percentage of the sale on top of the purchase price), the auctioneer must disclose to bidders that a buyer’s premium is applicable, as well as what percentage they are charging it at.​

Where to start?

Make sure you thoroughly check the car before you purchase, take it for test drives, have an independent mechanic look over it when buying privately, and ask all your questions beforehand to avoid getting caught out afterwards.

Motorama have one of the largest selections of quality pre-owned cars for sale in Brisbane. If you are in the market for a second hand car, we will have the right car for you. We stock cars across all price ranges starting for under $10,000, at our convenient dealer locations in Moorooka, Springwood and Browns Plains.

We specialise in all things auto, and only stock the best quality cars from brands including Toyota, Mitsubishi, Holden, Ford, Nissan, Hyundai, Kia, Honda, Subaru, Volkswagen, Mazda, BMW and many more.

Search pre-owned stock

 Motorama Million Dollar Buying Drive

We're holding our biggest ever buying drive - and we want your car!

We're going on a buying drive for your trade-in vehicles: if you're thinking of upgrading your car, moving overseas or downsizing, bring your car to us for a no-obligation quote.

You can go home with money in the bank or if you do decide to trade in, you can browse our new and demo cars or hundreds of pre-owned cars.

Value My Car