Can I Return A Motorcycle After I Purchase It?

Motorcycle Insurance Tip!
Save on Motorcycle Insurance in Five Minutes
  • Insurance costs are on the rise.
  • Don't let your rates go up.
  • Compare rates to save big!
Compare Rates Now Motorcycle Image

Buying something then later wanting to return it is a normal thing that happens among society. Everyone has likely experienced a time like this at some point in their life.

Whether it be because of buyer’s remorse or there was something completely defective about the product, returning the product may seem like the best option for you. A lot of people may wonder if this is even possible to do when it comes to vehicles, specifically motorcycles.

Can I return a motorcycle after I purchase it? Returning a motorcycle after purchasing it entirely depends on who you bought it from. If you bought the motorcycle brand new with a warranty from a dealership, you may be able to return it under the “lemon law” proving that it is clearly defective. You likely will not be able to return a used motorcycle to a dealership or private seller.

Buying a motorcycle can be an exciting time, but it can also be very stressful. That’s why it’s so important to do the purchase with a clear mind and do your research beforehand. This article will explain exactly what circumstances let you return a motorcycle and what circumstances won’t.

Returning A Motorcycle To A Dealership

For some, it’s hard to imagine that someone would want to return a motorcycle after purchasing it. But there are a lot of situations and circumstances out there that would warrant someone to want to do something like that.

Buying a motorcycle can be an incredibly emotional move, especially if it’s your first motorcycle. You may feel excited when you buy it only later to find you’re regretting your purchase. Others may have felt like they were pressured into making such a purchase.

Whatever situation you may be in, it’s not uncommon to want to return a motorcycle a little while after you bought it. Unfortunately, there are very few cases that will enable you to do so.

Each state in the U.S. has their specific laws about returning a vehicle but their rules are generally the same. Simply regretting your purchase does not mean you can return it like you bought it from Walmart. You have to remember that throughout the purchase, you signed a paper stating you are the new owner of the motorcycle and now hold responsibility for it.

This especially holds true if you bought a brand new motorcycle from a dealership. Once you sign a contract and drive it off the parking lot, that motorcycle has already experienced about a 5% depreciation just in those few hours because it now has a record (click here to learn more about motorcycle depreciation). You can’t simply return the motorcycle and expect all your money back.

There is really only one exception to this situation and that’s if the motorcycle falls under the “Lemon Law.” The Lemon Law is a rule governed in most states that protects consumers from buying new vehicles that are unsafe when promised otherwise. You usually have to have a warranty from the dealership for you to benefit from this law.

If you were to buy a brand new motorcycle from a dealership with a warranty and there is some major mechanical issue with the bike the risks your safety, the dealership has to make some attempts at fixing it at no cost to you. If, after several attempts, the major issue is not resolved by the dealership, they are obligated by law to either replace your motorcycle or refund you the entire price.

There are a few states that do cover used motorcycles purchased at a dealership with a warranty under the Lemon Law. Check with your state to see if your it allows this. It doesn’t hurt to simply call up the dealership and discuss with them what you’re going through.

Outside of the Lemon Law, dealerships do not have an obligation to accept returns on a motorcycle. But I have heard of a handful that have worked with people and made some sort of compromise.

Returning A Motorcycle To A Private Seller

Some of you out there may be wondering if you can return a motorcycle you bought from a private seller. This is where it can get a little tricky because a lot of people don’t sign the right documentation during such a transaction and privately selling a motorcycle is usually an informal event.

In general, you cannot return a motorcycle to a private seller after paying them and signing a bill of sale. When you privately buy a motorcycle, you are agreeing to buy it “as is” and the seller holds no obligation to you to take it back and give you your money back. You made the decision to buy it so you are now responsible for it.

This is why it is so important to do your research before buying a used motorcycle from a private seller. Learn about the motorcycle itself, research it’s reliability, and ask the seller every possible question you can think of before giving them your money. Make sure you also thoroughly discuss the purchase with your significant other; you can’t plan on simply returning the bike if he/she doesn’t approve.

However, there is one exception to this rule. If you somehow received documentation from the seller promising certain things about the motorcycle and the motorcycle did not live up to that standard, you may have a case against the seller. You will need proof that the seller was deceptive and you will likely need to get a lawyer. Depending on how much you spent on your motorcycle, this may or may not be worth your time.

Return Laws And What They Mean

There are a few other laws out there that you may have heard of and wonder if they could apply to your motorcycle purchase. We’ve discussed what the Lemon Law is and what that entails, so let’s discuss what the other big laws are that you should understand.

You may have heard of the “Buyer’s Remorse Law.” The law has recognized that people will often buy things and later regret it and want to return it. The actual term for this is the “Cooling Off Rule.” This is an actual law that is applied in most states in the U.S.

The Cooling Off Rule means that a consumer has three days to change their mind after a purchase because they regret it. The three days gives them time to “cool off” and really think about whether or not they need that product.

The Cooling Off Rule was mainly created for those who had fallen victim to door-to-door salesmen and felt pressured into buying whatever product they were selling. This law protects those people and the door-to-door company is obligated by law to provide a complete refund to that person if they change their mind within those three days.

The Cooling Off Rule may also be applied in instances where you purchased something outside the seller’s primary place of business. So this could also include trade shows, a street fair, etc.

Unfortunately, this does not apply to motorcycle purchases (or any vehicle purchase in general). A lot of people are under the misconception that you have three days to return a motorcycle you bought under the “Buyer’s Remorse Law” or “Cooling Off Rule.”

When you buy a motorcycle, especially from a dealership, you are making an effort to go to their primary place of business and buying their product. In other words, you voluntarily went there.

What You Can Do Instead

So what happens if have a motorcycle you recently purchased but don’t want anymore? Does that mean you’re simply stuck with it? To put it simply, you aren’t necessarily stuck with it, but you are responsible for it. But you do have options.

At this point, your best option would be to simply sell your motorcycle. You will likely get most of your money back if not more if you are willing to sell it yourself. It is possible to easily sell your motorcycle if you have a loan on it. See my article here to learn how to sell a motorcycle with a loan on it.

Do understand that if you bought the motorcycle brand new from the dealership and plan on selling it soon after, you likely won’t get all of the money you bought it for because of the instant depreciation that happens once you sign those papers and ride it off the lot.

If you feel you have been wronged in anyway after buying a motorcycle, it never hurts to either call the seller or consult with a lawyer. They will be able to steer you in the right direction and be able to answer any specific questions you may have.

This article has been reviewed in accordance with our editorial policy.

Kyle Cannon

Kyle currently works as a mechanical engineer and graduated with a minor in automotive engineering. He loves restoring motorcycles, has a vast knowledge of how they work, and has sold his restoration projects to customers from all over the United States.

Recent Posts