Can You Return a Motorcycle After Purchase?

Can you return a motorcycle after purchasing it? Many state laws do not allow a buyer to return a motorcycle after purchase, but there are exceptions to this effect.

Can you return a motorcycle after purchase

If you can prove that the motorcycle sale was unlawful or gross fraud had been committed against you in the transaction, all paperwork signed duly, you can return the motorcycle. But you can’t return it if you merely feel like it. Nevertheless, provisions such as buyer’s remorse may allow you to return the motorcycle to the dealer or seller.


This article attempts to answer your question in a fulfilled way coupled with the author and editors’ experiences.

Can You Return a Motorcycle After Purchase?

Conventionally, ‘No’, you can’t return a motorcycle after purchase. Nevertheless, you can return it even after delivery if it meets certain conditions disclosed in this article.


A dealer may take back the motorcycle but after deducting some amount because you already owned the motorcycle. Moreover, the motorcycle will be treated and valued as ‘used’ by the new buyer.

Not many dealerships offer a “Cool-Down” period after motorcycle delivery. In this regard, you can’t return the purchased motorcycle within a set window, plus the cooling down rule does not apply to motorcycles most of the time.

Typically, the cooling down rule is available at the used motorcycle dealerships or lots (if your seller makes such a provision). It does not apply to private sellers because private motorcycle deals are typical “As Is”. You might feel state laws should work in your favor but dealerships deserve some too.

Meanwhile, you can rely on a law like the “Lemon Law” that protects you if there are irreparable defective parts in the motorcycle. The lemon law is timed and does not apply if you merely change your mind after buying a motorcycle.


Read Also: Can you ride home a motorcycle after purchase?

Returning Purchased Motorcycle to a Dealership

I regret buying a motorcycle

Of course, you can return a purchased motorcycle to a dealership, but they won’t replace the amount you paid while purchasing it. At max, they may return 50% of the sales amount, which becomes a loss for you.

Meanwhile, confirm whether there are consumer protection laws in your jurisdiction. An engine stalling, for example, is not enough reason to return your motorcycle after buying it. A knackered gearbox might be a reason because it might be more than an operator error.

Since it is less likely that you will return the motorcycle and get your money back, you can sweet-talk the dealership to give you credit towards the purchase of another motorcycle.

Returning Purchased Motorcycle to a Private Seller

can i return a motorcycle i just bought

Note that buying a motorcycle from a private seller is “As Is” mostly. When you purchase a motorcycle from a private party out of the manufacturer’s warranty, the motorcycle comes with no warranties. So, even if you identify motorcycle issues, the private seller can’t refund, except they decide to or you were defrauded in the deal.

The California lemon law, for instance, does not mandate a private seller to offer warranties. In this regard, if your used motorcycle breaks down the following day, you can’t challenge the seller legally (at least in most cases). It is in this context that the maxim caveat emptor (“let the buyer beware”) applies.

Besides, you can’t prove that the seller claimed the motorcycle in excellent condition unless you have a written statement.

Be knowledgeable of what to check when buying a motorcycle from a private seller. You can always go with a mechanic to confirm the condition and go for a test ride—a typical inspection costs between $100 and $250, which is worth it.

Can You Return a Motorcycle You Financed?

After you finance a motorcycle, the lender sends the money to the dealer, i.e., buys it from the dealer. The motorcycle dealer is out of the picture, and you are dealing with the lender, who is also the lien holder. The lemon law does not cover your motorcycle because the lender sold the motorcycle to you as a used. Your options are voluntary repossession (not recommended) or repair the motorcycle and trade-in/sell it.

Meanwhile, if you financed a motorcycle, can it be repossessed?

Motorcycle Consumer Laws

The buyer’s remorse on a motorcycle can help to return a motorcycle you just bought. But to what extent do motorcycle consumer laws protect you?

  1. Lemon Laws

States each have varying lemon laws that cover motorcycles; endeavor to verify whether lemon laws apply in your states and the applicable guidelines.

Refund laws for private sales

Typically, lemon laws cover motorcycles as “consumer goods.” If a motorcycle lessee or buyer received a written warranty, and the motorcycle was bought for household or personal purposes, it is covered under state lemon laws.

Lemon laws allow a motorcycle manufacturer to direct you to a repair facility for a fair number of repair attempts. The law also permits manufacturers to provide further options that may remedy the situation.

In essence, when you return a faulty motorcycle, the manufacturer decides whether to repurchase or replace it. Motorcycle lemon laws are more liberal in some states. For instance, a motorcycle lemon law may not require that the motorcycle fault impair the use, value, or motorcycle safety.

Lemon Laws Do Not Cover Recalled Motorcycles

If you are returning a motorcycle due to a recall, it does not trigger lemon law. There must be several undocumented faults in the motorcycle for lemon law to be invoked.

Recently, my Triumph was recalled for the loom (electronic spinal cord). I could not return the motorcycle, so I left it with the manufacturer and received a loaner motorcycle for a week.

  1. Cooling Off Rule

Following the law, a seller must disclose when you can cancel the sale. You should also get copies of the cancellation form and receipt. The receipt must be dated, explain the right to cancel, and display the seller’s name and address. The receipt should also be in the language used during the sales.

Depending on the dealer, the product, and your state laws, your cancelation right may extend between 3-10 days (expires midnight of the last cancelation date).

Unfortunately, motorcycles may be exempted in your state, and it depends on the dealer’s return policy to honor your request to return the motorcycle. In California, for instance, a cooling-off period may apply to used motorcycles less than $40,000, and it lasts two days. Moreover, you must purchase it before exiting the dealership with your motorcycle.

When the cooling off rules applies in your transaction, a motorcycle dealer might refuse you to return the motorcycle because you signed a form that declines to purchase the cooling-off period. It is not always the case; you may still return the motorcycle if something went wrong.

How to Get Out of Not Returning a Purchased Motorcycle

Are you unable to return a motorcycle after purchase? Consider the following options:

  1. Trade-In

If you do not like the motorcycle you purchased anymore, you may trade-in for another motorcycle. Depending on the motorcycle you are trading in with, you might add some cash to the deal. Note that your motorcycle will be treated as a used motorcycle since it was registered/titled in your name.

  1. Sell to a Dealer

Can you sell a motorcycle back to the dealer? Yes. The dealer can buy your motorcycle if you can’t return it; some dealers can take your motorcycle on consignment. However, you can’t expect the cash value you paid on the motorcycle.

You can sell the motorcycle to any willing buyer, but do not sell far less than the purchase price. Unless a buyer trusts you, no seller will pay the purchase price. Moreover, paperwork will be done at their expense after the purchase.


If you financed a motorcycle and the lender won’t let you return it, you can always follow my guide to get out of a motorcycle loan!

Final Thoughts

In this article, a stern response has been given to the question, “Can you return a motorcycle after purchase?”

If you identify issues with the motorcycle, claim a warranty (if any) to get it fixed at no cost, provided you have not crossed the warranty period.

In fraud cases, such as purchasing a stolen motorcycle, you can return the motorbike to the dealer or private seller and get your money back.

However, if you merely want a refund or another motorcycle, you can’t return it. The best a dealer can do is to credit you towards the purchase of another motorcycle.

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1 comment
  1. Bought a 2021 row glide Harley Davison from San Jose Harley Davison had to buy a year now having problems with the bike that’s due to the ECM and the stereo and I cannot figure out why the bike won’t run and the stereo will not work can I return the bike I cannot get it to work thank you

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