So you made a huge purchase and were excited about it! Well, a few days have passed and buyer’s remorse has settled in the pit of your stomach. Now, instead of using that money to pay off debts, you’ll have to pay for your personal training contract instead. Fear not! The Federal Trade Commission’s Cooling-Off Rule gives you three days to cancel a purchase made at your home, workplace, or at the seller’s temporary location. However, there are exceptions to this rule, so you need to know your rights.
How to Cancel a Purchase
- At the time of sale: Legally, the seller must tell you about the right to cancel a purchase at the time of sale. He or she must also give you two copies of a cancellation form and a copy of your contract or receipt. They should be dated, show the name and address of the seller, and explain your right to cancel. The contract or receipt must be in the same language as the sales presentation. Your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale.
- Exceptions to the rule: Certain types of sales cannot be canceled. Some examples include sales under $130 made at temporary locations, transactions made entirely online, by mail or telephone, real estate, insurance or securities, and arts or crafts sold at fairs. Check out the complete list on the FTC’s Consumer Information website.
- How to cancel: You don’t have to give a reason for canceling because you have the right to change your mind. To cancel a purchase, sign and date one copy of the cancellation form. Mail it to the address given for cancellations. Make sure the envelope is post-marked before midnight of the third business day after the contract date. Saturday is a business day, but Sundays and federal holidays are not. Consider sending the cancellation form by certified mail so you can get a return receipt. Keep the other copy of the cancellation form for your records. If the seller never gave you a cancellation form, you can write a letter. The seller then has ten days to cancel and return any check you signed, refund all your money, and return any trade-in.
- If you have problems: You can file a complaint with the FTC if you think the seller has violated the Cooling-Off Rule. You can also contact your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agency. If you used a credit card, the credit card company must acknowledge your dispute in writing and conduct an investigation of your problem. Taking these steps can also help you to reduce credit card debt. To protect your rights, send a written notice to the credit card company within sixty days from the first statement on which the disputed transaction appeared.
Remember that you have rights as a consumer. More importantly, you need to be aware of the fine print on whatever it is that you are purchasing. It doesn’t matter whether you’re signing a contract or buying expensive skincare; ask about their refund and return policies. This will save you a big hassle in the long run.