One of the questions we often hear at BBB is how to cancel the purchase of a product or service. While there are various reasons for wanting to cancel, many consumers feel they are pressured into making a purchase or signing a contract. They often feel they don’t have all the necessary information to make an educated decision, hence the feeling of buyer’s remorse. However, the desire to cancel a purchase seems to be most often on sales made at a consumer’s home or at a location other than the company’s normal place of business. For purchases such as these, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has guidelines for consumers and businesses.
What Consumers Should Know
The FTC’s Cooling – Off Rule gives consumers three days to cancel purchases of $25 or more conducted at a buyer’s home – even if the salesperson is invited to make a presentation at the home, workplace or dormitory, or at facilities rented by seller on a temporary or short-term basis, such as convention centers, fairgrounds, and/or restaurants. The right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale and consumers do not have to give a reason for cancelling. However, there are exceptions.
The salesperson must tell consumers about their cancellation rights at time of sale and provide two copies of the cancellation form, along with a copy of the contract or receipt. The contract should be dated, show the name and address of the seller, and explain the right to cancel in the same language used in the sales presentation.
How to Cancel
To cancel, consumers need to sign and date a copy of the cancellation form – or a letter – and mail it to the address given for cancellation, making sure it is postmarked before midnight of the third business day after the contract date.
Upon cancellation, the seller has 10 days to:
· Cancel and return any promissory note or negotiable instrument signed;
· Refund all money and tell whether any product will be picked up; and
· Return any trade-in
Within 20 days, the seller must either pick up any items left with the consumer or reimburse the consumer for mailing expenses if they agree to send back the items.
If consumers don’t make the items available to the seller and return them in good condition, they remain obligated under contract.
Complaints regarding the Cooling Off Rule can be submitted online to the FTC at www.ftccomplaintassistant.gov or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP.
When have you experienced buyer’s remorse? What service have you had trouble cancelling?