Cooling-off Period

by Rudolf Faix Thursday, November 5, 2015 11:32 PM

JudgeIn consumer rights legislation and practice, a cooling-off period is a period of time following a purchase when the purchaser may choose to cancel a purchase and return goods which have been supplied for any reason and obtain a full refund.

In addition, legislation exists in various parts of the world enforcing this right, to varying degrees. For example, in the European Union, the Consumer Rights Directive of 2011 obliges member states to give purchasers the right to return goods or cancel services purchased from a business away from a normal commercial premises, such as online, mail order, or door-to-door, with limited exceptions, within two weeks from the receipt of the goods, for a full refund

Each country has its own rules for the cooling-off period. Here are only listed the most important rules. Please visit the provided link to read all the rules.

 

Australia

Source: Australian Competition and Consumer Commission

Telemarketers are not allowed to call consumers:

  • on Sundays or public holidays
  • before 9am or after 8pm on weekdays
  • before 9am or after 5pm on Saturdays

 

Cancellation rights (cooling-off):

  • The salesperson must tell to the consumer about his cooling off rights. The consumer can change his mind and cancel the contract for any reason without penalty within 10 business days

  • If the consumer bought goods that cost $500 or less, the salesperson can supply these goods immediately during the cooling-off period but the consumer still have the right to cancel the contract

  • The salesperson cannot take payment during the cooling-off period for any goods or services and cannot supply any services.

  • The consumer has 10 business days to cool-off or cancel the agreement, starting the first business day after receiving the agreement document.

  • The consumer can terminate the agreement verbally or in writing any time during the cooling-off period. Written termination can be delivered personally, sent via post, emailed or sent via fax. The agreement will be cancelled from the day you give notice

  • The trader must promptly return or refund any money paid under the agreement or a related contract

  • Even if the consumer has partially or completely used the goods supplied by the salesperson under the agreement he still has cooling-off rights during the specified period

  • The salesperson must not try to convince the consumer to waive your rights to cool off.

Canada

Source: Office of Consumer Affairs (OCA)

In some provinces and territories, there is an automatic cancellation (or cooling-off) period for certain types of contracts. Examples include contracts for services such as credit, dating clubs, health clubs, funeral and cemetery services, time-shares, condominiums, natural gas, electricity and door-to-doorsales. The cooling-off period is valid whether the company tells you about it or not.

To find out more about the cooling-off period in your area contact Your Provincial or Territorial Consumer Affairs Office.

 

New Zealand

Source: Consumer. now you know

Every agreement for an uninvited direct sale must be in writing and expressed in plain language. You must be given a copy of the agreement either at the time you sign, or if the agreement is made over the phone within 5 working days.

The agreement must:
  • clearly describe the goods or services being supplied

  • show the total price payable and any other consideration to be given (or how this is calculated if it’s uncertain at the time you sign)

  • inform you of your right to cancel

  • list the trader’s name, street address, phone number and email, and your name and street address

  • show the date it was signed.

If the trader fails to give you this information, the agreement can’t be enforced (except if the failure is minor and has not materially disadvantaged you).

 

United Kingdom

Source: Which? Consumer Rights

At a distance or face-to-face off-premises the following key information has to be given:
  • a description of the goods or service, including how long any commitment will last on the part of the consumer 

  • the total price of the goods or service, or the manner in which the price will be calculated if this can’t be determined

  • cost of delivery and details of who pays for the cost of returning items if you have a right to cancel and change your mind

  • details of any right to cancel - the trader also needs to provide, or make available, a standard cancellation form to make cancelling easy (although you aren’t under any obligation to use it)

  • information about the seller, including their geographical address and phone number

  • information on the compatibility of digital content with hardware and other software is also part of the information traders are obliged to provide  

  • Your right to cancel an order starts the moment you place your order and ends 14 days from the day you receive it

  • Your right to cancel a service starts the moment you enter into the contract and lasts 14 days

  • If you want to download digital content within the 14 day cancellation period you must agree to waive your cancellation rights 

  • Companies are not allowed to charge you for items they put in your online shopping basket or that you have bought as a result of a pre-ticked box

 

United States of America

Source: Federal Trade Commission

FTC Approves Changes to Cooling-Off Rule:

The FTC has approved a final amendment to its Cooling-Off Rule, increasing the exclusionary limit for certain “door-to-door” sales. The Cooling-Off Rule previously provided that it is unfair and deceptive for sellers engaged in “door-to-door” sales valued at more than $25 to fail to provide consumers with disclosures regarding their right to cancel the sales contract within three business days of the transaction. Under the amended rule, the definition of “door-to-door sales” distinguishes between sales at a buyer’s residence and those at other locations. The revised definition retains coverage for sales made at a buyer’s residence at a purchase price of $25 or more, and it increases the purchase price to $130 or more for all other covered sales at temporary locations. The revised definition recognizes that concern regarding high-pressure sales tactics and deception during in-home solicitations is greater than when sales are made away from consumers’ homes. Therefore, the Commission concluded that raising the value to $130 for non-home sales would reduce compliance burdens for sellers while still protecting consumers.

Full telemarketing rules: https://www.ftc.gov/tips-advice/business-center/guidance/complying-telemarketing-sales-rule#refund

 

Charity Scams

by Rudolf Faix Saturday, July 11, 2015 7:47 AM

poor personCharity scams take advantage of people’s generosity and kindness by asking for donations to a fake charity or by impersonating a real charity.

Philanthropy misrepresentation is the demonstration of utilizing trickiness to get cash from individuals who accept they are making gifts to philanthropies. Frequently a man or a gathering of individuals will make material representations that they are a philanthropy or piece of a philanthropy and approach imminent givers for commitments to the non-existent philanthropy. Philanthropy misrepresentation incorporates imaginary foundations as well as misleading business acts. Beguiling business acts incorporate organizations tolerating gifts and not utilizing the cash for its planned purposes.

Charity scams involve scammers collecting money by pretending to be a real charity. The scammers can approach you in many different ways - on the street, at your home, over the phone, or on the Internet. Emails and collection boxes may even be marked with the logos of genuine charities.

Often, the scammer will exploit a recent natural disaster or famine that has been in the news. Other scammers play on your emotions by pretending to be from charities that help children who are ill.

Scammers can try to pressure you to give a donation and refuse to provide details about the charity, such as their address or their contact details. In other cases, they may simply provide false information.

Not only do these scams cost people money; they also divert much needed donations away from legitimate charities and causes. All registered charities in Canada are overseen by the Canada Revenue Agency and listed in its database. You can also contact your local Better Business Bureau to see if they have any information about the organizations that interest you. If the charity is genuine and you want to make a donation, get the charity’s contact details from the phone book or a trusted website.

If you do not want to donate any money, or you are happy with how much you may have donated to charities already, simply ignore the email or letter, hang up the phone, or say no to the person at your door. You do not have to give any money at all.

Protect yourself:

  • If you have any doubts at all about the person asking for money, do not give them any cash, credit card or bank account details.

  • Never give out your personal, credit card or online account details over the phone unless you made the call and the phone number came from a trusted source.

  • If in doubt, approach an aid organization directly to make a donation or offer support

  • Search the databases to check that the charity that has approached you is genuine.

  • Ask yourself about how and to whom would I like to make a contribution?

 

Pyramid systems

by Rudolf Faix Thursday, July 9, 2015 10:48 AM

Pyramid System ExampleA pyramid system - also referred to as franchise fraud or chain referral schemes - is an unsustainable business model that involves promising participants payment or services, primarily for enrolling other people into the scheme, rather than supplying any real investment or sale of products or services to the public. The real profit is earned, not by the sale of the product, but by the sale of new distributorships.

In a pyramid scheme, an organization compels individuals to make a payment and join. In exchange, the organization promises its new members a share of the money taken from every additional member that they recruit. The directors of the organization (those at the top of the pyramid) also receive a share of these payments. For the directors, the scheme is potentially lucrative - whether or not they do any work, the organization's membership has a strong incentive to continue recruiting and funneling money to the top of the pyramid.

Such organizations seldom involve sales of products or services with real value. Without creating any goods or services, the only ways for a pyramid scheme to generate revenue are to recruit more members or solicit more money from current members. Eventually, recruiting is no longer possible and the plurality of members are unable to profit from the scheme.

Emphasis on selling franchises rather than the product eventually leads to a point where the supply of potential investors is exhausted and the pyramid collapses. At the heart of each pyramid scheme is typically a representation that new participants can recoup their original investments by inducing two or more prospects to make the same investment. Promoters fail to tell prospective participants that this is mathematically impossible for everyone to do, since some participants drop out, while others recoup their original investments and then drop out.

Various forms of pyramid schemes are illegal in many countries including Albania, Australia, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Colombia, Denmark, the Dominican Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Hong Kong, Hungary, Iceland, Iran, Italy, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Nepal, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Russian Federation, South Africa, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sweden, Switzerland, Taiwan, Thailand, Turkey, Ukraine, the United Kingdom and the United States. Many other countries will follow by adjusting their law.

These types of schemes have existed for at least a century, some with variations to hide their true nature. Multi Level Marketing plans have also been classified as pyramid schemes.

Tips for Avoiding Pyramid Schemes:

  • Be wary of “opportunities” to invest your money in franchises or investments that require you to bring in subsequent investors to increase your profit or recoup your initial investment.

  • Independently verify the legitimacy of any franchise or investment before you invest.

More information about pyramid systems:

 

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I'm since more then 35 years in the computer business (programming and technical support) and using the Internet since it has started. Since 2002 I'm programming solutions for Asterisk and since 2004 I'm in the call center industry.

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