In 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.
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.
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.
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).
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