Spending - Head Matters

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4. Consumer Protection

b. Understand when you have a three-day right to rescind a purchase and how to use it (continued)


How to cancel

To cancel a sale, sign and date one copy of the cancellation form. Mail it to the address given for cancellation, making sure the envelope is post-marked before midnight of the third business day after the contract date. (Saturday is considered a business day; Sundays and federal holidays are not.) Because proof of the mailing date and proof of receipt are important, consider sending the cancellation form by certified mail so you can get a return receipt. Or, consider hand delivering the cancellation notice before midnight of the third business day. Keep the other copy of the cancellation form for your records.

If the seller did not give cancellation forms, you can write your own cancellation letter. It must be post-marked within three business days of the sale.

You do not have to give a reason for canceling your purchase. You have a right to change your mind. If you have questions about the Cooling-Off Rule, contact the Better Business Bureau .

If you cancel
If you cancel your purchase, the seller has 10 days to:

  1. cancel and return any promissory note or other negotiable instrument you signed;
  2. refund all your money and tell you whether any product you still have will be picked up; and
  3. return any trade-in.

Within 20 days, the seller must either pick up the items left with you, or reimburse you for mailing expenses, if you agree to send back the items.

If you received any goods from the seller, you must make them available to the seller in as good condition as when you received them. If you do not make the items available to the seller - or if you agree to return the items but fail to - you remain obligated under the contract.

Problems
If you have a complaint about sales practices that involve the Cooling-Off Rule, write: Consumer Response Center, Federal Trade Commission, Washington, DC 20580. The Rule's complete name and citation are: Rule Concerning Cooling-Off Period for Sales Made at Homes or at Certain Other Locations; 16 CFR Part 429.

In addition, if you paid for your purchase with a credit card and a billing dispute arises about the purchase (for example, if the merchandise shipped was not what you ordered), you can notify the credit card company that you want to dispute the purchase. Under the Fair Credit Billing Act, the credit card company must acknowledge your dispute in writing and conduct a reasonable investigation of your problem. You may withhold payment of the amount in dispute, until the dispute is resolved. (You are still required to pay any part of your bill that is not in dispute.) To protect your rights under the Fair Credit Billing Act, you must send a written notice about the problem to the credit card company at the address for billing disputes specified on your billing statement within 60 days after the first bill containing the disputed amount is mailed to you.
 

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