Door-to-door sales and the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule

Have you ever been invited to an in-home sales party and felt pressured to buy something? Well, if you regret your purchase, the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule may be able to help. But time is of the essence.

The Rule gives you a 3-day right to cancel a sale made at someone’s home or workplace, or at a seller’s temporary location — like a hotel room, convention center, fairground or restaurant.

By law, the seller must tell you about your right to cancel at the time of sale, give you two copies of a cancellation form, and a copy of your contract or receipt. Your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale. You don’t have to give a reason for canceling your purchase. You have the right to change your mind.

But there are exceptions, including sales that are:

  • under $25 for sales made at your home;
  • under $130 for sales made at temporary locations;
  • real estate, insurance, or securities;
  • vehicles sold at temporary locations, if the seller has at least one permanent place of business; and
  • arts or crafts sold at fairs or places like shopping malls, civic centers, and schools.

If you cancel your purchase, the seller has 10 days to cancel and return any check you signed or refund all your money and tell you whether any product you still have will be picked up. Within 20 days, the seller must either pick up the items left with you, or reimburse you for mailing expenses.

To learn more, see Buyer’s Remorse: When the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule May Help.

Blog Topics: 
Money & Credit

Comments

this could had been nice if it was a dealership, Buena Park Nissan pulled a fast one on me, I had to report them to DMV Investigations, I just wish I could do more than that and warn people about the way they do their car selling practices, I work at a dealership, and I caught the finance officer doing a yo yo deal, they would not let me talk to the owner or district manager, they avoided my calls, they ran my credit 2 times without my permission,they over charged me on options that i did not want, along with Gap insurance I did not request, they forced me to have it. I have all records of this incident, I am not happy that they are not being investigated, if they did this to me and my daughter just think who else they have done it to.

This article seems to apply to products, not services. Can you do an article on remorse for door-to-door sales of telephone service, electricity service, cable television service, home security systems, and similar?

Please read the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule article for more information.

You also may wish to contact your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agency. Some state laws give you more rights than the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule, and some local consumer offices can help you resolve your complaint

Hi Jeff do not know if you will get this as it was posted quite some time ago but I am quite familiar with the FTC Rule and it applies to Security Systems, cable Etc.. if they came to your Home and sold you anything even if you invited them. you have the right to think it over for three business days. (M-Sat)

It would have been nice for online/telephone purchases. I received a phone call which led me to go online. The caller did not correctly identify herself. I assumed I was doing business with my company. But no, I had been fooled. I could not get the fee of $400 returned to my debit acct, the man laughed and told me they do not give refunds. Still seeking help with this matter with Student Loan Services (a private company who misrepresents itself in order to provide you with what they call services for student loans). It can all be done FREE of Charge! THEY WILL NOT GIVE REFUNDS!

Please report this to the FTC at ftc.gov/complaint. You can also report to your state and local consumer protection agencies.

If you didn't authorize the company to withdraw money from your account, contact your bank. Tell the bank that the caller misrepresented the company name.

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau also takes complaints, including complaints about student loan companies.

I'm so pleased that we have the FTC otherwise people will just be taken advantage of all the time!
Thank you FTC for the work you do on consumers behalf!

Had a salesman come to my house and would not leave till I said yes after I told him I couldn't like ten times. I thought I would let him in just to tell me about the product as I had told him outside it's gonna be a no I can't afford it. I did not realize the phone number on his business card. I tried to get ahold of him on facebook but of course no reply.

Help. Tried to cancel a purchase under contract but did not send certified. When ignored I mailed the product and letter certified but by then it was after the cool off period. The company actually went to the police. I don't want the product nor the bill. What can I do ?

Under the FTC's Cooling Off Rule, you have to sign and date one copy of the cancellation form and mail it to the address given for cancellations. You have to make sure the envelope is post-marked before midnight of the third business day after the contract date.  The Rule does not require you to use certified mail, although that is a good idea, so you can get a return receipt.

If you followed the Cooling Off Rule, and the merchant is not cooperating, you can contact your state Attorney General’s office or state and local consumer protection agencies.

You can also report the business to the FTC, by going to ftc.gov/complaint.

I received a call for a vacation package to 3 luxury resorts from a company in Florida. I had to give my credit card info to prepay the package and have 4 years to use. I've since received an email stating what I was told on the call and asking for my signature on the charges. I have not signed it. Can they charge me without my signature? How can I stop this transaction? I feel like I've been taken.

If you did not agree to buy something, but there are charges on your account, contact your credit card company and say the charge is not authorized. This FTC article explains how to dispute credit card charges.

Does the Cooling Off rule apply to Class II medical equipment sold at a fair booth? The purchase amount was over $130 but the seller told me that his product doesn't fall under this rule because he is located in the arts and craft "section" of the fair. The product is definitely not an art or a craft. Was is the legal definition of arts and crafts as specified by the exceptions to this rule? I would like to know before I file a complaint with the consumer protection agency.

This FTC article has details about the cooling off rule.

The article says that "arts or crafts that are sold at fairs or places like shopping malls, civic centers, and schools" are exempt from the rule. But you say you bought medical equipment, not an arts or crafts item.

Please see the article for more information. You can also contact your state Attorney General’s office, and state and local consumer protection agencies.

Is it possible to get a refund after the cool off period? Prepaid for books. The bill has to be paid in full before the books will be delivered. I was not told that I need to cancel within 3days.

By law, the seller must tell you about your right to cancel at the time of sale. The seller must give you two copies of a cancellation form. You can keep one form and send one, if you decide to cancel your purchase. The seller must give you a  copy of your contract or receipt. The contract or receipt should show the date, name and address of the seller, and explain your right to cancel. The contract or receipt must be in the same language that is used in the sales presentation.

You have a right to cancel for a full refund until midnight of the third business day after the sale.

This FTC article tells more about the Cooling Off Rule, and what kinds of sales aren't covered.

If you have a problem with a seller, you can contact your state Attorney General or local consumer protection agency. Some state laws give you more rights than the FTC’s Cooling-Off Rule, and some local consumer offices can help you resolve your complaint.

I bought a new house with a preinstalled automation system, the contractor who installed it warranties the system. I was going to get in touch with them, but another sales person from a different company, stopped by my house a few days after I closed. At first I thought he was with that same company, but it turns out he was with another. I ended up signing a contract but did not get a copy and no cancellation forms. They scheduled an install date, but I've since changed my mind. It's been more than 3 days but they haven't installed the system yet. The installer came to my house and there was a communication problem with the devices I have installed already, so the installation has been postponed. That when I also found out that contracting this new company will void the warranty on the system. I think the contract is not valid yet because I'm required to make the first payment when the installation is done, the installer also had the contract with him. It took me a long time to fix my credit I'd hate to mess it up now.

I made an in home purchase with a company. They installed the next day, but we decided we didn't want it. They are saying that the paper we signed the first night with the purchase price started the 3 days of rescission but the papers they brought for the actual contract the next day had all the details of rescission and relinquishing goods within the allotted time. They are saying that iwe turned in the rescission for the financing and we didn't make it in time for the rescission on the product. However the first night they didn't give us two copies of the right of cancellation, simply a statement on the bottom of the price agreement stating we could cancel within three business days. I think that is ridiculous because the paperwork that came with installation is the one that states all the terms laid out by the ftc and it stated to deliver it to the company we were dealing with not the financing agent.

You can report the business to your state Attorney General’s office and other state and local consumer protection agencies. If you think the company has a business license, check with your city or county. You may be able to report the company to whoever licenses the company, or get some help from the agency that licenses the company.

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