Cooling Off Period Offers Protection to Consumers
If you’ve ever been manipulated into a not-so-smart purchase by a savvy salesperson well-versed in the art of “pushing the right buttons,” you can appreciate the need for consumer protection. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) understands it, too. The FTC Cooling Off Rule gives you time to rethink the purchase, even after the sale is finalized. Your right to cancel for a full refund extends until midnight of the third business day after the sale. Saturdays are considered business days, but Sundays and holidays are not.
The rule doesn’t apply to every purchase, though. Basically, it will cover sales of over $25 that are made at the buyer’s home or workplace, or at facilities rented by the seller on a temporary or short-term basis. Exceptions to the rule include:
- purchases of items not primarily intended for “personal” or “household” use
- sales made entirely by mail or telephone
- purchase of goods/services needed in an emergency
- purchase of goods made as part of an agreement for work on your home or personal property
- real estate, insurance or securities
- arts and crafts sold at fairs, malls, civic centers and schools
To cancel a sale covered by the Cooling Off Rule, you simply return the cancellation form that should have been provided at the time of sale. Be sure you read the fine print on that form. If one was not provided, write a letter to the seller indicating your decision. Make sure the letter is postmarked within three business days of the sale.
For more information on your rights as a consumer, check out the FTC Web site at www.ftc.gov, or call toll free 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357).