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Many consumers who call our hotline mistakenly believe that after they purchase a product they have a "cooling-off period" during which they can cancel the contract.  THIS IS NOT TRUE.  Massachusetts law only provides for cooling-off periods in extremely limited situations.


1. Door-to-door sales: if you make a purchase of goods or services for over $25 at a place other than a
merchant’s usual place of business, you have three days to cancel the contract.  This does not include purchases made completely online, by mail or phone.  It also does not apply to sales for emergency home repairs, or for real estate, insurance or securities.

To cancel the contract, you must notify the seller in writing no later than midnight of the third business day after you signed the contract.  The seller must return your payment within ten business days after receipt of your cancellation notice.  You must allow the seller to pick up the goods at your house, or if the seller requests and you agree, you may ship them at the seller’s expense and risk.


2. Health club contracts: you also have three business days to cancel a health club contract no matter where it was signed.  Health spas, sports clubs, weight control centers, and martial arts schools are all considered health clubs. Weight_lifting_clip_art

The health club must include a notice of your right to cancel in the written contract.  Deliver or mail your written notice to the club within three business days of signing the contract.  The club must refund your money within 15 business days of receiving your letter.


3. Time shares: you have three days to cancel a contract for a time share. 

Send a notice of cancellation to the seller no later than three business days after signing the contract.  If you paid by check, a refund must be made immediately, as long as the check was not yet deposited into the seller’s account.  If the check has been deposited, it must be refunded within seven days.  If you paid by credit card, a credit must be made to your account immediately.


4. Credit repair organizations: you may cancel the contract until midnight of the third business day after signing it.  Your payment must be returned within ten days of the organization receiving your cancellation notice.

To be sure the seller received your cancellation notice we suggest you send the notice by certified mail.  And remember, if you buy a good at the retailer’s store or on the internet there is no cooling-off period.


This post is part of our “Shopping 101” series, bringing you timely information as you shop this holiday season.  For more information on your shopping rights, click here.


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