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.
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.
Craigslist Scam Alert: How You Could You Be Paying Someone to Steal Your Personal Info posted on Jul 24
Over the past week, the Consumer Hotline has received two complaints about a scam on Craigslist where buyers are scamming sellers out of money and their personal information. Callers reported being scammed when trying to sell an item on Craigslist. Online buyers would offer to …Continue Reading Craigslist Scam Alert: How You Could You Be Paying Someone to Steal Your Personal Info
First Time Homebuyers Prepare Themselves posted on Mar 13
Buying a home is one of the biggest purchases a consumer will ever make. Although buying and owning a home may seem daunting, prospective Massachusetts homeowners have a wealth of resources to prepare themselves. HUD-approved housing counseling agencies and Community Development Corporations around Massachusetts provide …Continue Reading First Time Homebuyers Prepare Themselves
Subfreezing Temperatures Don’t Have to Freeze Your Bank Account posted on Jan 9
As the nation has endured subfreezing temperatures this week and consumers are putting their thermostats to work, it might be a good idea to check in and see how efficient your heating system is running. In Massachusetts, MassSave, a statewide program sponsored by Massachusetts energy companies, supports …Continue Reading Subfreezing Temperatures Don’t Have to Freeze Your Bank Account