Cooling Off Period. FTC Rules. False and Deceptive Trade Practices. Home Solicitation  

What happens if you purchase something through home solicitation, in other words, from a door-to-door salesman, but then change your mind? What recourse do you have under the law?
Sometimes it can be difficult for some people to resist an aggressive sales pitch from a sharp salesperson, especially when the salesperson is making his or her pitch face to face in your own home. However, federal law provides consumers with a “cooling off period” from home solicitation sales in order to protect buyers who change their minds after making a purchase or putting a down payment on a purchase.
There are federal rules in place that establish a cooling off period for home solicitation sales. These FTC rules give the buyer until midnight of the third business day after the sale to cancel the transaction. The seller must then refund the buyer’s money in full. Furthermore, a consumer who is cancelling a home solicitation sale is obligated to return the goods received to the seller, but only at the point of purchase – the buyer’s home. If the buyer decides instead to ship the goods back to the seller, the seller must reimburse the buyer for shipping costs. If the buyer doesn’t volunteer to ship the goods back and the seller doesn’t retrieve the goods from the buyer’s home within a certain amount of time, the buyer may keep the goods with no obligation.
Most states have very similar cooling off laws that are similar to federal rules.
Door-to-door salespeople are required by federal and most state law to disclose cancellation rights to the potential buyer.  The federal law not only requires that the salesperson verbally disclose to the buyer their cancellation rights at the time of the sale, but they must also provide the buyer with two copies of the cancellation form along with contract and/or receipt that is dated.
It is important to know that some transactions are exempt from federal cooling off laws. These include goods and services under $25 and sales of real estate, securities and insurance.
As is always the case, being informed of your rights as a consumer is the best defense against unscrupulous salespeople and companies.
How do you feel about making a purchase through home solicitation? And have you ever purchased a product in such as way? If so, what was your experience?
Until next time, I’m Attorney Francine Ward helping you protect what’s yours. Feel free to join my conversation on my Law Facebook Fan Page

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