Being a ‘smart’ consumer begins with becoming an educated consumer. Knowing your rights is especially valuable when entering into certain contracts for goods or services. Pennsylvania’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law gives you specific rights concerning contracts you may sign for goods and services, including your right to change your mind in some instances.
Known as your ‘Right to Rescind’ or the ‘Cooling Off Rule’, these provisions give buyers the right to cancel the contract with a full refund of money under certain circumstances. How much time you have depends on what type of goods or services you purchase. Also, not every consumer contract is subject to these rules. For the most common consumer transactions, such as purchasing an item from a department store, the consumer’s ability to rescind or cancel a purchase, or obtain a refund, will depend upon the business policy or the particular agreement between the consumer and the business.
Contracts Entered Into in the Home:
Pennsylvania law recognizes that consumers are particularly vulnerable when salespersons approach them in their homes, and provides additional protection for contracts that consumers agree to after being contacted at home. Contracts for goods or services in excess of $25 that are entered into as a result of a contact at your home, either in person or by telephone, can be cancelled within three business days following the date of the contract.
Health clubs have opened in virtually every neighborhood. The Health Club Act of 1990 states that a person entering into a health club contract has three business days to cancel his or her membership for a refund of money, including any initiation fees.
Time Share Law:
A time-share or a campground membership might be an option for you. If you decide it’s not, you have five business days to rescind the contract for a full refund of any money you paid.
How to Cancel:
In all cases, you must be given a copy of the contract, along with a Notice of Cancellation. This notice must include the date of the contract and the seller’s name and address. Your cancellation must be in writing. Mail it to the address provided on the Notice of Cancellation, making sure the envelope is postmarked before midnight on the last business day (either the third or the fifth, depending on the services) after the initial transaction date.
When you cancel:
The seller has 10 days to cancel and return any contract you signed and refund all money.
For more information on the Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law or to file a consumer complaint, contact the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection at 1-800-441-2555, or log on to our website at www.attorneygeneral.gov.
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