When does the federal three-day "cooling off" rule apply? - WDAM.COM - TV 7 - News, Weather and Sports

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When does the federal three-day "cooling off" rule apply?

With so many scams going around, you may have found yourself in a situation like one of our viewers in Memphis, Tennessee.

He is in the middle of a car deal gone bad. He wants to return the car. He wants his money back. He wants to invoke the federal three-day "cooling off" rule.

Congress codified the rule in 1972. Its intent was to protect consumers inside their homes from risky door-to-door sales or from companies selling their wares at temporary business locations.

But the rule does not apply to the sale of automobiles.

In fact, there is no state law, either - be it Tennessee, Mississippi or Arkansas -- that mandates any kind of "buyer's remorse" right (legally called a right of rescission) in virtually any kind of purchase. It all comes down to a consumer's sales contract or to the retailer's return policy.

The federal three-day cooling off rule only applies when a company is selling a product or service that costs $25 or more at a location other than its place of business.

Think door-to-door sales, or a cell phone company's kiosk inside a department store.

In those situations, the seller must tell buyers they have the right to cancel for a full refund within three days.

According to the General Services Administration's Federal Citizen Information Center, the three-day cooling off rule does not apply to:

* PURCHASES MADE BY PHONE OR MAIL

* PURCHASES MADE ONLINE

* SALES UNDER CONTRACT FROM THE SELLER'S PERMANENT LOCATION

* IF YOU SIGNED A WAIVER OF YOUR COOLING-OFF RIGHTS

* IF THE PURCHASE WAS PROPERTY, INSURANCE, SECURITIES OR A VEHICLE

* IF YOU CAN'T RETURN THE ITEM IN THE SAME CONDITION IN WHICH YOU BOUGHT IT

* IF YOU BOUGHT ARTS OR CRAFTS AT A FAIR, SHOPPING MALL, CIVIC CENTER OR SCHOOL

If you charged the product or service to your credit card, you shouldn't have to worry about a cooling-off rule. Just dispute the charge with your credit card issuer, and you should be golden.

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