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Dear Consumer Ed:
I bought a metal building over the phone that I was going to use as a tool shed. Can I cancel the contract within 3 days without a penalty?
Consumer Ed says:
Whether you have the ability to cancel a contract or not generally depends on the terms of your contract. If the terms of the agreement contain no option to cancel the contract and you cancel anyway, you may be obligated to pay at least a portion of the sale price to the seller. This is true even if the contract is not in writing. However, if the terms of the contract allow you to cancel it within a specified amount of time and you do so within that time period, then the seller should be required to refund your payment without a penalty.
Despite popular belief, only certain types of contracts can be cancelled within three business days. This three-day right to cancel or “cooling off period” is limited to cash or credit consumer transactions of $25 or more that were initiated through face-to-face contact away from the seller’s regular place of business, such as a door-to-door sale. Unfortunately, this does not include transactions made entirely over the phone, such as yours. For more information on what types of contracts are subject to the three day right to cancel, visit:
Georgia does not have any law that requires a business to provide a refund or accept returns. Rather, businesses set their own return policies (including setting time limits on accepting returns), and may offer consumers cash, in-store credit, exchanges, or no adjustment at all. While a seller isn’t generally required to post its policies, it must honor any refund or return policies it does have.
Your best protection is to ask the seller about his or her policy before you purchase an item. Find out if there is a time limit for refunds and what that time limit is. Remember, there may be different policies for different types of merchandise, so also ask what the policy is for the specific item you are purchasing.
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