Before you jump and accept those “limited time offers” it is important to know your rights under the federal “Cooling Off” rule and the Virginia Home Solicitation Sales Act so that you can protect yourself.
Home Solicitation Sales Act or 3 Day Cooling Off Rule
The Home Solicitation Act, found at Title 59.1, Chapter 2.1 of the 1950 Code of Virginia, was enacted by the Virginia legislature to provide guidelines for home solicitations and to protect consumers against pressure to make an immediate purchasing decision when a salesperson appears at their home, or where the sales pitch is given at a non-business location.
The Act defines a “home solicitation sale” as a consumer sale or lease of goods or services in the amount of $25 or more in which the seller or a person acting for him engages (i) in a personal solicitation of the sale or lease or (ii) in a solicitation of the sale or lease by telephonic or other electronic means at any residence other than that of the seller and the consumer’s agreement or offer to purchase or lease is given there to the seller.
Consumer’s Right to Cancel
So you have accepted the salesperson’s offer and have entered into a contract. Is the contract a valid contract? Can you rescind?
The contract is still a valid contract. However, unlike other contracts, a contract created through a home solicitation allows the consumer to rescind the contract for any reason prior to midnight of the third business day after the date of the transaction. Further, consumers have up to 30 days to cancel if the seller has misrepresented the nature or purpose of transaction. Some sellers try to avoid this “Cooling-Off Period” by including a waiver or modification of this right into their contracts; however, a waiver or modification of a consumer’s right to cancel is void and has no effect. In the event a consumer grants such a waiver or modification, the consumer’s right to cancel begins on the first business day after he/she learns that the waiver or modification is void and of no effect. Further, the seller must inform you of your cancellation rights at the time of sale. Virginia law requires that the Consumer’s Right to Cancel must appear as a conspicuous caption on the front side of the receipt or contract, or immediately above the consumer’s signature, in bold face type with a minimum size of 10 points.
As a consumer, in order to effectively cancel and properly rescind the contract, the consumer must give written notice of cancellation to the seller. After cancellation, the consumer must make available to the seller any goods delivered by the seller, and in as good condition as when received. If a seller fails to recover the goods within 20 days after cancellation or revocation, then the goods become the property of the consumer, with no obligation to pay for them.
After you cancel within permitted time-frames, the seller has 10 days to refund your money. Further, the seller is not entitled to compensation for services performed prior to the end of the cancellation period.
A seller’s refusal to resend a contract is a violation of the Virginia Home Solicitation Sales Act and is subject to any and all of the enforcement provisions under the Virginia Consumer Protection Act, which allows consumers to ask for damages in an amount three times the actual damages sustained, as well as attorneys’ fees and costs.
If you are seeking to rescind a contract entered into through a home solicitation or have faced damages from a home solicitation contract, contact Keithley Law, PLLC, PLLC today by calling (703) 454-5147 and schedule an initial consultation in our Fairfax law office with one of our Virginia attorneys. We can walk you through the steps to contest a contract and your rights in bringing forth an action against solicitations who have violated the Virginia Home Solicitation Act.