Consumer Law and the Cooling-off Rule
It is January and it is as if someone hit rewind on the holiday season. Presents lovingly wrapped have now been hastily returned to some semblance of their original appearance and have been forgotten in the car until finally returned for a refund. Old school shoppers will shoot first and ask questions later in their approach to seeking a refund. As for those who concern themselves with or find themselves up against retail red tape, it cannot hurt to be aware of what the law actually says in these matters.
First up is the “Cooling-Off Rule,” which is one instance where the Federal Government chimes in for certain types of sales; specifically sales made at your home, workplace or dormitory or at a seller’s temporary location. For example, like those house gatherings where someone comes to your home to sell something. While it is a good business practice to accept returns for defective goods, consumers and merchants should be aware of the Cooling-Off Rule. The Cooling-Off Rule provides that the customer has three days to return items $25.00 or more. You have until midnight of the third day to exercise the right. Sounds simple, right? Wait until you hear the exceptions where the rule does not apply:
- under $25.00 for sales made at your home; under $130.00 for sales made at temporary locations;
- for goods or services not primarily intended for personal, family or household purposes. (The Rule applies to courses of instruction or training.);
- made entirely online, or by mail or telephone;
- the result of prior negotiations at the seller’s permanent place of business where the goods are sold regularly;
- needed to meet an emergency;
- made as part of your request for the seller to do repairs or maintenance on your personal property (purchases made beyond the maintenance or repair request are covered).
Also exempt from the Cooling-Off Rule are sales that involve:
- real estate, insurance, or securities;
- automobiles, vans, trucks, or other motor vehicles sold at temporary locations if the seller has at least one permanent place of business;
- arts or crafts sold at fairs or places like shopping malls, civic centers, and schools.
Many states, including New Jersey, have adopted Cooling-Off legislation and it is important to know your rights. It goes without saying that the more of a paper trail you have, the better off you are — Receipts, gift receipts, contracts, etc., are always helpful.
It should come as no surprise that we are spoiled for options should we run into any problems during this season of returns. Depending on the details of the transaction, you have certain rights as a consumer.
For more information regarding consumer law, contact the Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC for an initial free consultation. The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Please be advised that this blog is for informational purposes only, is not legal advice and does not create an attorney-client relationship.
The Law Office of H. Benjamin Sharlin LLC
is owned and operated by H. Benjamin Sharlin and serves all of Mercer County, New Jersey and the surrounding areas. Mr. Sharlin is a bilingual Spanish-speaking attorney who vigorously represents the interests of all his clients.
Call (609) 585-0606 or click the button below to schedule an appointment