Ask Andy: 3-day "cooling-off" rule - Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Ask Andy: 3-day "cooling-off" rule

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MEMPHIS, TN -

(WMC TV) - I just sent another one.

It's another e-mail an unlucky viewer will not want to read -- another answer a viewer doesn't want to hear.

You see, this particular viewer 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 3-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.

I had to break the bad news to the viewer that 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 3-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 that 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 3-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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