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Am I entitled to a full refund of my downpayment, after cancelling a contract 3 business days after I signed it?

Pittsburg, CA |

I signed up with a Travel Club on a Saturday, and paid my downpayment on the same day. After 3 business days (Wednesday), I sent my cancellation notice through Certified Mail + Return Receipt. Then on Friday, the sales person offered to lower my fee and had me sign the contract with the lower fee and told me to think about it and come back. Stupidly, I signed it! Then, I came back and told them I really want to cancel. Now, they are saying that they cannot refund me my downpayment because I re-signed the contract. Is that legal? Or am I still entitled to get my full money back?

Also, I wanted to talk to anyone in "Corporate", but they won't give me the phone number to call and I found out that it their number not in the contract nor their website as well. What can I do about this problem?

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Attorney answers 3

Posted

Not likely. However, one would have to review the actual contract that you signed and re-signed to be sure.

California consumers often mistakenly believe that they automatically have a legal right to cancel any consumer contract they sign without penalty within 3 days after signing the contract, without providing the seller or other party with any reason to cancel. To the contrary, only specific types of transactions have such rights, and the time periods allowed for cancellation vary. These rights are created by specific statutes enacted by the California legislature.

For an updated list of contracts which can be canceled with statutory contract cancellation rights, see the Legal Guide at

http://www.dca.ca.gov/publications/legal_guides/k-6.shtml

Typically, in order to cancel, the consumer/buyer must sign and date the cancellation notice, which must state that the buyer is canceling the contract. The buyer should send the notice to the seller by certified mail, return receipt requested, at the address that the seller has given in the sale documents. The buyer should keep a copy of the notice for his or her own records, and to be able to prove that the notice was given and what was said. Generally, the buyer's notice of cancellation is effective when it is deposited in the mail with the proper address and postage. The buyer should note the exact date, time and place of mailing on the buyer's own copy.

Since not all consumer contracts are included in the list of transactions, it is essential for consumers to understand their rights before entering into contracts in California.

Here. the extra difficulty in your situation is that you re-signed the same contract.

Frank W. Chen has been licensed to practice law in California since 1988. The information presented here is general in nature and is not intended, nor should be construed, as legal advice for a particular case. This Avvo.com posting does not create any attorney-client relationship with the author. For specific advice about your particular situation, please consult with your own attorney.

Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

Jeffrey Ira Schwimmer

Posted

Mr Chen: As usual, your response is informative, precise, educational and quite helpful to the inquirer.

Asker

Posted

Thank you, Atty. Chen! The link to the Legal Guide was very helpful. I signed up with a Travel Club during a sales presentation in one of their satellite offices. My partner and I were invited to attend a 90-minute presentation explaining their program. The promotion goes like "if you sign up now, you only pay half the regular membership cost..." type. In this case, does it fall under the "Seminar Sales" kind of contract? It does say in the contract I signed with them that I actually have 5 days (not 3, which confused me) to send my cancellation notice through certified mail. That's why to be sure, I sent my cancellation notice within 3 days and not 5, because that's typical of what I read in the consumer affairs' website. About the re-signing, what I re-signed was the paper that shows the monthly rate I have to pay for the remaining of the membership cost. Initially, they gave me about 18% interest rate. After I tried to cancel with them, they gave me 0% interest rate and then gave me access to their travel website. Out of curiosity, I went back home and logged in to their website using the account they gave me. The next day, I called back to their sales office and told them that I still want my cancellation to proceed. That's when the sales person told me that when the new 0% interest rate was approved, it had "voided" my notice of cancellation. I was not specifically told of that the day before! When I questioned their claim of voiding it, I received only an e-mail from their "Legal Counsel Department" about it, but still with no explanation as to why. Also, I still was not able to reach out to anyone at "Corporate". They also haven't provided a phone number for me to call at their legal department. This makes me nervous and wondering if I have been scammed. =( So far, the only people I was able to talk to were those from the satellite sales office. Their main office and where I have sent my cancellation notice to and has been received is in Las Vegas, NV.

Posted

You should look for a consumer law atty in your area to consult with. there may be some exceptions to the 3 day cooling off period right of rescission. You might also try the Ca dept of consumer affairs, and or the better bus bureau to file complaints.

Asker

Posted

Thanks, Atty. Kopelson. I really like www.avvo.com. It is easy to get opinions from real experts and now, I know how to find a lawyer, thanks to the "Find a Lawyer" link. =) I want to be able to talk to someone from that company before I file any complaints against them on BBB or CA Dept of Consumer Affairs. I sure don't want my complaints due to possible "buyer's remorse" to work against me in the future...

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Robert Bruce Kopelson

Posted

All due respect, legitimate businesses dont make it so difficult to contact the people in charge, and dont pull the tactics these people did. The law allows for cancellation to allow for buyers remorse, or for buyer to get away from the high pressure tactics, or to have time to rsearch the company. have you researched them? Look at Yelp, or googled them? have you checked to see if they already have complaints at the BBB or Ca Dept of Cons Affairs?

Posted

The new contract likely started a new 3 day period. If you cancel as you did the first time you are likely OK. Good luck with it.

Asker

Posted

Thanks, Atty. Kaufman! The company's "Legal Counsel Department" came back to me through e-mail and said that accepting the new term "voided" my notice of cancellation (see my reply to Atty. Chen's answer). I asked if they could explain it to me any further, but I have not received a reply yet, nor was I able to reach out to anyone from their "Corporate" or "Legal" office through phone. Thanks for wishing me luck... Looks like I really need it now. The down payment that got charged on my credit card was only a little over $1000 but, for a middle class person like me, that is quite an amount already. =/ They also told me that they cannot cancel my membership and thus, will keep on charging me until I pay off the entire membership cost. =/ If I decide not to pay the monthly rates, I am afraid that it will affect my credit score/history and I definitely do not want that to happen!