I live in Texas, but the Texas rules seem to mirror the US CFR in this instance.

Under 16 CFR Part 429 (and Texas Business & Commerce Code Section 39), there is a so-called FTC Cooling-off rule for sales made in your home. This rule gives consumers a 3-business-day periodNote 1 to cancel certain transactions, if they qualify.

The web page above lists a few duties of the seller:

Under the Cooling-Off Rule, the salesperson must tell you about your cancellation rights at the time of sale. The salesperson also must give you two copies of a cancellation form (one to keep and one to send) and a copy of your contract or receipt. The contract or receipt should be dated, show the name and address of the seller, and explain your right to cancel. The contract or receipt must be in the same language that's used in the sales presentation.

My question is whether all sellers of qualifying transactions are required to comply with the rule, or whether this is optional. Suppose the seller fails to provide a cancellation form; does this mean that the Cooling-off rule doesn't apply? The specific circumstance is a contractor offering goods and services to improve my property; since I called him, and he visited my home, I'm not sure whether this qualifies as a "door-to-door sale" mentioned in the CFR.

Note 1Per 16 CFR Part 429, under Definitions: A business day is "Any calendar day except Sunday or any federal holiday (e.g., New Year's Day, Presidents' Day, Martin Luther King's Birthday, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans' Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.)". The cancellation notice should be sent via registered mail, and postmarked no later than the 3rd business day after the date on the receipt.

1 Answer 1


The forms and notifications are not a condition for the cooling off period, they're part of the cooling-off compliance requirement.

If the purchase qualifies, the seller must comply with all the cooling off requirements, including providing you with the cancellation forms.

But if the seller didn't give you cancellation forms - it doesn't mean that you lose your right to cancel. In fact, what it means is that the seller is in trouble as not only that you still have your right to cancel, you can also complain against the seller with the FTC, and if in dispute, you can claim that the 3 days clock starts with the time when the forms are in fact provided (although I don't know if a judge will actually accept such a claim, check with a lawyer, but you can definitely raise such a claim against the seller).

As to the contractor - if he sold you goods, I believe it does count. For services I am not sure. Call your local BBB and ask them.


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