CONSUMER Protection received 791 calls from consumers confused about cooling-off periods for sales contracts in 2011, half of them from people who wanted to terminate a contract they had signed to buy a car.
A cooling-off period is the length of time a consumer is able to cancel a contract without penalty but in WA there is no such period when buying a car.
Commissioner for Consumer Protection Anne Driscoll said there were only a few limited circumstances when a cooling-off period applied to consumers.
“When consumers sign a contract to buy a motor vehicle in WA there is no cooling-off period. That’s why they need to think really carefully and read the fine print before putting pen to paper,” Ms Driscoll said.
“In most cases there was no need to sign a contract to work out a deal; the contract finalises the terms of the deal and should only be signed when you are entirely satisfied.”
One of few times a cooling-off period would apply was with a health club or gym membership where consumers had a 48-hour cooling-off period under WA’s Fitness Industry Code of Practice.
Door-to-door, telephone or telemarketing salespeople also have to give you a cooling-off period and consumer rights are fully protected under the Australian Consumer Law.
This law applies to all uninvited approaches; door-to-door, over the phone or even from salespeople in shopping centre car parks.
“In these instances where the purchase is over $100, the seller must provide a cooling-off period of 10 business days. During that time no money can be taken and services cannot be supplied.”