Cooling-Off heats up

Say “Cooling-Off Rule” and most people (OK, most people over a certain age) think of the classic door-to-door salesman — although the scope of the Rule is broader than that.  After listening to comments about the future of the Cooling-Off Rule, the FTC has decided to keep it in place, but is asking for your feedback about one important proposed change.

When the Cooling-Off Rule was enacted in 1972, the FTC was concerned about a host of questionable practices, including high-pressure sales tactics and “deceptive door openers.”  (In one famous pre-Rule case, encyclopedia salesmen quite literally got their foot in the door by claiming to be conducting “educational surveys.”)  Under the Rule, door-to-door sales people selling goods or services that cost $25 or more generally have to make certain oral and written disclosures about the buyer’s right to cancel the contract within three business days.

But the Rule has always covered more than just people peddling stuff in your living room.  The definition of “door-to-door sales” includes many sales, leases, or rentals of consumer goods or services made at a place other than the seller’s place of business.  Sure, that covers the buyer’s home, but it also includes facilities rented on a short-term basis — like hotel rooms, convention centers, fairgrounds, dorm lounges, or the buyer’s workplace.

As part of its ongoing review of rules and guides, the FTC considered the comments it received about the effectiveness of the Cooling-Off Rule and concluded that it still offers important protections for consumers without imposing undue burdens on businesses.  But let’s face it:  $25 doesn’t buy what it used to.  So the FTC is proposing to up the minimum threshold to $130, whether under single or multiple contracts.

The deadline for filing comments is March 4, 2013.  Save a step by filing online.

 

5 Comments

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I am retired Federal Service Service and worked for the Library of Congress, the Justice Department, the Interstate Commerce Commission and the Navy Department in DC before moving to Florida in 1984.

I was insulted by the Commission's statement that "But let’s face it: $25 doesn’t buy what it used to."

Commission attorneys salaries begin at "law clerks with a JD or equivalent are hired through advance commitment at a Grade 11, Step 7 salary scale. Judicial clerks or other candidates with an advanced degree in a related field may be compensated up to the Grade 12, Step 5 level. Exact salary will be determined by an individual applicant’s qualifications." Here in Orlando, that is a lot of money. And I know that there are step increases as well as yearly promotions, probably up to GS-14 or GS-15 for those attorneys. The salaries for Commissioners are significantly higher.

You need to get out of DC and see how people in "the provinces" live. For a retiree, even a Federal retire who retired with a good annuity under the CSRS, $25.00 is real money. And I can get hit up anywhere, including outside the grocery store or inside church.

Leave the $25.00 limit. One of these days, (especially if there are significant Federal budget cuts), $25 may mean a lot to you.

Just a reminder that posting on the blog isn't a substitute for filing a comment about the proposed Rule. Filing a comment is easy -- no footnotes or legalese required. Just let us know what you think by visiting https://ftcpublic.commentworks.com/ftc/coolingoffproposedamend/

Thanks.

I'd keep the $25 figure.
I've been scammed, defrauded so many times, I'd rather keep my losses low.

99% of businesses deceive.

I know, I had to battle with marketing people to keep them from going overboard on product claims.

It's in their training, their blood, and they don't care about the consumer.

High presure door-to-door salesmen have targeted the vulnerable members of the community. The limit of $130 will be subject to constant review in line with inflation. There is need for a law to compel the sellers to conduct this business according to the law. This is the only way the consumers can be protected.

The amount should be raised considering the cost of everything is going up double in a very short period of time. Thank You FTC for the great work you guys do over there!!!

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