A consumer's right to cancel certain contracts is referred to as his "right to rescind" that contract.
When consumers are in their own, or someone else's home they cannot walk away from a salesperson as they would in a retail store, and they are often persuaded to make a purchase by a skillful salesperson.
For that reason, there are both state and federal laws which allow consumers to cancel credit sales contracts entered into in such situations.
Under federal law, a "door-to-door sale" is a sale that takes place at a location other than the seller's place of business. Most "door-to-door sales" take place in the consumer's home, but sales which take place in motel rooms, a restaurant, a party sale type transaction and similar situations can also be classified as "door-to-door sales", and include the consumer's right to cancel the contract.
South Carolina law defines "door-to-door sales" as consumer goods and services sold by a salesperson at a residence or home. In order for the consumer to have the right to cancel the contract, the sale must be either a credit transaction in which the seller extends credit to the buyer, or else a sale, lease or rental of consumer goods or services with a purchase price of more than $25.
To cancel the contract, the consumer must mail or deliver a signed and dated written notice or telegram to the seller's address as it appears in the sales contract.
Cancellation must be sent by the consumer no later than midnight of the third business day after the date the sales contract is signed, unless the contract allows more time. "Business day" does not include Sundays or legal holidays. As long as the notice is sent before that deadline, the notice is effective in canceling the contract.
There is an exception to this right to cancel a door-to-door credit sale contract. The consumer may not cancel a contract which calls for the delivery of goods or services required in an emergency situation. An emergency situation is defined as one in which the goods or services are required to protect the health, safety, or welfare of persons or to prevent damage to the property of the consumer who has contracted for the goods or services. The seller can still require payment from the consumer only if the buyer has provided a written statement to the seller that the goods or services are required for emergency purpose, describing the emergency. Without this statement, the seller cannot require payment if the consumer takes action to cancel the contract.
This information was prepared to give you some general information on the law. It is not intended as legal advice about any particular problem. If you have questions about the law you should consult a lawyer. If you do not know a lawyer, you can call the South Carolina Bar Lawyer Referral Service weekdays between 9 a.m. and 5 p.m. The number is 799-7100 in Richland or Lexington Counties, and 1-800-868-2284 from other parts of the state.