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Cancelling a Contract

Sometimes you change your mind about a purchase of goods or services. There are legal rules about when you can cancel or end a contract and whether or not you will get your money back.

Refunds & Exchanges

Always ask about the store's policy on refunds. You may want to shop only in stores where the practice is to give refunds or exchanges. If you really do not want the item, and the store does not have a return policy, you should be prepared to accept an exchange, replacement or credit note, if it is offered, as the store is entitled to simply refuse the return.

If a store has no sign posted, it does not have to give your money back just because you changed your mind or perhaps bought a cheaper item elsewhere. In this case, if they offer an exchange, replacement, or credit note, it is more than they are legally required to offer you.

Stores are not required to post signs regarding their policy on returns. However, if a sign is displayed, the store is obliged to comply with its own policy. If you decide you no longer want your purchase you can return the item and expect a refund if that is what the sign says, and if you comply with any conditions stated.

For example, if a store displays a sign that says, "Refunds and exchanges with Receipts", the store is obliged to refund your money or exchange the item only if you provide the sales receipt for your purchase. The store also may require the refund or exchange to be within a time limit. For example, the policy may be "No Refunds after three days."

Ending a Contract

There are some situations where a contract for a sale can be ended.

False Statements

Misrepresentations or false statements that persuade a consumer to enter into a contract can make that contract voidable. This means that either party can cancel the contract if they want to. But the misrepresentation must be about a major part of the contract, not some minor detail, and the contract must be cancelled within a reasonable amount of time.

Duress

If one party was intimidated by the other party or they used other extreme pressure tactics to force one party to enter a contract, that party may have signed the contract under duress. Duress is when someone does not enter into the agreement voluntarily, but only because they were forced to. Generally a contract cannot be enforced against a party who entered it under duress.

Breach of Contract

If one party breaches a contract, or fails to perform their part of the agreement, the other party is no longer obliged to perform their obligation under that contract. However, it may be difficult to prove when a contract has been breached. Perform your part of the bargain unless you are sure the other party has breached the contract. You may need to get a lawyer's advice to help you decide when this has happened.

Agreement

A party to a contract can always agree to release the other person from their obligations. To cancel a contract by consent, each party agrees to give up any rights to receive an agreed upon benefit, and promises not to sue the other person for a breach of contract.

Cancellation Rights

Under consumer protection laws you have the right to cancel certain types of contracts in some circumstances. There are time limits for cancelling and notice requirements. Depending on the circumstances you may be entitled to a full or partial refund.

Grounds for Cancellation

Depending on the type of contract there are a number of grounds for cancelling a contract.

Cancellation without Reason

A consumer can cancel a personal development services contract without any reason within 7 days of...

  • receiving the written contract or
  • the day on which all the services are available to the consumer

Consumers have 7 days after the later of these two events occurred.

A consumer can cancel a travel club contract without any reason within 10 days of having received the written contract.

A consumer can cancel a contract with a direct seller without any reason within 10 days of entering into the contract. If the seller was not licensed the contract can be cancelled within one year.

A consumer can cancel or transfer a pre-arranged funeral contract without any reason at any time.

Contract or Required Information not Provided

If a contract is made by a direct seller, online, or remotely or if it is for future performance, personal development or a travel club it must be in writing. The written contracts, with all the required information, must be provided to the purchaser within 15 days of the purchase. In the case of direct sales contracts the written contract must be provided to the purchaser immediately.

Consumers have cancellation rights if a copy of the contract is not provided to them or the contract does not contain the required information.

If a copy of the contract is not supplied...

  • Consumers can cancel a future performance contract within one year of entering into the contract.
  • Consumers can cancel an internet or remote contract within 30 days of entering into the contract.
  • If the contract does not have the required information.

Consumers can cancel future performance, travel club and personal development services contracts and contracts made by direct sale within one year of entering into the contract.

  • Consumers can cancel an internet or remote contract within 7 days of receiving the contract.
  • An internet or remote contract can also be cancelled up to 7 days after the consumer receives a copy of the contract if at the time the contract was entered into the purchaser was not given a chance to correct errors or decline the contract.

Delay of Goods or Services

Internet, remote, future performance and direct sale contracts can be cancelled if the goods are not received within 30 days of the specified delivery date or the services do not start within 30 days of the date agreed to in the contract. If there is no delivery or start date then they can be cancelled if the goods or services are not delivered within 30 days of when the contract was entered into. In the case of direct sale contracts consumers have up to a year from signing the contract to cancel because they did not receive the goods or services.

Travel, transportation and accommodation services can be cancelled immediately if they do not begin on the promised date.

A consumer cannot refuse to accept delivery or refuse the start of services and then attempt to cancel the contract on the grounds of delay.

Change in or Discontinuation of Service

A travel club contract can be cancelled if the company goes out of business or makes changes to the way they operate that mean the services are substantially unavailable to the consumer.

A personal development services contract can be cancelled if the company goes out of business or makes changes to the way they operate that mean the services are substantially unavailable to the consumer. This type of contract can also be cancelled if the services are relocated more than 10 kilometres away from their former location.

Change in Consumer’s Circumstances

A personal development services contract can be cancelled if...

  • The consumer is deceased.
  • A qualified medical practitioner states in writing that the consumer’s continued participation would be unreasonable because of the consumer’s condition or likely to endanger the consumer’s health.
  • The consumer moves more than 30 kilometres further away from the location of the supplier and the supplier cannot provide comparable facilities that are closer.

Notice of Cancellation

Notice must be given within the allotted time frame to cancel a contract for any of the above reasons.

Notice to cancel an internet or remote contract can be given by:

  • personal service
  • registered mail
  • courier
  • telephone
  • fax
  • email

Notice to cancel a future performance contract can be given by:

  • personal service
  • registered mail
  • email
  • any other means set out in the contract

Notice of cancellation of a personal development services contract can be given by:

  • leaving it at the facility
  • personal service
  • registered mail
  • any other means set out in the contract

Notice of cancellation of travel club contract can be given by:

  • personal service
  • registered mail
  • any other means set out in the contract

Notice of cancellation of a contract with a direct seller can be given by any means that allow you to prove that you gave the notice including:

  • personal service
  • registered mail
  • fax

Refunds after Cancellation

If you exercise your right to cancel a contract based on any of the above reasons the seller must give you a refund within 15 days. If you paid by credit card and do not receive your refund within 15 days the credit card company must reverse the charges if you make a request.

If you have received the goods you must return them to the seller unused. If you have received some of the services you will only get a partial refund that reflects the cost of the services you already used.

Trouble with exercising your cancellation rights can be reported to the Consumer Protection Division by emailing consumerprotection@gov.sk.ca

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