Can a company prohibit youfrom canceling an order that hasn’t been “on contract” for3 business days?

My spouse received a call from a company offering magazine(s) subscriptions and other incentives to join this “club”. He went through the entire phone process with this company. He later explained to me what had happened and stated had 7 days to cancel. The original phone call was on Friday the 16th. I called after 5 PM on the 19th and of course the office was closed. I left a message stating wanted to cancel this membership, for lack of another word. They have stated they can’t cancel ever, but would allow a settlement of $499, which would be no profit for them. Legally how can I fight this?  

Asked on July 20, 2010 under General Practice, Virginia

Answers:

SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 10 years ago | Contributor

IF as part of the transaction or agreement, they offered 7 days to cancel, they have to honor that period under either a contract theory (it's part of the contract) or a fraud theory (they made the representation to your husband to induce himm to subcribe; they they dishonor it, they are committing fraud). Of course, proving they made the representation, if it was all done verbally (over the phone) may be difficult, but that is probably your best bet in a situation like this--to state that the only reason your husband signed up was that  it was stated that he had seven days to consider and change his mind. If they refuse to honor it, you can tell them that you will contact the state AG or other law enforcement (since fraud is a crime) if necessary, as well as the better business bureau, and also look into suing them, in small claims court if possible. In short, if they made this representation, you want to show them that unless they honor it, you will make it expensive for them.


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