Consumer protection: cancelling a contract

Consumer protection: cancelling a contract

When you cancel a contract, any other arrangements you made with the purchase, like a financing agreement, are also cancelled.

Under the Consumer Protection Act, you have the right to cancel a contract and have your money returned if one of the following applies to you:

The contract has a cooling off period

You always have a cooling-off period when you sign a contract in your home. Other contracts may also have cooling-off periods. In those cases, you can cancel the contract for any reason within 10 days of receiving a written copy of the agreement. Water heater contracts have a 20-day cooling-off period that begins on the date that you sign the contract in your home. Send your cancellation letter by email or by registered mail so that you have a record of when you sent it. Be sure to keep a copy of your letter.

For most contracts, the company has 15 days to return your money. For payday loans, the company has to give you a refund within 2 days. If the contract was for a product, they are responsible for picking up the product or paying for it to be picked up if they want it back.

You can read the ServiceOntario guide to writing a cancellation letter within the 10 day cooling-off period (PDF)

Unfair business practices

If the business has represented their goods or services in a false, misleading or deceptive way, you can withdraw from the contract by writing to the business within 1 year and get a full refund.

You can follow the ServiceOntario sample letter for misrepresentation (PDF) –

A business can’t bill you for goods or services that you did not request or that is different from what you agreed to in the contract. You don’t have to pay for these goods or services. If you already paid (for example, through debit or credit), you can demand the return of that money.

If a business refuses to give you a refund, you can file a complaint with the Ministry of Government and Consumer Services or take legal action.

If there is a dispute over unclear or vague language, the law will interpret in favour of the consumer.

Here’s a sample of a letter for unfair business practices (PDF)

Deliveries are not made on time

The company has to deliver any products or start any services in a reasonable time period. If your contract gives a date on which you can expect the delivery your products or services, the company has 30 days from that date to provide them to you. If they don’t, you can cancel the contract at any time before they deliver or start the services.

If your contract doesn’t give a date on which you can expect the products or services, the company has 30 days from the date you signed the contract to deliver on products or services.

In both cases, you lose your right to cancel the contract if you accept the delivery after the 30 days.

Use this sample of a late delivery letter (PDF)

Updated: December 22, 2015


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Author: AllOntario Team is an information resource for Ontario residents and a marketplace for Ontario businesses. It’s all about living and doing business in Ontario. All in one site.