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Vincent2013, JustAnswer Expert
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 213
Experience:  Qualified solicitor and barrister (non-practising) with 7+ years experience
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I have an 83 year old father who has unwittingly signed a contract

Customer Question

I have an 83 year old father who has unwittingly signed a 'contract' to have a burglar alarm fitted and the contract states that he has agreed for the commencement of work to start before the 7 day cooling off period, is this legal?
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Vincent2013 replied 4 years ago.

Hi thanks for your question. My name's XXXXX XXXXX I'm going to assist you with it this evening.


If he made the agreement either in his home or via a "distance contract" (e.g. over the phone, by mail order, television etc.) than he is entitled to a statutory 7 day cooling off period. However, an agreement to start the work within this period can be deemed a waiver of his cooling off rights.


Under both the Distance Selling Regulations (DSR) and the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer's Home or Place of Work etc. Regulations (CCHR), in order to be an effective waiver, the cooling off period rights must be clearly set out in writing and, in respect of the latter, the consumer must have signed his agreement for the work to start within the statutory cooling off period.


If he was not advised of his rights and (in respect of an agreement made in his home) he did not expressly agree in writing that the work should start before the statutory cooling off period then the agreement is unenforceable. If he was appropriately advised, what are his rights?


Well, he should still be perfectly able to cancel without financial consquences if the work has not yet started. Under the DSR if you agree for the work to start before the end of the cooling off period, you still have the right to cancel up until the the point at which the service starts. If the contract was made in his home, under regulation 9(2) of the CCHR, the contractor can only claim for "goods or services that were supplied before the cancellation". If the contract hasn't commenced yet, this would presumably be nothing. Things would be different if any of the goods were bespoke (but I very much doubt this would be the case with an alarm system).


You must serve the notice of cancellation in writing and send it to the party referred to in the cancellation notice. Email is fine and any letter is deemed to be sent on the date of posting.


I hope that answers your question. If so, I would be very grateful if you could remember to rate my answer as this is how I receive credit from the website for my work. Our conversation will not close and you can continue to ask me anything you need to clarify the information above

Expert:  Vincent2013 replied 4 years ago.

One other thing. When you send the cancellation notice tomorrow, keep a copy and, if possible, send it by recorded delivery (so you have proof of postage and receipt).


As I say (under either regulations), where work is agreed to commence during the 7 day cooling off period, until work starts or goods are delivered, he shouldn't have any liability if he cancels within that period.


Please do remember to rate my answer if it was helpful and don't hesitate to let me know if you need any further clarification.

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Sorry to be so long in coming back to you. Thank you for your response which was most helpfulk. Luckily the company were sympathetic & we had no cause to pursue it further.
Expert:  Vincent2013 replied 4 years ago.

Hi Ian,


That's fantastic news! I'm very pleased for your father.


If my answer was helpful, I would be very grateful if you could rate my answer and best wishes to you and your dad.