Door-to-Door Sales, Time-Shares and Contracts You Can Cancel (Script 255)

From Clicklaw Wikibooks

This script discusses future performance contracts, fitness club memberships, and other similar contracts. It also explains how you can cancel if you want to back out. Finally, it discusses time-shares and time-share contracts.

Future performance contracts

What is a future performance contract?

An agreement where you don’t receive the goods or services immediately, or you don’t pay in full upfront, is a future performance contract under the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act. Examples include a contract for home repairs and a contract to join a fitness club. But contracts under $50 are not included.

What a future performance contract must include?

The Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act lists all the information the contract must include. It must be in writing and you must have signed it. And it must include:

  • The supply date.
  • The date when the supply of the goods or services will be complete.
  • The name, address and telephone number of the seller.
  • A description of the goods or services.
  • The costs, including taxes and shipping charges, plus the total price.
  • A detailed statement of the payment terms.

Cancelling a future performance contract

You must be given a copy of the contract within 15 days after you sign it. If the copy you get doesn’t have all the things that the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act requires, mentioned earlier, then you have up to a year to cancel it. Consumer Protection BC has information and cancellation forms to complete and send to the business.

Continuing service contracts

What is a continuing services contract?

With a continuing services contract, you receive services over a set time, rather than all at once. These contracts are limited to dance lessons, personal training, weight-loss programs, self-defense lessons, gym memberships, and travel-club memberships. A continuing services contract cannot be for more than 24 months.

Cancelling a continuing services contract

In the first 10 days—you have up to 10 days to cancel a contract after you sign it and get a copy of the contract. In fact, the contract must state that you have the right to cancel any time within the first 10 days.

Partway through a contract—you can cancel a continuing services contract if there has been a material (meaning significant) change in the services that the seller agreed to provide, or in your personal situation. For example, if you signed up for tango dancing lessons and the seller now only offers tap-dancing classes, you could cancel partway through the contract. Likewise, if the seller moved the dance studio, or if you moved more than 30 kilometers away and the business can’t provide the same service in your new location, or you broke your leg, you can also end the contract. In each case, you would have to show what the material change was (for example, proof of your new address or medical documentation explaining why you can no longer participate in the activity).

If you cancel because of a significant change in your personal situation, you can get a pro-rated refund based on how much of the service you’ve used, minus 30% to cover the seller’s costs. If you cancel because the seller’s services changed, you can get a pro-rated refund without any deduction.

Consumer Protection BC has information and cancellation forms to complete and send to the business. These can be helpful if you want to cancel a contract.

Direct sales contracts

What is a direct sales contract?

A direct sales contract is signed at a place other than the seller’s permanent place of business, (for example, at your home). But if you (or your friend or relative) invite a supplier into your home more than 24 hours in advance, any contract you sign with that supplier is not considered a direct sales contract. Also, there is a limit to the down payment a seller can require in a direct sales contract. For example, if a door-to-door salesperson comes to your home and sells you a vacuum cleaner, the salesperson cannot ask for a down-payment of more than $100 or 10% of the purchase price, whichever is less.

What a direct sales contract must include

The Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act lists all the information a direct sales contract must include. The contract must be in writing and must have been signed by you. It must also include:

  • The supply date
  • The place where the contract was signed
  • The name, address, and telephone number of the seller
  • A description of the goods or services
  • The costs, including taxes and shipping charges, plus the total price
  • A detailed statement of the payment terms.

Cancelling a direct sales contract

In the first 10 days—you have up to 10 days to cancel a contract after you sign it and get a copy of the contract. In fact, the contract must state that you have the right to cancel any time within the first 10 days.

If a contract lacks a required part—if the direct sales contract you sign does not have all the things that the Business Practices & Consumer Protection Act requires, then you have up to 1 year to cancel it.

If you don’t receive the goods or services—if you don’t receive the goods or services within 30 days of signing the contract, you have up to 1 year to cancel. For example, if you don’t receive within 30 days a vacuum cleaner you paid for, you have up to 1 year to cancel, as long as you don’t accept the goods or services later. If the goods or services are provided after 30 days and you accept them, you lose your right to reject them. Keep a copy of your written cancellation and proof that you delivered it within the allowed time.

Will you get your money back?

If you cancel a continuing services contract or a direct sales contract within 10 days, you have the right to get a full refund within 15 days after cancelling—even if you’ve already received the goods or started using the service. Once you’ve received your money back, you must return the goods. And you must take reasonable care of the goods while you have them because you are responsible for any damage to them while you have them.

What happens if the seller doesn’t give you a refund?

If you try to cancel a future performance contract, including a continuing services contract, or a direct sales contract, and you don’t get a refund, check Consumer Protection BC for more information and possible options.

Time shares

What is a time-share?

A time-share is a legitimate form of owning an interest in property. Often, the time-share is for one week per year at a vacation resort. Typically, you go to a presentation, tour a condo unit, and then sign a contract. Before you sign anything, however, make sure the deal is right for you. Never sign a contract unless you understand it completely.

Can you cancel a time-share contract?

Under BC’s Real Estate Development Marketing Act, if you sign the contract in BC, you can cancel it within 7 days. This applies whether the time-share relates to property in or outside of BC. But—and this is very important—if you sign a contract outside of BC, for example in Mexico, for a Mexican time-share, BC’s Real Estate Development Marketing Act does not apply. Instead, the contract will be controlled by the law of the country or province where you signed the contract.

More information


[updated October 2017]

The above was last reviewed for accuracy by Wendy Andersen and edited by John Blois.



© Copyright 2017, Canadian Bar Association British Columbia Branch. Dial-A-Law is a registered trademark owned by Canadian Bar Association British Columbia Branch, a non-profit membership corporation.


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