Many consumers get caught up in persuasive sales pitches and later regret their purchases. Like many states, South Carolina has laws that give the buyer the right to cancel certain purchase contracts for a specific amount of time after the sale. Officially called right of rescission, they are more commonly called "buyer's remorse" laws. However, few purchases are covered by these standards, so don't expect them to bail you out if you have second thoughts after a major purchase.
Sales at Home
The vinyl siding salesman knocks on your door with a deal that's a special just for today and you can't help but sign up. The next day, your neighbors say he offered them a similar deal but they found an ad for a better price. Fortunately, since the sale was made in your home, you have three days to cancel it without owing any money. Sales signed solely in your home are covered by the South Carolina Consumer Protection Code, specifically SC Code 37-2-502.
This law gives you until midnight on the third business day after the sale to cancel. So if you signed the contract on Monday, you'd have until midnight on Thursday to cancel in writing. The salesperson also must have given you your "right to cancel" notice. If he didn't, you can cancel any time before the work has begun. The seller has 10 days after your cancellation to return any deposit you made, and you must return any materials the seller may have left at your property.
With your new goal to lose weight or improve your health, you accepted a one-day pass to a nearby gym. Their guided tour was so impressive that you signed a one-year contract on the spot. But later, realizing you're not likely to attend regularly, you want to cancel. Fortunately, according to South Carolina's Physical Fitness Services Act SC 44-79-30, you have until the third business day after signing to cancel, as long as the contract was for three months or longer, or for $200 or more. Business days are Monday through Friday, so don't count the weekend. This act applies to all types of gyms, health clubs, spas, YMCAs and similar facilities, but not to therapeutic facilities prescribed by a doctor.
The right to cancel your gym or health club membership may not include any extras you committed to, such as personal trainer fees. When signing any contract, give yourself some breathing room by waiting to sign up for extras until you've been using the service and know you'll stay with it.
Vacation Time Shares
Lured by the promise of a three-night stay in a resort town, you and your spouse agree to attend a time share presentation, although you don't plan to buy. But the sales staff dazzles you with videos of all the sun-kissed islands and exotic cities you can trade your time share for, and before you know what happened you've spent thousands of dollars on a time share. Under SC 27-32-40, you have up to five days after signing the contract to cancel it.
What's Not Covered
South Carolina doesn't have right of rescission for vehicle purchases or real estate transactions. Vehicles may be covered by "lemon laws" if they are defective, however. And real estate contracts may be canceled if provisions of the sale aren't met, or in the case of a job loss, a new disability that will hinder earning the necessary income, or other such unforeseen situations.