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Date Submitted: 10/01/2012 02:33 PM

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The right to choose (including the right to choose to cancel)

Fixed-term contracts

Consumers can cancel a fixed term contract (for example, gym, cellphone, subscription contracts) at the end of the term. The supplier must notify them between 40 to 80 days before the term ends, of the date of termination and of any changes that would apply if they renewed the contract. The onus is then on the consumer to tell the supplier to terminate the agreement on the expiry date, or agree to renew the contract on the new terms, failing which the contract will continue on a month on month basis on the new terms.

So, it is important that consumers keep a record of when the contract ends, so that they are in control of what happens at the end of the term.

Consumers can also cancel a contract before the term has expired by giving 20 business days notice, but will be liable for “a reasonable cancellation penalty”.

The cooling-off period and cancellations from direct marketing

Consumers can cancel an agreement which they entered into as a result of direct marketing, within FIVE BUSINESS DAYS without penalty or charges with no explanation needed. If they have paid, they must be refunded in full within 15 business days of cancelling the agreement.

Cancelling advance bookings or orders

* When making advance reservations eg airlines/accommodation or placing orders in advance, the supplier has the right to require a deposit depending on the nature of the specific circumstances.

* Consumers do have the right to cancel such booking or order and will be liable for a “reasonable charge” depending on general industry practices, the length of time of the cancellation before the event, and whether an alternative consumer can be found. No charge may apply if the cancellation is due to death or hospitalization.

* The above does not apply to specially made orders.