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Read the fine print

Read the fine print on a contract before you sign. Ask questions — it is your money.

Signing a Contract

When you purchase a car, a new cellphone, hire a painter or mover, or purchase insurance you are entering into a contract.

Before signing a contract there are a few things to keep in mind:

  • Always read the contract carefully, including the fine print.
  • Only sign if you understand and agree with everything in the contract.
  • Check carefully what you are responsible to pay and what the company must provide.
  • When possible, and especially for a very large purchase, have a trusted person review the contract before you sign.
  • Research the company and find references. The Better Business Bureau may be able to help you.
  • If there is a deposit required, make sure you understand:
    • if the amount of money deposited will go toward the final purchase price of the item; and,
    • what will happen to the deposit if you cancel the contract.

Cooling-Off Period

In some provinces and territories, there is an automatic cancellation (or cooling-off) period for certain types of contracts. Examples include contracts for services such as credit, dating clubs, health clubs, funeral and cemetery services, time-shares, condominiums, natural gas, electricity and door-to-door sales. The cooling-off period is valid whether the company tells you about it or not.

To find out more about the cooling-off period in your area contact Your Provincial or Territorial Consumer Affairs Office.

Remember, the cooling-off period does not apply to all contracts, so it is very important to make sure you are ready to agree to everything in the contract before signing.

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