A contract is a written or spoken agreement between two or more parties, intended to be enforceable by law. Contract law is a complex topic and can be confusing for both consumers and businesses alike.
Generally, a contract is binding when the following is true:
- the parties intend to make a contract
- there is an offer and an acceptance
- the parties receive something in return for their promises (e.g. the company receives money and you receive a service)
Always read over a contract carefully and do not agree to it unless you are confident that you understand it completely. When possible, have a lawyer or another trusted person review anything that you intend to sign.
In some provinces and territories, there is an automatic cancellation (cooling-off) period for contracts, such as health club memberships, credit cards and door-to-door sales. The cooling-off period is defined as a specific period of time in which you may reconsider your decision and cancel the contract—for any reason. Remember this applies only to certain kinds of contracts, and the rules may vary by province and territory.
Unless the contract is subject to an automatic cooling-off period, remember that it might be difficult or impossible to cancel. Don't sign unless you are positive you want the product or service.
Contact your provincial or territorial consumer affairs office to learn more about the cooling-off period.
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