Woman holding 3 paper's bags.

Do you think you can simply return something that you bought and don't want anymore within 10 days after purchase to get a refund? Do you assume you always have 10 days to cancel a contract? Reality is very different: the Consumer Protection Act rarely allows you to cancel a purchase simply because you have changed your mind.

Merchant policies

The law does not force merchants to grant a refund for an item that you don't want anymore, or to exchange it for other goods or a credit note. Merchants are not required to have an exchange and return policy.

If they choose to have such a policy, they are free to determine what its terms are. However, once they do adopt an exchange and return policy, they are required to comply with its rules.

When does the 10-day time limit apply?

The law provides that you can cancel a contract within 10 days in one specific situation: if the purchase was made from an itinerant merchant. This type of merchant operates outside of the location where his business is based to sell his products or services and to solicit your business; this outside location can be your home, a street kiosk, a shopping centre, etc. If you need to cancel a contract with this type of merchant, you are not required to provide any explanation.

Often, the merchant comes to your home when you are not prepared for his visit. It is for that reason that the law provides you can cancel a contract with him, free of charge, within 10 days after you receive a copy of the contract.

An itinerant merchant must hold an Office de la protection du consommateur permit, and must always provide a written contract. To learn more, refer to the section about itinerant sales.

Defective product

If you purchased a defective product, the merchant who sold it to you has obligations, regardless of what is their exchange and refund policy. For more information, see Exchanging and refunding defective goods.



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Last update : November 24, 2017

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The information contained on this page is presented in simple terms to make it easier to understand. It does not replace the texts of the laws and regulations.