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[Updated in February 2013]
[September 2012]

Cooling-off system

What is the cooling-off system?

It is a special system to protect consumers, prescribed in the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions and other laws.

If you carelessly signed a contract when solicited through sudden door-to-door sales or through complicated and high-risk transactions including multilevel marketing, the cooling-off system allows you to cancel such a contract unilaterally and unconditionally for a certain period of time.

Transactions subject to the cooling-off system and valid period

  • Door-to-door sales, confidence tricks, appointment sales, etc.: 8 days
  • Telemarketing sales: 8 days
  • Specified continuous services (beauty salon, language school, cramming school, tutoring service, personal computer school, marriage partner introduction service): 8 days
  • Multilevel marketing transactions: 20 days
  • Business opportunity sales transactions (homeworking scam, monitoring scam): 20 days
  • Door-to-door purchase (a purchase method where by a dealer visits consumer's home and try to purchase items): 8 days [Transactions on or after the date of enforcement (February 21, 2013) are subject to the cooling-off system.]

Male-order sales are not subject to the cooling-off system.

In case of door-to-door purchase, the seller (consumer) can refuse to hand over the item to the buyer within the cooling-off period.

The cooling-off period starts from the date of receiving the written application or the written contract, whichever comes first.

In case of inadequacy in the document delivered, the cooling-off rule may be applied even if the cooling-off period passed.

Moreover, some contracts on financial goods and real estate are subject to the cooling-off system. The above-mentioned sales and transactions may not be subject to the cooling-off system depending on conditions. If there is anything unclear, consult your local consumer center.

How to apply the cooling-off rule

  • Be sure to send a written notification. You can send it by postcard.
  • Notify to the party concerned within the cooling-off period.
  • If you used a credit card in making the contract, notify the seller and the credit company at the same time.
  • Copy both sides of the postcard.
  • Send the postcard via "Acceptance-recorded Mail" or "Simplified Registered Mail". Keep notification copies and delivery records in one place.

How to write a cooling-off notification (example)

To the seller

Example of a cooling-off notification to the seller, followed by description in text

Write "Notification of Contract Cancellation" as a title. Then, write down "hereby cancel the following contract", followed by the contract date, the product name, the amount of contract and the seller's details. At the end, write "I request that you refund the money XX yen and retrieve the product", followed by the date of mailing, your address and name.

To the credit company

Example of a cooling-off notification to the credit company, followed by description in text

Write "Notification of Contract Cancellation" as a title. Then, write down "I hereby cancel the following contract", followed by the contract date, the product name, the amount of contract, the seller's details and the credit company's name. At the end, write the date of mailing, your address and name.

To the buyer (in case of door-to-door purchase)

Example of a cooling-off notification to the buyer, followed by description in text

Write "Notification of Contract Cancellation" as a title. Then, write down "I hereby cancel the following contract", followed by the contract date, the product name, the amount of contract and the buyer's details. At the end, write the date of mailing, your address and name.

  1. * If you handed over the product to the buyer, add the sentence "I request that you return the product".

You can write the notification of contract cancellation by yourself. If you have any questions about the procedure or how to write it, consult your local consumer center right away.

Points to note in the cooling-off procedure

Have you written necessary items?

A cooling-off notification shall be communicated in writing. Notification by postcard is easy and recommendable.

Have you copied the notification?

Copy both sides of the postcard for evidence.

Have you sent the notification via "Acceptance-recorded Mail" or "Simplified Registered Mail"?

The cooling-off notification shall be sent to the representative of the organization concerned via a traceable mailing system, such as "Acceptance-recorded Mail", "Simplified Registered Mail", and so forth.

In case of interference

If you cannot apply the cooling-off rule because of rejection or intimidation by the organization concerned, you can apply the cooling-off rule even after the cooling-off period.

Has the money refunded?

Get your money back from the organization concerned. If you have received a product, request the seller to retrieve it. In case of door-to-door purchase, get your item back from the buyer if any, and return the money you received for selling the item.

Have you filed papers concerned?

Keep delivery records and other papers concerned for 5 years.