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[Updated in August 2020]
[September 2012]

Cooling-off system

What is the cooling-off system?

The cooling-off system gives consumers the opportunity to reconsider purchases and allows consumers to cancel an order or contract unconditionally for a certain period.

Transactions subject to the cooling-off system and the cooling-off period under the Act on Specified Commercial Transactions

  • Door-to-door sales, confidence tricks, appointment sales, etc.: 8 days
  • Telemarketing sales: 8 days
  • Multilevel marketing transactions: 20 days
  • Provision of specified continuous services (beauty salon treatment, medical cosmetic treatment, language schools, tutoring at home, cram schools, personal computer schools, matchmaking service): 8 days
  • Business opportunity sales transactions (sales combined with an offer of a side job, sales combined with an offer of a monitoring job): 20 days
  • Door-to-door purchase (a purchase method whereby a dealer visits consumer's home and try to purchase articles): 8 days

The above-mentioned sales and transactions may not be subject to the cooling-off system depending on conditions.

  • In case of door-to-door purchase, the seller (consumer) can refuse to hand over articles 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 period may be applicable even if the cooling-off period has passed.
  • Some contracts for financial goods and real estate are subject to the cooling-off system.

In case of mail-order sales

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

If there are special provisions concerning possibility of and conditions for returning goods, handling shall be subject to the special provisions. If there aren't such special provisions, a consumer may return the goods within 8 days starting from the date of receiving the goods with the postage paid by the consumer.

Consult your local consumer affairs center

If you are unclear whether the cooling-off period is applicable, consult your local consumer affairs center.

How to apply the cooling-off period

  • Be sure to send a written notification. You can send it by postcard.
  • Notify to the party concerned within the cooling-off period.
  • If a credit contract is signed, 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 "I 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 received and the buyer's details. At the end, write the date of mailing, your address and name.

  1. * If you have 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 affairs center right away.

Points to note in applying the cooling-off period

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 period because of rejection or intimidation by the organization concerned, the cooling-off period is applicable even if the cooling-off period has passed.

Have you been refunded?

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

Have you filed papers concerned?

Keep delivery records and other papers concerned for 5 years.