WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - If you have second thoughts about a contract you just signed, you may have a right to think about it and later cancel it under the Cooling-Off Rule.
You have 3 days to cancel but there are there are specific rules you must follow. Even if you follow the rules, the company may not refund your money.
Emma's eyes and expressions make her dad smile.
"We were really in love with her," said Scott Lautman.
He thought professionals were in love with his daughter Emma's look too. He said he was approached while walking his baby at the mall.
"Oh we really love your baby. Would you like to come in and have her photograph taken for modeling purposes?" Lautman said he was told.
He signed up. "I want my daughter to be a star."
Interface, a talent marketing center, requires an upfront fee before it begins any services.
Lautman paid $775 cash that same day, thinking it was an investment in the future.
"Everyone keeps telling us she's a cute little baby so I was like why not see if we can create a nice little college fund for her," said Lautman.
After thinking about his long term investment, Lautman had second thoughts. He canceled the contract according to the cancelation policy which the company is required to clearly post on its website under a $300-thousand dollar settlement agreement with the New Jersey Attorney General last year.
The company did not admit it did anything wrong when it settled with the New Jersey Attorney General last year.
In a statement the company said, "In actuality, the case referred to a cancelation policy that hadn't been in effect since 2008. In fact, we proactively chose to change it ourselves years ago because although it was standard for our industry, we understood that we often dealt with families new to the industry and wanted to make it easier and more comfortable for our clients to pursue the industry."
For Lautman to cancel he had to write a letter and certify it within 3 days.
Lautman followed the 3 day rule, but he's been waiting four months for a refund. After one call from the Consumer Watchdog, Lautman immediately got a refund.
The company blamed a clerical error for the delay.
"It's a lot of money especially with my wife just coming off maternity leave," said Lautman.
The Florida Attorney General is reviewing Interface after 13 people complained.
Return policies vary by company, but with many purchases over $25 you get 3 days to cancel. The Cooling-Off rule applies to sales at the buyer's home, workplace or dormitory, or a temporary workplace of the seller like a hotel or motel room, convention center, fairground, or restaurant.
The problem is, there are exceptions to the Cooling-Off Rule. These purchases include anything you bought entirely by mail or phone, goods needed for an emergency, real estate sale, insurance, securities, cars, arts, and crafts.
The Federal Trade Commission has more details on the rule and exceptions.
InterFACE full statement:
InterFACE is proud to do business in the state of Florida. We have serviced thousands of valued clients since we opened our doors in 2010 and have provided countless opportunities to families who want to explore the entertainment industry.
We appreciate you bringing our attention to the two inquiries you received. The first client - Lautman - followed our cancellation policy, but their refund was delayed due to an anomalous clerical error. The moment we were made aware of the error it was corrected and the client was refunded immediately directly to their credit card. The second client - Wittus - had left a check as a deposit, which was to be held until the end of the day in case she decided to use a credit card instead, with the expectation that if she did not change the form of payment, the check would be deposited. When she did not contact us to change the payment form, her check was deposited. We have made a number of attempts to reach her to resolve the miscommunication, including calls to her, her father, her step mother, via every number we have on file as well as others we were given by her family members that we were able to reach, but the client has not taken or returned any of our many calls.
I hope you understand that the inquiries, as well as any other complaints we have ever received account for a mere fraction of one percent of the number of people who have walked through our doors. Nevertheless, we take these instances very seriously and are committed to excellent client relations. The fact is that the vast majority of our clients are overwhelmingly satisfied with the services they have received.
Regarding the settlement in NJ, as is often the case in business, we chose to settle to avoid the cost of litigation, which would have been significantly greater even in the likely case that we would have been vindicated in court. In actuality, the case referred to a cancelation policy that hadn't been in effect since 2008. In fact, we proactively chose to change it ourselves years ago because although
it was standard for our industry, we understood that we often dealt with families new to the industry and wanted to make it easier and more comfortable for our clients to pursue the industry.
We do make every effort to ensure great customer service and appreciate the opportunity to address your inquiry.