The Utility Scam and Three Days to Cool Off

The Utility Scam

A member tells us that she was recently contacted by a utility company about an overdue electric bill. Her estranged husband had agreed to pay the utility bills, and she was surprised to learn that he had not.

The caller threatened immediate disconnection and pressured her to send a check right away, requesting the name of the bank and account number on which the check would be written.

Her husband subsequently produced evidence that all bills were current, and a representative of the electric company said that it was not their policy to telephone customers regarding unpaid bills.

Our member had been contacted by a con artist gathering bank account information for illegal use. Don’t be the next victim: never give banking information to anyone over the telephone.

Three Days to Cool Off

Did you know that you are entitled to a three-day cooling off period? (As the hot summer comes to a close, you may find that news a relief!).

A federal law allows you to cancel any contract for $25 or more within three days of signing. This rule applies if the sale was made away from the seller’s normal place of business, such as a home demonstration or a sales presentation at a hotel.

The three-day-cooling-off rule also applies to home improvement loans, home equity loans, and contracts to joint health clubs, discount buying clubs and membership campground associations.

To cancel under the three-day rule, first call the seller, then fill out the Notice of Cancellation that was given to you with your sales contract or receipt and send it to the seller by midnight of the third business day after the date of the transactions.

If you were not given a Notice of Cancellation, request one from the seller. Your cancellation right will be extended until the seller sends you the proper form.

After the seller receives your cancellation notice, he must refund your money within ten days and pick up the merchandise or reimburse you for the cost of returning it. If the seller doesn’t make arrangements for the return of the goods, they are yours to keep.

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