The Home Solicitation Sales Act (“HSSA”) protects consumers from high-pressure sales tactics that are sometimes employed during in-home solicitations. “Home Solicitation Sales” are sales of consumer goods or services, used primarily for personal, family or household purposes, in which the seller engages in a personal solicitation at the residence of the buyer, including solicitations in response to an invitation by the buyer. Home remodeling contracts are included as consumers goods or services under the HSSA.
Every Home Solicitation Sale needs to be set forth in an agreement containing the terms of the sale and the name and address of the seller. The agreement must also set forth a statutory notice advising the buyer of their right to cancel the Home Solicitation Sale, without penalty, at any time prior to midnight on the third business day following the date of the agreement. This notice must clearly appear on the agreement in ten-point, bold-faced type. The agreement is also required to have a “Notice of Cancellation” form attached to it. This form advises the buyer of their right to cancel the agreement, without penalty or obligation, by midnight of the third business day following the date of the agreement, advises of the procedure for canceling, and the procedure for the return of any money provided by the buyer in the event of a cancellation. The information on the form must be clearly spelled out in ten-point, bold face type. The seller is required to complete the Notice of Cancellation by filling in the name and address of the seller’s place of business, the date of the agreement, and the date by which the buyer must give the notice of cancellation. The seller is also required to provide a copy of the Notice of Cancellation to buyer. The three-day period does not begin to run until the seller has provided the buyer with this required notice. If the seller fails to provide the buyer with the Notice of Cancellation, the buyer may cancel the agreement by notifying the seller of his intention to cancel at any time. A seller’s failure to comply with the HSSA requirements also constitutes a violation of the Ohio Consumer Sales Practices Act for which the buyer may seek to rescind the agreement or recover damages incurred as a result of the violation. In some situations, the buyer may recover up to three times their actual economic damages as well as their reasonable attorney’s fees and costs.
The HSSA also prohibits a seller from doing any of the following in connection with a Home Solicitation Sale: (1) including a confession of judgment or waiver of any of the buyer’s rights under the HSSA in the agreement; (2) failing to inform the buyer orally at the time they sign the agreement of their right to cancel the agreement; (3) misrepresenting, in any manner, the buyer’s right to cancel; (4) failing or refusing to honor a notice of cancellation from a buyer and to refund all contract payments, and/or cancel any note or evidence of indebtedness within ten (10) days after receipt of the cancellation notice from buyer; (5) negotiating, transferring, selling, or assigning any evidence of indebtedness from the buyer to any third party prior to midnight of the fifth business day following the date of the agreement; or (6) failing to notify the buyer within ten (10) business days of receipt of buyer’s notice of cancellation whether the seller intends to repossess or abandon any goods delivered or shipped to the buyer.
FOR INFORMATION: To schedule an appointment regarding a possible violation of the Ohio Home Solicitation Sales Act, contact Phillip J. Henry, Esq. 440-243-2800. There are no legal fees for discussing a matter until the scope of the needed legal services has been discussed and established.