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Can you waive "right to cancel"?

(16 Posts)
OllyBJolly Mon 13-Feb-17 09:40:30

PILs have been scammed by a will writing firm.

They had a cold call saying that their wills would be out of date because the law has changed hmm and due to the urgency they would visit them at their house. It would cost around £100 to get them put right. Two days later, someone visited their house, asked some questions and asked them to sign a contract. They said the bill would be £700 which they had to pay now so they put it on a credit card. This is a huge amount of money for them.

They told me about it and alarm bells rang for all sorts of reasons - no professional body, cold call with rapid follow up visit, company address was a forwarding address, as well as the amount. However, I was sure they had 14 days to cancel and there was a tear off slip on the contract to do that. They sent that off, but a few days later they had a call saying they had waived their right to cancel. Indeed, the small print says that they "waive their right to cancellation" and if they do cancel within 14 days they have to pay for any work done.

They then received a letter saying that the wills had been written so only £200 would be refunded. However, the wills were not legal because the rest of the work had been cancelled.

I am furious as I do feel they have been scammed. I will be seeking proper legal advice. However, they are most worried about paying out a huge sum of money apparently for nothing.

Can you waive a "cooling off period"? Surely not?

PencilsInSpace Mon 13-Feb-17 09:52:02

No, the 14 day cooling off period is a statutory right, they can't waive it in the contract. They are entitled to all their money back. This also sounds like aggressive selling which would give them 90 days to cancel.

CAB consumer helpline are good with this sort of thing and can also report to trading standards to help prevent others getting ripped off.

ChocChocPorridge Mon 13-Feb-17 09:53:36

Because it's a custom service, it gets tricky

Get the company to produce proof of a signature of the waiver of cancellation, and an itemised bill of work done - if they can't produce, you can start the proceedings to go towards small claims, and generally make a pain of yourself. It may not work though.

look here:

under cancellation:

You're also protected if buying something costing more than £42 away from a normal seller's premises (usually at your home or work)

However, because it's a custom service there are trickier rules:

^Services and digital content: 14 days from the day after the order is made. If you want to start a service within the 14 days, you will usually be asked to give your agreement in writing. This then means you can't cancel. However you are able to get a refund minus the proportionate cost of anything you have used.
If you aren't told about your cancellation rights in writing, you have up to a year and 14 days to cancel the contract.^

ChocChocPorridge Mon 13-Feb-17 09:54:36

Pencils has some good points - the Consumers association and Trading standards might like to hear about it too - and give you more ammo to throw at the scammers in the hopes they'll just drop it so you go away.

Watto1 Mon 13-Feb-17 09:55:44

I'm no expert but I believe you can claim from the credit card company if you get no joy from the will writing people?

cdtaylornats Mon 13-Feb-17 13:42:02

You need to contact the credit card company so they can block this company. They are not happy when their facilities are used for scams.

OllyBJolly Mon 13-Feb-17 14:52:02

Thank you everyone for your responses - really very much appreciated.

I'm not sure the company has done anything illegal, although certainly immoral. According to Chocchoc 's post the PILs have signed a statement that says they have waived their right to cancel. Not sure if the credit card co would accept that.

I've been in touch with a lawyer and getting them to review all the documents. I'm also going to contact Trading Standards etc and also Age Concern. These companies are preying on old people's fears and then convincing them they have to sign up for a service a proper solicitor will do for much less money. And you'll be able to find the solicitor (or their firm) if it goes belly up!

PencilsInSpace Mon 13-Feb-17 19:48:53

They can't waive their right to cancel, it's a statutory right. If they have requested the wills be drawn up within the 14 day cooling off period they might be liable for some of the cost for work completed before cancelling.

How much time was there between the phone call telling them they had waived their rights and the letter saying the wills had been written and they would only get £200 back? Is it likely they have done the wills since receiving the cancellation slip?

This is also aggressive/pressurised selling which gives them more rights. Age Concern is a good idea. They can give free advice on your rights and also help prevent it happening to anyone else.

cdtaylornats Mon 13-Feb-17 21:15:24

Pretty sure credit card companies have something in their Ts&Cs for traders that they should do nothing to bring the Credit Card company into disrepute.

Allthebestnamesareused Tue 14-Feb-17 15:05:40

Approach the credit card and register it as a disputed payment. Help them fill in the form saying that cancellation was made, they wer cold called all of the above as before.

Generally they'll be refunded back on to the credit card by the credit card company and then the Will Writing scammers would have to take them to court which I suspect they wouldn't bother and even if they did, defend it in the same terms.

OllyBJolly Sat 18-Mar-17 09:38:16

Thought I should come back to update now having had legal advice.

Apparently, you can waive a right to cancel. The clause the inlaws signed said that the waiver had been fully explained, they agreed to work beginning immediately, and therefore waive the right. They would have signed without reading. (Wrong but many people are guilty of that)

The wills themselves were riddled with errors e.g. if BIL was to predecease parents his inheritance was to go to my DH. The discussion had been that any inheritance would go to GCs. Names were mixed up, some of MIL's will was written as if it was FILs and vice versa. The lawyer said it was a standard template that had been poorly amended. Bizarrely, the wills also included that they wanted church funerals which they swear had never been discussed!

Worryingly, this firm hasn't done anything illegal. They have questionable sales techniques and delivered a poor service. They present themselves as lawyers, but don't actually say they are lawyers. (Law is in the firm's title but is an acronym)

Ironically, PILs were pissed off at being charged £700 when they expected to pay £100, otherwise they probably wouldn't even have mentioned it. There must be hundreds of people taken in by these cold callers, and of course, the customer is probably dead before all the mistakes are uncovered (and the lawyer said the company will disappear in two years and reemerge with a different name to avoid any liability.

Trethew Sat 18-Mar-17 10:55:49

Horrible unscrupulous people. Thank goodness goodness your parents told you about it

Scooby1Mary Sat 18-Mar-17 12:10:30

Hi, after three long years in and out of court and still continuing it was ruled on Thursday I should wave my 9 year off at my front door and let him walk down the end of our road which we can't see from our house to meet his father. The end of the road is by a busy path way that dog walker use everyday, my Neighbours daughter has recently been flashed at at the same spot.
The father has made false allegations against myself and husband of Assault to which the police didn't take matters further and advise me of putting up cctv outside our house to protect ourselves
And have evidence to show we do don't leave the house at handover. ( this prevent my children know that it's being filmed they thinks it for house security)
I brought up my concerns up in court to the judge that I feel this is unsafe for my son and also leaves me wide open for further more false allegations to the police but feel it to be detrimental to my son mental state me having to hold up my camera on my phone to prove my innocence.
My son is undergoing counselling due to the emotional abuse that he is receiving from his father.
This morning my husband wasn't happy with letting him leave the house on is own so walked him down the road and kept his distance from my sons father.
When my husband returned he was very concerned and upset that my son had to be put through this process as his father was filming them walking down and continued to film until my he was out of sight.
All this was in front of my nine year old Son.
Surly this can't help my son emotionally ?
Has anyone on this site had to go through the same thing with the Their children?

Trethew Sat 18-Mar-17 12:39:08

Scooby you're posting this in the wrong place. This is a thread about wills in the legal matters section so you won't get much input

Go to the top of this page and click on Topics in the blue band. Select the topic you think most suitable and click on it to open. Just under is a highlighted option Start a new thread. Click on that and put in your post.

EnormousTiger Sat 18-Mar-17 15:15:36

Olly, Choco is right as you have also found out. I don't know if they could get a credit card refund though along the same grounds you would for fault goods - it is a faulty will. Might still be worth going to the credit card provider to get a refund.

I write these cancellation terms for distance contracts where services will start right away sometimes.

On use of the word lawyers it is not a protected word so anyone even with a 2 week law course might be able to use it. The protected word is "solicitor" which you can only use if you are a fully qualified solicitor. I wish there were more publicity for that (however some will writers who are not solicitors may well be okay at writing wills of course - I am not saying otherwise).

I would encourage everyone to use a solicitor for a will and also never every buy anything at the door of any kind whatsoever nor through an unsolicited sales call.

If the wills are defective then they should pursue a refund. Also the Consumer Protection from unfair Trading regulations 2008 prohibit as a crimnal offence various practices including misleading people when selling to them. They were in myv iew misled here over the price. They may have an action for damages under amendments to those regulations and trading standards could intervene too.

OllyBJolly Sat 18-Mar-17 16:00:16

They haven't charged for the wills. They have charged for the work done. The company has very cleverly said that these are drafts, not final documents, and the PILs were to highlight any changes. So no refund payable. As a licence to print money they have a pretty smart operation.

PILs didn't use a credit card. They said they did but it's actually a debit card they have.

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