The “Three-Day to Return” Rule for Cars…

…is a myth.  There is no “buyer’s remorse” law in Ohio, or elsewhere that I could find, that permits a three-day return for vehicles.   I am certain that some readers here still do not believe that, which evidences how pervasive this myth is.

One of my favorite quotes on this topic is from an article in the Cleveland Plain Dealer:  “If you want to clean up on a bet, ask people if Ohio law gives them three days to cancel a contract to buy a car.  So many will wrongly say yes, you could probably fund your retirement with your winnings.”  Car dealers can offer this return period on their own, but there is no Ohio law to require it.

Are there any protections for consumers who decide they made a bad purchase, or want to cancel a contract?  Yes, there are laws that address bad purchases, hastily-signed contracts, just not for cars.  Most “buyer’s remorse” laws permitting cancellation of contracts or purchases relate to high-pressure type situations where sales are made.  Think about door-to-door sales, high-pressure telemarketing, etc.   To take advantage of Ohio’s “buyer’s remorse” laws below, be sure to know what you are required to do, and by what date you must act.

Here are Ohio’s “buyer’s remorse” laws, permitting the buyer to renege on a purchase or contract:

  1. Door-to Door Sales: a buyer has three days to cancel any sales made in their home, or anywhere that isn’t the seller’s regular place of business. Did you buy a vacuum cleaner from a salesman who came to your door?  Did you buy a hot tub from a seller at the fairgrounds or remodeling show?  Then you have three days to cancel your purchase.
  2. Credit and Debt Counseling Services: you have three days to cancel.  The cancellation period begins on the day you sign.
  3. “Entertainment” Contracts: you have three days to cancel contracts with fitness centers, martial arts, dancing and other lessons, weight loss group programs, dating services, health spas, etc.
  4. Business Opportunity Plans: you have five days to cancel a business opportunity agreement. The law was put into place to permit you to cancel an agreement where, for example, you agreed to buy, sell or distribute products or services.  Note that the law, Ohio’s Business Opportunity Purchasers Protection Act, prohibits sellers from making misrepresentations about the business’s prospects.
  5. Hearing Aids: Ohio law gives you 30 days to return hearing aids, for any or no reason. The clock starts ticking on the day you receive the hearing aids.
  6. Telemarketing Sales: you have seven days to cancel a contract for anything bought or contracted for through telemarketing (telephone) sales. There are a few options for when the cancellation period begins: you have seven days to cancel once goods are received or services are agreed to, or seven days to cancel after you sign a written agreement.

Some federal laws provide “buyer’s remorse” law protection, such as a right to cancel home equity and mortgage refinancing contracts within three days of signing, under the federal “Truth in Lending Act.”

Laws providing buyers with a means to escape purchases or contracts require that sellers inform you of these rights, and require certain actions from buyers.  Most of these laws require that buyers rescind in writing.  Buyers need to rescind in a timely manner, remembering that “days” to cancel are business days that include Saturdays, and exclude Sundays and some federal holidays.  Federal holidays listed by the Ohio Attorney General are New Year’s Day, Martin Luther King, Jr. Day, Presidents Day, Memorial Day, Independence Day, Labor Day, Columbus Day, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving Day, and Christmas Day.

Contact me at with any questions.


August is “Home Business Month”—Celebrate by Being Legal!

National “Home Business Month” is celebrated through the month of August.  I love entrepreneurs and everything small business, and I represent clients who want to start their own business.  My posts have discussed starting a small business and home-based businesses, such a food-based business.  With the technology that is available today, it’s easier than ever to run a business from your home, just make sure you research applicable laws, rules and restrictions.  This post can help you get started.

First, you should make sure you have all the appropriate licenses.  Your state might require licenses with certain businesses involving food, children (daycare, recreation programs, etc.), hair salon or barber shop, massage therapy, and pet grooming, as a few examples.  Check with your Secretary of State (click here for Ohio’s), and with relevant licensing boards.

Second, check zoning and municipal regulations.  How is your property zoned?  Are home-based businesses permitted where you live?  Typical zoning regulations to consider, and might apply to you, include:

  • Restrictions on the number of employees
  • Restrictions on traffic, noise and parking
  • Restrictions on the number of clients or third-party vendors permitted in a day
  • Signage (height, colors, size, location)
  • Restrictions on use of chemicals or creating noxious odors
  • Restrictions on whether you can store inventory or items at your home

Typically, complaints about home businesses come from neighbors, which will result in local authorities coming to your home, so consider your business and anything about it that might prompt a neighbor to complain.  Will you have clients in and out of your home that might create traffic or parking issues?  Will you be making furniture or fixing cars in your garage and making noise that might create a nuisance?  Will you be training dogs, where dogs might run over to the neighbor’s property, or bark a lot?

Third, there might be private restrictions on the use of your property.  Do you live in a subdivision subjected to the covenants or bylaws of a Home Owner’s Association (HOA)?  Are there deed restrictions that might affect the operation of your business?  Do you lease or rent your property, and have restrictions in your lease or rental contract?

If you want to run a business from your home in Cleveland, Columbus, or anywhere in between, contact me to get started at; in northern Ohio call (216) 438-1298; in central Ohio call (614) 519-8661.


What happens to my pet if I die?

Provide for the care of your pet through a pet trust to avoid your pet’s fate falling into the hands of people you do not choose.  A pet trust is a legally enforceable way to provide care for your pet if you die, or become incapacitated and unable to care for your pet.

“I have a provision in my will for my dog.”  Your will comes into play after you die.  What if you became incapacitated from an accident, injury or illness?  Your will would not help, but a pet trust would.  Your trustee and pet’s caregiver could step in and begin caring for your pet if you become incapacitated and unable to take care of your pet.

“I’ve left money to my sister and she has agreed to take my cat if I die.”  What happens, however, if your sister would die shortly after you, or die before you and you never update your will, or if she otherwise becomes unable to care for your cat?  If you had a pet trust, your successor caregiver would step in and care for your pet.

A big difference between a pet provision in your will, versus having a pet trust, is timing.  With a will, your executor can’t make distributions until your estate has gone through probate, and money for your pet’s caregiver might be unavailable for months, or longer if there are any issues with probate.  With a pet trust, your trustee has access quickly to trust funds, and can provide money to the caregiver for your pet’s needs.

A pet trust is like most trusts where you name a trustee and successor trustees to manage the assets of the trust; you name a caregiver and successor caregivers to physically care for your pets; and you fund the trust, typically with your assets at your death or with a life insurance policy with the trust as the beneficiary.

If you live in Columbus, Cleveland, Akron or Canton, and areas in between, and want to provide for your pet’s future without you by preparing a pet trust, email me at, or call me in northern Ohio at (216) 438-1298 or central Ohio at (614) 519-8661.