It’s important to know your rights when your phone keeps ringing and people on the other end are trying to sell you anything from cell phones and insurance to services you don’t need.

While you may stumble upon a real deal if you answer one of these calls, it’s far more likely that you’ll let yourself be talked into a deal that you don’t really want or need, and end up paying for it for years to come.

The good news is that you have certain consumer rights under the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) that allow you to stop the calls and cancel any transactions that may be bugging you.

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What is direct marketing?

The CPA defines direct marketing as the process of contacting someone in person, by mail or by electronic means for the direct or indirect purpose of selling them any goods or services in the ordinary course of business.

If you call someone to buy something and that person calls you back, that is not direct marketing, any more than if you act on an ad and buy something in a store.

Direct marketing should be initiated by the business, not you.

How does a CPA protect you?

The CPA protects your right to privacy and choice in sections 11 and 16, while rules 4 and 12 make it clear when telemarketers can contact you and what you can do to stop direct marketing to you , and how you can reverse the transaction if you give in and buy what the direct marketer is offering.

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Section 11

Section 11 gives you the right to restrict direct marketing.

You can opt out of direct marketing, ask the company to stop contacting you, and block direct marketing. This means you can ask marketers to stop contacting you and remove your name from their call lists.

This section also requires people who control direct marketing to use appropriate procedures to make it easier for you to ask them to stop contacting you and to have your name removed from their call list. Companies are also not allowed to charge you for removing your name from the list.

Consumers usually consent to receiving direct marketing in writing when they fill out a form to apply for credit, or when you tick a box to agree to receive information about special offers or new products.

If you check the box, the store is allowed to contact you, but it does not mean that they can share your information with other telemarketers.

Section 12

Section 12 and Gazette Notice 34180 make it clear that telemarketers are prohibited from calling you on Sundays and public holidays, and on weekdays only between the hours of 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. and 9:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. . Saturdays, unless you have agreed to another time.

This rule also applies to all other types of electronic communication.

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Section 16

Section 16 contains a very important part of your protection against direct marketing, stating that you have a cooling-off period after entering into a transaction resulting from direct marketing.

You may cancel a transaction within five business days of the transaction or the delivery of the product, whichever occurs first. You must be able to prove that you canceled the reservation within five days, but you do not have to give a reason for the cancellation or pay a cancellation fee.

The company must then refund any money you have already paid within 15 working days if the products have not been delivered or, if the product has been delivered, within 15 days of receiving it back.

However, if you have used some of the products, the company may require you to pay a fair fee for it.

When does section 16 not apply?

Section 16 does not apply to a transaction if it falls under section 44 of the Electronic Communications and Transactions Act.

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