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I purchased two rugs in Morroco while on vacation. I live in the US. Eight hours later, I left a phone message and email with the merchant to cancel my order. I made serveral attempts to stop shipment, via email, and with DHL. I contacted my credit card company to dispute the transaction. I never received paperwork from the merchant regarding their cancelation policy. I made it painfully clear to the merchant NOT to send the rugs, I wanted to cancel, and I was disputing the purchase. They sent the rugs anyway. I refused the order when it came to my house. It was shipped back. The credit card company closed the dispute in the merchants favor. The merchant has my money and my rugs. They will not respond to any correspondence. What recourse do I have? Can I sue for my money back?

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Probably no recourse

Morocco has consumer protection law that allows "The right of withdrawal: allow consumers, in certain cases, a withdrawal period of 7 days." The full text of the law is here but my 35-year old recollections of high-school French are not up to the task. However, a quick skim of this UN review of the law suggests that cancellation (or retraction) only applies to distance purchases (e-commerce) and it sounds as though you made the purchases face-to-face.

AFAIK, there is not a country in the world that protects in law "change-of-mind" cancellations of freely entered into contracts (e-commerce, door-to-door and some other sales excepted). While the experience of most of us in the Western world is that such requests will be honored, that is a commercial decision of the business - not a legally mandated one (at least, that is the law in the US, UK, Australia and New Zealand). Consumer protection law worldwide generally only requires a business to accept a return or cancel a delivery if the product is defective.

The facts of the case are that you did make a purchase and the contract you entered did not allow you to cancel it. They were your rugs and you chose to make the merchant a gift of them by sending them back.

Notwithstanding, international disputes are only worth pursuing is the amount is substantial - in the millions of dollars substantial - as the costs of recovering smaller sums is often orders of magnitude greater than the amount in dispute. Always assuming that you can recover the money even if you get a successful judgement.

  • Note: US Federal law gives 3 days to cancel an purchase made at home or at a temporary location, such as a convention or show, with certain exceptions. Many states have broader rights to cancel. For example Ohio allows the consumer to cancel sales of "prepaid entertainment contracts, business opportunity plans, and hearing aids in addition to door-to-door sales, telemarketer sales, and second mortgages. " (justia.com/consumer/consumer-protection-law/…) See en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooling-off_period_(consumer_rights) – David Siegel Jun 17 at 23:52
  • Florida allows cancellation of contracts for future services, for example. – David Siegel Jun 18 at 0:01
  • @DavidSiegel none of which would’ve applicable here – Dale M Jun 18 at 0:32
  • Quite true that was in response to "there is not a country in the world that protects in law "change-of-mind" cancellations of freely entered into contracts" showing that there are quite a number of cases where such laws do exist. That is why I made it a comment, not an answer. – David Siegel Jun 18 at 0:37
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    @DavidSiegel agreed, but they tend to be in situations designed around high pressure sales techniques - utility account switching, door-to-door sales, Amway seminars, timeshare seminars etc which are often the cause of complaint. Even in the EU, distance sales are all thats covered under an explicit right to reject, not purchases when you are present! :) In general, agree with you, just making it obvious that the laws you are talking about are intended to counter specific abuse cases in the past. – user4210 Jun 18 at 4:48

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