The dreaded contract. All the unfamiliar words in tiny writing. You haven’t even signed it yet, and you already feel like a piece of you is gone forever. But not if you had done your research. Sure it’s uncomfortable to agree to give someone a lot of money when the job hasn’t even started yet. If only you had asked the right questions before putting pen to paper.

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The great thing about contracts is that they are mutually obligating. Because you agreed on certain terms, there are specific conditions that the other party has to meet in order to fulfil their end of the deal. That isn’t to say that a window replacement contract is restrictive. A correct contract doesn’t stifle any of your freedoms. It just means there are certain acceptable processes that have to be followed in order to satisfy the agreement between two parties.

That’s why you shouldn’t be concerned or worried about nullifying your contract. Whether you found a better price or just don’t think the company is a right fit for you, you should be able to cancel your contract and get back the money you put down. To protect themselves, most companies don’t commence any work or perform window measurements until they received a down payment or a financing approval. Canadian law also mandates certain cancellation terms that ensure your safety and rights as a customer.

Across Canada, you are protected under consumer law to cancel your contract within 10 days of signing.

Although this clause may not be overtly stated on your contract, because believe it or not, not all provincial government mandates it be included, be sure to ask your project consultant about the 10 days cancellation period.

Usually, if you want to cancel an agreement you are required to submit a written intent to do so within the allotted time period. Some companies require a physical letter as a precaution for their legal department. Other companies in the modern age of web commerce will be satisfied with a personal e-mail.

Usually, the company will refund your money within 15 days from the day of receiving your cancellation request.

How fast you get your money back depends mostly on how you initially paid for the order. If you have submitted a cheque, the money usually has to clear from your financial institution and be transferred to the company before they can send you back the cheque. This process can often take several business days. Of course, you can always exercise the option to stop the payment from going through at your bank, to ensure the money was never withdrawn in the first place. Similarly, if you have paid from a chequing account, the money cannot be refunded directly onto your card, and you would have to wait for a physical cheque to come in.

The process is much more simple when dealing with credit cards. Usually, a company will process a refund within 24 hours of receiving the cancellation notice, and the money will appear on your account within a couple of days as with other refunds.

Remember, before you sign anything, READ IT. Nobody will be more disappointed than you when someone tells you that you can’t have your money back because you simply didn’t take the time to familiarise yourself with what you’re signing. Don’t be afraid to ask for clarifications from a sales consultant if you don’t fully understand what is written, or how it’s phrased. Contracts often tend to be written in complicated legalese, not because the company is trying to confuse you out of your money, but because the law requires that a certain protocol is followed in putting together a binding document.

Other questions to ask before signing a window contract:

What happens if the order is installed later than the date indicated on the contract?

Under what conditions does the warranty come into effect?

What happens if something is damaged during the installation?

What if my windows arrive damaged?

When is the final balance due to be paid?

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