To ensure you're not penalised for cancelling a contract, cancel within the cooling-off period.
Your rights on contracts made away from a trader's premises, such as on the doorstep and online, change on 13 June 2014.
Read our step-by-step guide to avoid hefty penalty fines and to find out the new rules mean for you.
If you'd rather speak to an adviser about your problem, call the Which? Consumer Rights Advice Line on 01992 822 829 to join today.
1 Write to the service provider
If you want to cancel your contract, such as a mobile phone contract, you must write to your supplier within the cooling-off period to tell them you want to cancel.
If you're close to the end of your cooling-off period, you'd be better sending an email. If you were given a cancellation form when you signed your contract, you can use that.
Otherwise, you must clearly outline your intention to cancel your agreement in the letter or email that you write.
2 Record all correspondence
Keep a copy of all letters and emails you send to the supplier of your contract.
As long as you send your cancellation notice to your service provider before the end of the cooling-off period, it doesn't matter when it's received.
If you're sending a letter in the post, be sure to send it recorded delivery. If you send an email, make sure you keep a copy of the email.
You don't need a reason to cancel your contract. If you've paid a deposit ask for it to be returned.
3 Escalate your complaint
If the company refuses to let you cancel or refuses to refund your deposit, write again stating that you're legally entitled to cancel within the cooling-off period and get at least some of your money back.
Warn the supplier that if it continues to refuse to send your refund, you'll have to consider taking court action.
Tell the supplier that you'll also report it to your local Trading Standards department.
4 Act within the cooling-off period
If you want to cancel a credit agreement, the Consumer Credit Act gives you a 14-day cooling-off period to cancel the agreement.
If you entered into the contract at home, your place of work or during an excursion from 13 June 2014, you have 14 calendar days to cancel the contract under the Consumer Contracts Regulations.
This is an extension of the Doorstep Selling Regulations, which cover the period before 13 June 2014, which gives you seven working days.
If you contract for a service over the phone or online, the cooling-off period starts the day after you agree to go ahead with the service.
Cite the relevant legislation in all your correspondence with the trader when explaining you wish to cancel your contract.
If you're looking to cancel your mobile phone contract early, take a look at our guide.