To protect the buyer, and give them a little more comfort behind the fairly toothless ‘caveat emptor’, it’s customary for the buyer to have a cooling off notice, or period, usually of 14 days.

Common in industries like financial services, it’s the 2 weeks’ grace during which we can consider our purchase, read the small print if we’re interested, and duck out of the contract if we felt unduly pressured into the sale.

The other day I was negotiating new mobile telephony contracts for my wife and I. This involved us upgrading both our package and our devices. I wanted to insure our swanky new devices – well, they are new devices and new to us, but not the latest models, as we’re perfectly happy being a release or 2 behind the bleeding edge – and was surprised to know that even though the start date of the insurance was day 1, I wasn’t covered and so wouldn’t be able to make any claim until day 15.

This is effectively the seller’s cooling off notice. It was also a major inconvenience to me as I was about to go on an international trip and didn’t want to make it, uninsured, with my new phone. I left the new phone at home.

The seller’s cooling off notice is the caveat vendor to our caveat emptor, but with more teeth I think.