You might have heard that once you sign a contract, you're stuck with it. Well, it's true. You're not usually allowed to cancel a contract after you've signed it. Cancelling a contract is very hard, but it is possible in some situations, as we'll see below.
What Is a Contract?
Did you know that you make contracts every day? For example, when you buy something at a dépanneur, ride the bus or use your cellphone, you are making a contract. Contracts let you buy things and receive services. It's very simple when both sides keep their promises. But if you run into a problem, you have to go back to your original agreement - the contract.
A contract can be made in two ways:
- in writing, for example, you sign a contract for a new cellphone, or
- verbally, for example, you ask your barber to cut your hair and then you must pay him.
A contract can be for a short time (a haircut) or for several months (a gym membership).
Making a Contract When You're Under 18
You can make a contract even if you're under 18, as long as the contract is for your basic needs. To know what your "basic needs" are, the law looks at your age and level of maturity. It all depends on your personal situation.
For example, in some cases buying a motorized scooter might be considered too big of a purchase if you're under 18. In other situations, it might be allowed. If there's a problem, a judge might have to decide whether a purchase was made to meet a basic need.
Remember, you must respect all contracts you make. However, the law protects you when you're under 18 and might let you cancel a contract in some situations.
The Law Protects You When You're Under 18
You might be able to cancel a contract or get a refund for something you bought, but only if there is a big imbalance between you and the seller. This means that the seller had an unfair advantage over you.
You and your parents can try to cancel the contract by talking to the seller. If the seller refuses, you can go to court and ask the judge to cancel it or reduce the price. The judge will have to decide whether the seller had an unfair advantage over you.
This article explains in a general way the law that applies in Quebec. This article is not a legal opinion or legal advice. To find out the specific rules for your situation, consult a lawyer or notary.