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Does Missouri Law guarantee a 3 day right to return any purchase?

By Attorney William Derek Hux, updated January 15, 2017

You are in a store, patiently waiting to pay for your purchase, when suddenly the customer in front of you raises their voice to the sales clerk -- "WHAT!?! I just purchased this yesterday!!!"

"I understand, but we do not take returns on that item", the sales clerk tries to say. 

The customer loudly interrupts, "But I do not want this anymore! Are you not going to give me my money back???" 

"I am sorry, but we do not take returns on that item," the sales clerk tries to say.

"I KNOW MY RIGHTS!!! I have THREE DAYS to return ANY PURCHASE!!! Where is your MANAGER? Where is the OWNER? I know the LAW!!!", the customer thunders.

You think to yourself that you remember hearing that somewhere --

Yeah, aren't stores required to give you at least 3 days to cancel any purchase and give you a full refund?

NO. That is NOT TRUE. Missouri law does NOT have a 3 day "cooling off" period for any purchase.

It is a common misconception, but the 3 day right to cancel ONLY applies to door-to-door sales. If the seller solicited you, and presented the contract in your home, then you have the right to cancel that contract within 3 business days. (RSMo 407.705)

This is important -- When you buy something, you have no "right to return" and no "right to cancel". If you are anywhere other than inside your home, the merchant DOES NOT HAVE TO allow you to return of something you purchased. The merchant DOES NOT HAVE TO cancel a contract you signed simply because you changed your mind, or because you cannot afford the payment you agreed to, or because you found a better deal somewhere else. 

The purchase price is irrelevant. Whether the item is $50 or $50,000, it does not change this discussion in any way. There is NO Missouri law which gives a buyer the right to return a car or other large purchase for a full or partial refund. 

In the age of Wal-Mart, we have all become accustomed to liberal return policies. Some people's modern shopping habits even count on making returns. (example - a customer will purchase more than they know they need with the expectation of returning items they decide not to keep) However, you should understand that accepting your return or cancellation is up to that individual merchant, it is not a right. No store is required to give you your money back because you changed your mind or discovered later that you made a bad purchase. The individual merchant is the one who is allowing you to return, exchange, or cancel because they want to keep you as a happy future customer.

Here we are talking about rights guaranteed by Missouri law. For merchants who have a posted return or cancellation policy, that policy is an implied part of any contract made with a customer. A merchant who then refuses a return which is in compliance with that policy would be in "breach of contract" and liable for damages.

This is what you need to know: 

For anything you buy from a store, you have no right to return guaranteed by Missouri law. 

Be smart about your purchases. Understand the terms of your deal before you sign the contract or swipe your card. 

Derek Hux - Missouri Attorney

Hux Law

If you have any questions, comments, or suggestions on how to make this article better, feel free to email me at

[last updated 01/15/2017 - originally posted 03/01/2012]