Not a trial period.

In germany - and many european countries - certain contracts have a period during which one of the signatory partners (mostly: private people) can decide that no, the contract was a bad idea and they want to step away from it.

Is there an english term for this period? Working on an computer system with english documentation and - I need a decent term for this.

  • 1
    "Cooling-off period" link – BillJ Mar 22 '18 at 17:03
  • @BillJ I was going to post that as and answer, Bill. I think you should do that. I'm not 100% sure that the term is used in the US, though. It might be UK-specific. – BoldBen Mar 22 '18 at 17:10
  • It may be UK specific, but then this may be based on this being a EU legal requirement for consumer protection. According to google and Wikipedia (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cooling-off_period_(consumer_rights)) this is exactly what I was referring to. Please add this as an answer. – TomTom Mar 22 '18 at 17:17
  • Agreed - this is definitely the cooling-off period, not the notice period. – JonLarby Mar 22 '18 at 17:17
  • For real estate purchases, many areas in the US have mandated due diligence periods – Phil Sweet Mar 22 '18 at 19:42

One common term in the UK is "cooling-off period".


  • And that actually is the answer because this is exactly the legal framework I need to actually track in my software. Thanks. – TomTom Mar 22 '18 at 17:24
  • That's the term I would use in the US, too. BillJ, I think your answer would be improved by picking a definition and citing it, rather than linking to a Google search. – 1006a Mar 22 '18 at 17:30
  • In the U.S. it is called the "cooling-off" rule. Here's a link to the rule as stated by the Federal Trade Commission: ftc.gov/system/files/documents/federal_register_notices/2015/01/… – user26732 Mar 22 '18 at 21:43

the right of rescission [free dict.com][1]

(law) the act of rescinding; the cancellation of a contract and the return of the parties to the positions they would have had if the contract had not been made; "recission may be brought about by decree

[1]: https://www.thefreedictionary.com/recission

Notice period, according to Cambridge Dictionary

"the period between the time that you are told about something and the time that it must happen or be done"1

If you notify you want to end the contract during that period, you give notice, according to ODO:

Notice is "A formal declaration of one's intention to end an agreement, typically one concerning employment or tenancy, at a specified time."2


1 Notice period Meaning in the Cambridge English Dictionary. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2018, from https://dictionary.cambridge.org/dictionary/english/notice-period

2 Notice | Definition of notice in English by Oxford Dictionaries. (n.d.). Retrieved March 22, 2018, from https://en.oxforddictionaries.com/definition/notice

Example from ODO:

"‘Although Fettis is technically a free agent, players are supposed to give 14 days notice of their intention to leave.’"2

Note that this is mostly used for employer-employee contracts. For example, you give notice you will quit your job (or your employer gives you notice you will no longer have a job from some data in the future).

  • To my understanding Notice is for saying "I cancel". As lbf pointed out - it is more a rewcission. Like the contract never was signed. The agreement is not ended (like when you cancel a lease). – TomTom Mar 22 '18 at 17:16
  • @TomTom you're right, my word fits better when referring to cancelling some recurring thing , for example a subscription. In your case you might also call the action an annulment (but annulment period doesn't seem to be a thing). – JJJ Mar 22 '18 at 17:32
  • That is because this specific anullment right is actually coined cooling off period in the law that governs is ;) Thanks for your participation. – TomTom Mar 22 '18 at 17:34

Recession Period. Here in America (most if not all states) provide a "Precision Period", but I believe it varies from state to state. In Florida, USA if a contract is signed at /in your residence the law provides a 3 day recession period. Otherwise check the fine print in the contract itself. If should be answered there. If not write it in manually and have both all parties initial it. In any case don't sign anything without knowing the answer. G.

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