Doorstep callingIf you are a doorstep seller or a doorstep buyer, read on to find out your rights.

Doorstep sales your rights as a consumer

If you purchase goods or services from a doorstep seller that cost more than £42, then the trader is required by law to provide a written copy of your cancellation rights (known as the model cancellation form). This should explain your rights to cancel the contract at the time that the contract is made.  These cancellation rights enable the consumer to cancel the agreement for fourteen days after the contract has been made. If a trader fails to provide you with a written notice then they may be deemed to be in ‘breach of contract’ which could mean that the consumer seeks an appropriate remedy but the trader will also be deemed to have committed a criminal offence.

Be wary of salespeople cold-calling offering roofing, gardening, cleansing or driveway work as they may be bogus callers. If you receive a call of this nature call the citizens advice consumer service immediately on 08454 04 05 06.  

Doorstep selling your duties as a trader

If you have sold goods or services over a doorstep that cost in excess of £42, you must give written notice (referred to as the model cancellation form) of a fourteen day cooling off period to the consumer.  The cancellation period of 14 days will start after the contract has been made.  A notice of the right to cancel must be dated and provided to the customer at the time that the contract is made. You are also under an obligation to provide amongst other things comprehensive details on your business identity, the service or goods provided (please see links at the end to read more about what you need to provide). There are some exceptions on the information you have to provide for repair or maintenance contracts under £170.

For traders, these Regulations apply to any contract where goods or services costing over £42 are supplied to a consumer.  The Regulations set the cooling off period to fourteen days  This period commences when the contract is made. A notice of the right to cancel (known as the model cancellation form) in a durable medium must be given to the customer at the time that the contract is made. 

FAQs

I want to sell to consumers in their own homes or I work in home improvements, double glazing, etc and I need to visit consumers in order to provide them with a quote, what law applies to me?

The Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 places obligations on businesses to supply certain key pieces of information relating to the goods or services they are supplying as well being under a legal obligation to provide the consumer with details of their right to a fourteen cancel period in writing in a durable medium. As mentioned above you will also need to comply and be aware of the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008 (a general duty to trade fairly), the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (provide services with reasonable care and skill), the Companies Act 2006 and the Provision of Services Regulations 2009 (information on your business identity).

What is a durable medium?

It must be on paper unless the consumer expressly agrees to it being in another medium (e.g. email).

What are the consequences of not providing a model cancellation form?

Failure to provide a notice of the right to cancel to your customers is a criminal offence.

There are other laws and regulations that can directly apply to sales made at the doorstep, in particular The Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008, the Supply of Goods and Services Act 1982 (as amended), the Fraud Act 2006 and the Companies Act 2006.

The consumer wants the work to start now, do I have to wait fourteen days before I can begin?

No if the consumer agrees to this expressly in writing.

The consumer agreed the work to start within the fourteen period but now wants to cancel, what can I do?

Where a service has been started within the cancellation period at the express request of the consumer, but has not been completed, the consumer still has the right to cancel. However, the consumer will have to pay for the service used during the time up to when they informed you of their decision to cancel. 

Are there any exceptions?

Contracts under £42, for food and drink, or those delivered by regular roundsmen are exempted amongst others. Additionally, if the consumer cancels agreed work that has commenced within the cooling off period, then the consumer will still have to pay for the work carried out up to the point of cancellation providing that they agreed in writing for the service to start within the cancellation period.

Where can I get more Doorstep Selling Guidance for Business?

At the Department for Business Innovations and Skills

Related pages and documents

 

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