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 £35, then the trader is required by law to provide a written copy of your cancellation rights. This should explain your rights to cancel the contract at the time that the contract is made.  These cancellation rights enable the consumer/purchaser to cancel the agreement within seven days of that agreement. If a trader fails to provide you with a written notice, the agreement is not only null and void, but the trader will also be deemed to have committed a criminal offence.

Doorstep selling your duties as a trader

If you have sold goods or services over a doorstep that cost in excess of £35, you must give written notice of a seven days cooling off period to the consumer.  The notice period will commence on the day that the cancellation rights document is received by the consumer.  A notice of the right to cancel must be dated and provided to the customer at the time that the contract is made. It must also contain certain specified information.

For traders, these Regulations apply to any contract where goods or services costing over £35 are supplied to a consumer.  The Regulations set the cooling off period to seven days.  This period commences on the day that the cancellation notice is received by the consumer. A notice of the right to cancel must be dated and given to the customer at the time that the contract is made and must contain certain specified information. An example of a notice of the right to cancel can be found in the attached Appendix A.

What are the consequences of not complying?

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 Business Names Act 1985.

Are there any exceptions?

Contracts under £35, for food and drink, or those delivered by regular roundsmen and/or insurance contracts are not protected by legislation. 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. This includes advertising, personalised and perishable goods.

Where can I get more Doorstep Selling Guidance for Business?

At the Department for Business Innovations and Skills.

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