Most of us have had a knock on our door only to open it up to a salesperson.
Doorstep selling, often referred to as ‘cold calling’, is still popular in the UK but it is regulated, and sellers must ensure that all sales they make comply with the rules, so that people aren't pushed into buying something they don't need or want.
There is no law against traders going from door to door to drum up business.
But they must follow the rules that apply to doorstep selling, otherwise they would be breaking the law.
A Stockport-based business found this out the hard way, as they lost their consumer credit license after using aggressive selling techniques to sell burglar alarms and fire alarms.
This should serve as a warning to other businesses that are perhaps not aware of the rules with regard to doorstep selling.
Doorstep selling refers to a salesperson making an unsolicited visit for the first time at your home to sell you goods or services face-to-face.
Currently, in the UK, there is no law to prevent doorstep selling.
All traders must, however, comply with the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013 or face prosecution by Trading Standards. The new Regulations have replaced the Doorstep Selling Regulations and are applicable for all doorstep sales made on, or after, 13 June 2014.
2. Pre-Contract Information
Firstly the law states that the person who is selling a service or product must carry appropriate identification with them. This should have their name on it and also the name of the company they are working for.
Secondly, they must be clear that they are a salesperson and hope to get a sale from their door to door activities.
If they do not they are breaking the law.
According to the GOV.UK website, before an order is placed
The contractor must provide you with the following information:
The information must be easy to understand and on paper, in an email or in a form that the customer can save for future reference.
3. Cancellation and Returns
The Regulations give you, as a consumer, an extended ‘cooling-off’ period for distance and off-business premises contracts of up to 14 calendar days after delivery (for goods) or conclusion of the contract (for services).
The cancellation period is extended to 12 months if the trader has not provided appropriate pre-contract information. This 12-month period can be reduced to 14 days, once the failure is corrected.
You don’t need to give a reason for cancelling.
You also have the right to cancel any ancillary contracts. An ancillary contract can be for goods or services relating to the main contract. It can be either provided by the trader or provided by a third party as a result of an arrangement made by the trader. (An example of an ancillary contract might be an extended warranty on the product).
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