Selling Door to Door
Although it is not as common as it once was, door to door selling is still used by a number of businesses as a way to sell products and services. Businesses may employ sales representatives specifically for door to door selling and their task will be to visit residential properties to sell products.
Commonly known as unsolicited door step selling, the sales representatives have not been invited to the homes that they visit. There are other instances of door step selling whereby the business conducts cold calling first to secure appointments and this is followed up by a visit from a sales representative.
When products and services are sold through door step selling, they are managed under the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumers Home or Place of Work Regulations 2008. These regulations are in place for a business who enters into a contract with a consumer at their home or workplace.
These regulations also incorporate contracts that are made at places other than the customers home such as if they go on an excursion organised by a business. Selling can also take place in the workplace and as a result, the regulations cover workplaces too.
Businesses may demonstrate certain products or services at places of work or trade shows. All of these situations are covered by the regulations. The legislation covers the cancellation of contracts and cooling off periods for any consumer who may enter into one of these contracts.
Cooling Off Periods
It is helpful to understand what is meant by a cooling off period. When you enter into a contract you have a certain period of time after you sign the contract to change your mind. During the cooling off period you will be able to cancel the contract no questions asked and you will not incur any fees for cancellation.
Typically the cooling off period is 7 days and this is the minimum that businesses can offer. Under the Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work Etc. Regulations 2008, the contract must be for a minimum of £35. Contracts below this level are not covered.
The regulations state that there is a specific right to cancel and this must be provided in the terms and conditions when the consumer enters into the contract. Terms and conditions should be clear and unambiguous, specifically outlining the consumers right to cancel and what the cooling off period is.
If a business or their representative fails to inform you as the consumer of your rights to cancel, this is an offence under the regulations and the business may face sanctions as a result. If found guilty of the offence, the maximum penalty is a fine of £5,000.
There are certain contracts which aren’t covered by the regulations. In Schedule 3 there are various types of contracts that are excluded from the legislation. The exclusions that apply include a contract for the construction, sale or rental of fixed property or a contract that contains rights relating to property.
The regulations are applicable to all immovable property unless the contract is created for:
- The development of extensions, conservatories, patios or driveways
- The supply of goods or their installation into the property
- The repair, improvement or refurbishment of immovable property.
The regulations cannot be applied to tenancy agreements but they can be applied to other forms of legal agreement such as a rent guarantee or an agreement that has been made between an estate agent and landlord.
About the author:
This article was written by a member of the Expert Answers legal advice team and posted by Lloyd Barrett. Expert Answers provides online legal advice on all aspects of UK Law to users in the United Kingdom.