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The Legal aspects of doorstep selling

Legal aspects of doorstep selling

If you try and sell products worth (including VAT) over £42 to customers at their home or place of work, you must abide by certain regulations.

Doorstep selling is regulated by the Consumer Contracts (Information, Cancellation and Additional Charges) Regulations 2013. The main protection for consumers is the right to cancel a contract within a “cooling off period.” This cooling off period is 14 calendar days. If a customer decides to take advantage of this right to cancel, you must refund their money or any deposit which they have paid, subject to various exceptions.

As a trader engaging in doorstep sales, you must inform your customers of their right to cancel the contract. Failure to do so can lead to an extension of the cooling off period to 12 months. Furthermore, it is a criminal offence to fail to provide notice of the right to cancel and your business can be fined up to £5,000.

If you sell goods or services for over £42 (including VAT) at the home or in the workplace of a customer, this is covered by the regulations, as is the case where you sell to one person in the home of another or on an excursion away from your business premises. The regulations also apply if a customer makes an offer subsequent to such an occasion.

Certain types of doorstep sales are not covered by the regulations, including:

• goods or services being sold which cost £42 (inluding VAT) or under
• where the sales relate to building, buying or renting of property
• the sale of groceries and other things delivered regularly to a home or workplace by “roundsmen” such as milkmen
• where the sales involve certain catalogue orders, where the catalogue is left with the customer and they have the right to return the goods
• where the sales pertain to insurance contracts
• where the sales pertain to investment agreements
• where the sales pertain to certain types of credit agreement, such as mortgages.

A variety of documents related to doorstep selling can be downloaded from our Business Documents Folder. Click on a heading under "Related Documents" below for further information.

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