Doorstep Selling Regulations Revised

Door to Door Salesman

Changes to regulations on doorstep selling come into effect from 1 October, giving customers the right to a seven–day cooling off period following a purchase from doorstep sellers.

The regulations, which have now been approved by Parliament, replace the previous rules under which cancellation rights were only effective if a trader’s visit was not pre–arranged.

Door to Door Salesman

Government–backed advice service Consumer Direct received 8,747 complaints about unsolicited doorstep selling in 2007, accounting for a total of £16.5 million in sales. Of the above complaints, 3,814 were related to home maintenance and improvement products.

The revised regulations will apply to all contracts with a total payment of more than £35 and set the cooling off period to a minimum of seven calendar days. Cancellation rights must now be clearly and prominently displayed in any written contract or provided in writing if there is no written contract.

The revisions are part of a wider government initiative to crack down on rogue traders. They also aim to simplify the conditions governing doorstep selling by introducing a single contract rather than separate ones for solicited and unsolicited sales.

Chris Conway, spokesperson for the Forum of Private Business (FPB) said:

“We welcome the new regulations such as the seven–day cooling off period and the need to clearly display cancellation information. However in clamping down on rogue traders, care must be taken to ensure that legitimate companies selling legally are not caught up.”

The Government will be writing to companies soon to raise awareness of the new rules. Businesses will need to make changes to their sales contracts to comply with the law. Those that fail to comply with the regulations would not be able to enforce their contracts and may be investigated by Trading Standards, which could end in prosecution and fines

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