Buy wisely and safely on your doorstep. Many
people who sell things on the doorstep are legitimate traders, but
unfortunately some aren’t. Rogue traders may use illegal pressure
selling tactics to make people buy and they can ignore their legal
rights. The Office of Fair Trading has developed ten top tips to
help you buy safely and with confidence on your doorstep – and to
help you say ‘no’ when you need to.
Ten Top Tips
1. Don’t sign on the spot
Don’t feel pressured to agree on the spot- if
you are interested in what they are selling, you can ask them to
come back at another time that is more convenient for you, maybe
when you have someone else with you or you’ve shopped around.
2. Check the trader’s
Always ask for an identity card and look up the
organisation to check the salesperson’s identity is genuine. Don’t
use the number on their card. Check if the trader is a member of a
reputable trade body, like the Direct Selling Association, whose
members should ensure their salespeople sell responsibly.
3. Be wary of special offers or warnings
about your home
Don't get taken in by sales banter or high
pressure selling techniques. Don’t be hurried into a decision even
if there is a discount. The discount might be on a price that is
too high in the first place.
4. Always shop around for the best
Check with other companies offering the same
product first. Make sure the price and product is right for
5. Read the small print
Always read documents carefully before you sign
them and make sure you fully understand your rights. It’s best to
ask salespeople to call back so you can do this in your own time –
don’t be rushed into signing before you feel ready.
6. Double check the facts
Make sure you fully understand the total costs
of the transaction – including estimates, delivery and installation
and the arrangements for after-sales servicing, such as the
guarantees or warranties. Only agree to make a purchase once you’re
entirely satisfied that the transaction is acceptable.
7. Talk to someone you trust for a
Take the time to talk to someone you trust – for
example your family, a friend or carer – before you sign
8. Don’t hand over a cash
Avoid handing over money before work is started.
A reliable trader will never ask you to do this (even if they need
materials). Never agree to go with a trader to the bank to take
9. Think very carefully before you agree
to a trader starting any work straight away
If you agree to have any work done or goods
delivered within the seven day cooling-off period, you may have to
pay if you later change your mind and cancel the contract.
10. Trust your instincts
If it sounds too good to be true, it probably
And finally ... it’s OK to say
Remember it’s your doorstep and your decision.
If you feel pressured for any reason ask the person to leave.
Know Your Rights
A Quick Guide: your rights when buying
on the doorstep or in the home
Doorstep selling is when a salesperson sells you
goods or services in your home or on your doorstep. This Quick
Guide explains people’s rights when they agree to spend more than
£35 with a trader in their home or on their doorstep. These rights
apply even if you invite someone into your home.
Written cancellation notice
By law the trader must give you a written
cancellation notice at the time you buy, telling you about your
right to cancel (even if there is no written contract). If you
don’t get a cancellation notice, there’s no binding contract
between you and the trader and you don’t have to go through with
Seven day cooling off
You usually have a cooling-off period of seven
days to change your mind and cancel.
The cooling-off period starts on the day you get
the cancellation notice. If you cancel within the seven days you
won’t owe anything and you should get back any money you have
already paid (including a deposit).
Deciding to cancel
If you do decide to cancel the contract you must
let the trader know in writing within seven days of receiving the
cancellation notice. When cancelling, keep a copy of your letter or
email as proof of cancellation. If you send your letter by post,
get proof of postage as well. If you receive goods during the
cooling-off period and you didn’t agree to this in writing, you
don’t have to pay anything if you cancel. Keep the goods safe and
ask the trader to collect them. The trader should not insist that
you pay any money.
Starting work or delivering goods within
the cooling-off period
If you are buying services or certain types of
goods (e.g. customised goods) you can agree in writing for work to
start or goods to be delivered during the cooling-off period. If
you have agreed this in writing then you
can still cancel within seven days, but you may
have to pay the trader something (usually a reasonable amount).
For further information,
or call the Citizens Advice consumer
helpline on 0845 04 05 06