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Buying at your doorstep

A wide range of goods and services are sold to people at their front door. This can include cosmetics and cleaning materials. Many traders are honest and genuine. However, some are not and can be extremely persuasive. There have been cases where builders have knocked on a door uninvited to say that emergency repairs are needed to be done on a home when this is not true.

The law recognises that customers can be at a disadvantage when a purchase is made away from trade premises. This might be when a sales person comes to your home, your place of work or approaches you in the street or shopping centre. The law calls these “off-premises sales”. 

For most off premises purchases, if the goods or services you have bought or ordered are above the value of £42, you have a fourteen day cooling off period to change your mind. 

The seller must tell you in writing that you can cancel the contract. If you are not given this information in writing the trader may not be able to hold you to anything in the contract. The trader may also be guilty of a criminal offence. 

Various organisations have produced a range of information on doorstep selling, including advice on protecting vulnerable people from illegal traders. These can be found by clicking on the useful web site links on the right. 

Not sure? Don’t open the door.

Report information about door step crime to Trading Standards

Trading Standards Service
Public Protection Division
Islington Council
222 Upper Street
N1 1XR
Tel: 020 7527 3198

Citizens Advice consumer service

Tel: 03454 04 05 06 or click Citizens Advice consumer service.

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