Doorstep Selling: Your Right to Cancel

Doorstep Selling: Your Right to Cancel post image

Until recently, the Doorstep Selling Regulations only covered contracts which were made in the consumer’s home or place of work as a result of a cold call or an unsolicited visit. New Regulations (The Cancellation of Contracts made in a Consumer’s Home or Place of Work etc Regulations 2008) have recently come into force which extend these rights for all contracts over £35.00, irrespective of whether they were made through unsolicited or pre-arranged visits with the trader or rep. The Regulations aim to protect anyone who may have entered into an agreement as a result of undue pressure, by allowing you a cooling off period of 7 calendar days during which time you have the right to cancel. Although, there is another advantage in that it also enables you to go away and compare alternatives.

You may also invoke your rights under these regulations if you have offered to buy something or commission a service from at a presentation of some kind, where business is taking place away from the organisation’s usual business premises. Incidentally, this includes signing up for a timeshare in the resort itself, where this is away from the offices of the timeshare company. It is also the case even when contracts are concluded at a later date, back at the trader’s shop of office – the fact that you have made your offer away from here is the important thing.

The Seller’s Obligations

With any contract or sale made in this way, you must be sure you have been presented with clear written notice of your 7 day right to cancel, at or before the time the contract is made. If you have not, the contract is legally unenforceable, even if a deposit has been paid. This notice, which cannot be in the form of small print, or otherwise disguised, must also provide a cancellation form and advise you on how and to whom a notice of cancellation is to be made. Any related credit agreements will also be cancelled. .

Where you have no cooling off period

If you are commissioning a service and work starts before the end of the 7 days, your cooling off period also comes to an end. But (and this is a very big but!), you must have been advised in writing and you must have agreed to it before the work commenced. If no notice was provided, the company may have acted unlawfully.

Contracts for certain goods and services do not have a cooling off period, even though they were concluded at your home or place of work.

  • Goods and services relating to a funeral
  • Goods which are personalised or made to a personal specification
  • Perishable goods, or those which are consumer buy their use and cannot be returned
  • Goods supplied to meet an emergency
  • Newspapers, periodicals or magazines
  • Advertising
  • Goods whose price is dependent on fluctuations in financial markets
  • The supply of goods to meet an emergency

How to cancel

Similar to the Distance Selling Regulations, you are able to cancel the contract at any time within 7 days from the time the written notice (of your right to cancel) was given to you by the trader. You can either use the cancellation form which should have been provided, or a simple written notice, as long as it is clear of your intentions. Emails are now recognised forms of written notice. With regard to sending your notice to cancel by post, as long as it has been posted before the end of the 7 days, it doesn’t matter when it is actually received. For this reason, it is always advisable to send it recorded delivery.


Leave a Comment

48 comments… add one

  • alison 27 November, 3:47 pm

    this article is very helpful but please could you tell me if this includes a right to claim back deposit i have already paid?
    thank you

    Reply
  • Catriona 2 December, 12:51 am

    Alison, You have the right to claim back 100% of the monies paid

    Reply
  • Hannah 16 December, 3:21 pm

    Does this include contracts with estate agents to sell my house? I’ve read that these new regulations do not apply to contracts for the sale of property?
    Thanks

    Reply
  • chris 22 December, 5:43 pm

    I paid deposit on barclaycard – i cancelled with the 7 day cooling off period – i notifed barclaycard also but todate the deposit has not been returned. Barclaycard have place the amount in dispute can you confirm I am no longer liable if all parties were notified by phone and in writing within 7 days from visit date?

    Reply
  • Catriona 22 December, 11:14 pm

    Hannah, you are correct, this legislation does not apply to the sale of property, although there is lots of other legislation which applies to estate agents.

    Reply
  • Catriona 23 December, 12:30 am

    Chris, if this is a doorstep selling contract? If it is, and the work has not been carried out, you can cancel at any time within 7 days and get back all monies paid – including your deposit. Are Barclaycard aware that this is a doorstep selling contract?

    Reply
  • chris 23 December, 10:33 am

    yes barclaycard are aware it was a cold call doorstep sale but the customer service people dont seem to know consumer law. also i rang the solar panel co. involved who told me they would send ME a cheque in theNew Year I said no (in case it bounces) and that my contract is with Barclaycard and they must refund to barclaycard. This enquiry is on behalf of my father who is 86 and I found the paperwork. Also he was never given a cancellation form with contract, neither does contract say anywhere right to cancel in 7 days – all things i believe designed to mislead the customer who may not be aware of their rights.
    i challenged the co. who said the salesman had used an old contract???I have e mailed also watchdog about the co.
    What should i tell barclaycard they must do?

    Reply
  • Catriona 23 December, 5:52 pm

    Chris, you are right, although you would expect Barclaycard to know. Under the regs you must have your money back within 30 days. The fact that you were not presented with the requisite information during the visit renders the contract legally unenforceable. Therefore you could actually get the work done, not pay them a penny and there would be nothing they could do about it.

    Reply
  • Aaron 13 March, 10:21 am

    Do these regulations cover Conditional Fee Agreements with Solicitors (signed at home)?

    Reply
    • Derek 21 March, 2:12 pm

      The perceived wisdom is that they probably do, although lawyers have only just appreciated that.

      The standard CFA does not have a “cooling off” period. Given that the purpose of the agreement is that the consumer does not pay for the service rendered, and that there are considerable controls on solicitors, one wonders what the point is.

      Reply
  • Catriona 13 March, 11:23 am

    Aaron, not 100% sure, although one of the clauses in schedule 3 (excepted contracts) says:

    Any agreement the making or performance of which by either party constitutes a relevant regulated activity.

    A cancellable agreement means any contract which has its own separate cooling off period, such as financial products, credit etc. I’m not sure which legislation covers CFAs I’m afraid.

    Reply
  • Shrub 21 March, 7:28 pm

    If I have paid a deposit but was never given notice of my right to cancel, and I signed the contract and handed over the deposit 3 weeks ago, how can I claim back my deposit? (I have missed the 7 day cooling off period obviously, but was never given the notice)

    Reply
  • Catriona 24 March, 10:39 pm

    Shrub, If your cooling off information has not been delivered to you, then not only is the trader guilty of an offence but the agreement is also unenforceable. Therefore you have the right to your deposit back. You are within your rights to take this matter to the enforcement authorities if the trader does not comply – this might give you some leverage.

    Reply
  • Dino 7 April, 12:42 pm

    Hi i had a guy come around from GKR Karate last night and after a 30 min chat i agreed to pay £49 for my 2 children to start lessons for 4 months. Since then my wife has found out that we can get them cheaper closer with another club.

    I paid by cheque and understand it will cost me £10 to cancel it but i have emailled the guy and asked for the cheque to be returned. Am i covered by law I have looke but cannot find a cooling off period mentioned in the pack.

    Thanks in advance

    Dino

    Reply
  • Catriona 10 April, 10:20 pm

    Dino, Under the new doorstep selling regs you have a cooling off period of 7 days, and the Karate club cannot charge you a cancellation fee. By law you must be supplied with your cancellation rights (including a cancellation form). Failure to do is not only unlawful but makes the transaction legally unenforceable.

    Reply
  • Steve 3 March, 12:38 pm

    In the thread above from Catriaon on 23 December, it says money must be refunded under the regs within 30 days. Please can you quote the specific clause and regualtion you are referring to, as I cannot find this timescale anywhere. Thanks

    Reply
  • Veronica 22 March, 2:58 pm

    A neighbour of my sisters who is in his early 80s and very deaf answered the door to a cocky young fellow promoting Sky. He managed to convince the old man that he would be better off with Sky than BT and the freeview he was using and he signed up, However, when he got his bank statement he had had a payment of £50+ and another neighbour checked and he was signed up for the full package inc phone and internet, he doesn’t have a computer! He cannot afford this on his pension but as he has signed for this we are not sure what can be done. The same saleman went to my sister’s house and she had to literally shut the door on him as he wouldn’t let her get a word in so an elderly almost deaf person wouldn’t have stood a chance. Has anybody got any advice please>

    Reply
  • Peter Biddiscombe 7 April, 7:25 pm

    I was visited by a salesman, on request. After all the usual sales talk, an offer of 10% off, followed by a further reduction was made(pressure). Measurements were taken but we were told that a qualified measuring Rep would call before any work commenced.I signed the sales agreement in two places. Three days later we decided to cancel and informed the company by telephone,2 emails and the cancellation slip from the sales agreement by post. The Company now say that we cannot have any repayment for at least 28 days and that I will have to pay a reasonable amount for the goods and services provided – BUT No goods or services have been provided. At no time did the salesman explain the cooling off period or what it may involve. The sum involved is no small amount and we need the money to meet other requirements. Can they do this?

    Reply
  • Peter Biddiscombe 7 April, 7:30 pm

    I was visited by a salesman, on request. After all the usual sales talk, an offer of 10% off, followed by a further reduction was made(pressure). Measurements were taken but we were told that a qualified measuring Rep would call before any work commenced.I signed the sales agreement in two places. Three days later we decided to cancel and informed the company by telephone,2 emails and the cancellation slip from the sales agreement by post. The Company now say that we cannot have any repayment for at least 28 days and that I will have to pay a reasonable amount for the goods and services provided – BUT No goods or services have been provided. At no time did the salesman explain the cooling off period or what it may involve. The sum involved is no small amount and we need the money to meet other requirements. Can they do this?

    Reply

    Reply
  • hugh 30 May, 9:59 am

    Hullo,

    Can you help. I was cold called (I never reply to cold calls) but this one go through. It was for a burglar alarm system. We were visited and agreed under some pressure to complete agreement forms to have a monitored system installed. The fitter arrived at 0900 the following morning.
    THe system is installed, yesterday, and now I am becoming angry that I have been bullied into accepting a system that requires an on going contract and I want to back out of the agreement. Both my wife and I feel upset by the way we were pressured into the purchase and hurried by the installation plan. I propose to stop the cheque today.
    Am I within my rights? I shall write to the company by recorded mail also.

    Reply
    • Sarah Lowe 19 August, 4:23 pm

      Hugh,
      Interested to see your note as the same thing has just happened to my mother whilst I was away – was it by any chance SAS fire and Security? Unfortunately, although we are within the 7 days the cheque has probably been cleared. Did you have a succcessful outcome?

      Reply
  • Joe 25 June, 12:49 am

    I have signed an agreement to buy double glazing but have decided to cancel the contract with in the seven days cancellation period. When I phoned the company (Weatherseal) I was informed that my cheque had been cashed and it would take 30 days to process a refund. I contacted my bank and they said the cheque was currently being processed and agreed to stop the payment but at a cost of £10. I instructed my bank to stop the cheque as I did not feel confident the double glazing company would refund my deposit promptly. Should the double glazing company have processed my cheque before the end of the 7 day cooling off period? Can I ask the double glazing company to compensate me for the £10 fee incurred? Is there any other action that you would recommend?

    Reply
  • GAZ 8 July, 9:35 pm

    my mother hired a stair lift which was fitted and signed a contract in her home for 12 months supply & survice. she then died 3 days later.
    no money was given but trader wants his money for full 12 month contract costing £350.
    question – contract showes no mention of The right to cancel
    is he breaking the oct 2008 regulations

    Reply
  • Sally 13 July, 11:12 pm

    I signed an agreement in October last year with Home Learning College for a course costing £1364. I was visited at home by a doorstep salesman and pressurised into signing the contract, I wasn’t informed of the cooling off period and received no cancellation slip. I was contacted by the company and offered 15% off if I paid immediately, which I did, borrowing money from family. As I have already paid in full is there any chance of me getting the money back?

    Reply
  • LES 3 August, 11:49 pm

    hi there my father in law had a cold sale rep call in for niagara therapy
    was talked into buying a blenheim chair cost of £5700 he paid a deposit of £1,330 after talking to his family a week later and looking into his finances
    he cant afford it we were about 4 days over the 7 day cancellation period rang up and wrote to them they order could be cancelled but no refund will be payed
    any ideas

    Reply
  • gez 11 October, 11:42 pm

    My elderly aunt was visited at home by a salesman from Niagra trying to sell her a chair for £3500, she didnt want one and didnt have anywhere to put one anyway. He went around her house suggesting she got rid of some older furniture to make room for it. Eventually he badgered her into giving him a deposit for £1000 and left her some sort of plug in stand on foot therapy, Not sure why or if it was a free gift or part of the deal, she wasnt given any sort of cancellation form. She phoned him the next day asking to cancel the cheque and did eventually get a cheque sent back for about £330. She has only just told me this and it was a few months ago, is their any form of redress from the company.
    regards
    gez

    Reply
  • Sam 20 February, 8:57 pm

    I signed a very vague agreement with a building company back in November 2009. At the time we were not told about or given written Notice of a our right to cancel.
    It has been brought to our attention that we may be entitled to a full refund of our monies paid to them.
    Please could you advise if this is true?

    Reply
  • Karen 23 February, 7:12 pm

    Does this cover the seller ?
    I was approached by a neighbour asking me to sell him my Van.
    I said no, but he kept coming back each time increasing the money, as he wanted it for his business.

    In the end I said yes ok, he was my neighbour and had a lot on my mind.
    An hour later I felt that I wasn’t happy with selling and felt that I had been bullied into the situation a bit.
    So I contacted him at once and said I would like to decline on selling him my van. A couple of days later, his boss wrote to me saying that I could not cancel we had a binding contract. He has also said that he has already registered the van on the HPI watchlist so that I had to go through with the sale. I had contacted my neighbour in the hour to say I was not comfortable with the sale, so think his action of registering it on this website waspremature. We have not changed money/logbook etc..
    Do I not get a cooling off period by law? Is there anything I can do?

    Reply
  • alan 8 May, 11:59 am

    I signed an advertising contract( with added bonuses) last friday with a `cold caller`and now after reading the small print ( 29 paragraphs) I notice that they state that the deposit is not refundable if I cancel within the 7 days. As this is sunday I doubt if any work has been undertaken already.
    Are they entitled not to refund my deposit if I email them today?

    Reply
  • donna 12 August, 11:35 am

    Can you tell me the door step regulation covers me if i was never informed of my cancellation rights within 7 days.

    I did look at the paper work a couple of days after they came to us, but the only thing they stated if we cancelled was the cost of cancelling to us, which we cant afford therefore left it as was, now mths later where do we stand? They are pursueing a claim

    Reply
  • claire 20 October, 11:42 am

    Hi can you help me … I signed a contract with weatherseal on the 16/8/11 to get new doors put in (door salesman). In that same month they had phoned to say that they would need to charge me another £100 because I need the doors to be red. I said yes but I thought they would send me out another contract to sign to agree to this. 20/10/11 i have not heard from them so decided to phone them and was told that the order hasnt been placed so now I am wondering what i can do due to shody comunication. Does this mean that THEY have broke the contract because they havent updated the contract to say about the £100 extra and do I now have the right to cancel ?

    Reply
  • sonia 31 October, 3:08 pm

    After looking at a new kitchen for my daughter’s flat, we were advised that there was a local designer in our area who would give us a free quote. The cost was way more than we anticipated but after negotiating with Head Office, the designer offered us the Manager’s Discount but at the cost of a refundable £100 to hold the price for 12 months if we wished to go ahead with the order. Now our priorities have changed and we do not want to go ahead but would like the £100 refunded. I called Customer Services and was immediately told that we do have a contract which we cannot cancel and that we should take up advice. I tried explaining the scenario along with the notes written on the paperwork but the agent was quite abrupt and matter of fact (or well rehearsed). I have no other paperwork from this company and wonder what I should do next. Any suggestions?

    Reply
  • Andy 21 November, 11:06 am

    My parents have given £1000 deposit to a company selling adjustable beds. The paperwork clearly includes the 7 day right to cancel.

    However, there is an element of (supposedly) making each bed to customers individual requirements. I am worried the company will try to use that to avoid paying back the deposit.

    I do not live near my parents, but from what they say there doesn’t seem to be anything on the agreement to say that they agree to work starting before the end of the 7 day cooling off period. And to be fair, no suggestion that it has.

    Can anyone advise how they stand under the regulations, in terms of cancelling, and getting their deposit back?

    cheers

    Reply
  • Mary 28 November, 10:07 pm

    My Father of 91 who is going blind and rather confused was doorstepped by an agent fron Sky. He was sold a full package of phone, t.v. and broad band. I recently cancelled his t.v. with Virgin as he can’t see it and he has no computer. He thought he was paying a one off payment and then all his phone calls would be free… He was left with one A4 sheet of paper outling what he was getting. It stated that he should read and understand the extremely small print on the back before signing. There is no way he could have read it himself and I doubt if the agent read it all out to him. There was no mention of a cooling off period, no phone number and the email address was illegible. The money (£90) would be taken from his account within 24hours and the installation would be 4 days later.
    I thought this was a fraud to obtain my father’s bank details but when I phoned Sky they told me it was genuine. I then spent 25mins to get it cancelled. I sent an email to the complaints dept, but got a stock reply. Is this legal?

    Reply
  • Pierre 3 January, 12:47 pm

    I recently entered into a contract with RMS, Retail Merchant Services, to provide a Card Processing Machine for my business. Later that day I did a little homework, as there was a discrepancy between the prices quoted and those on my contract.

    I did a little homework and found that I’d entered into a “Membership Agreement”. The following day I contacted them and advised that I did not wish to proceed with the contract.

    They are saying that membership agreements are not governed by this legislation, this doesn’t seem to be correct on the basis of the information in the article above.

    Reply
  • Julia Ridsdale 10 January, 10:49 pm

    I had a visit tonight from talk talk representatives claiming to be offering a government lead initiative offering cheaper internet to locals and asked if I had received the paperwork. The deal they were offering was a good 7 pounds cheaper for phone and internet so I ended up signing a contract for 12 months… this was on the understanding I was told that I had a 14 day cooling off period to change my mind. If for example it was cost prohibitive for me to get out of my current providers contracts. I have since looked up talk talks customer satisfaction on the web and think i would prefer to cancel this contract.. I can find nothing on the contract i signed, no other paperwork was offered, as the rep said he had run out as demand was so high! He said paperwork would follow in 3 to 5 days from my current providers and an information pack from themselves. What is the best way out of this as have been reading I only have 7 days cooling off period? The rep specifically told me that if I rang before 7 days the company would have no record of me so it had to be after this? Is this a scam and should I be reporting it elsewhere? Many thanks

    Reply
    • eddie 3 March, 3:13 pm

      sorry about my reply which seems to have gone to malcom best the question below yours

      Reply
  • Malcolm Best 5 February, 11:57 pm

    A guy arrived on the door step “Hi – we are working on the road works down the road and have some spare tar and chips the Gaffer has given me permission to speak to local farms and offer to lay tar and chips at a very low price” He was very persistent and I have no idea why I said OK but I did. He started the work within an hour and persuaded me to sign a very simple form. The price was indicated but I have now established it was massively inflated from standard market prices. He wants cash. The work has been done – I am not happy as it is not what I expected but nothing was written down to say what I was getting (I feel totally stupid!). I have not paid and am trying to negotiate his price down he is intimidating and persistent. What rights do I have under the law?

    Reply
  • eddie 3 March, 3:11 pm

    sorry i dont know the answer to the above question but i do know talk talk have been active in my area,the south side of Glasgow I have a sign on my door which says “no cold callers we do not buy or sell at this door” but did that stop talk talk, of course not you see according to the rep they were not selling they were there to advise me that the local BT exchange was being upraded and i am not even a BT customer EH!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I have since spoken to my neighbours and they were told the same thing. Call me a cynic if you like but this sounds like a way of getting round the doorstep selling regulations .My advice have nothing to do with them.By the way Everest double glazing are operating the same way in this part of Glasgow but there sales pitch is “we are offering a free quote” my advice contact trading standards and if any payment was made by credit card contact your card company and complain they are usually very good

    Reply
  • Nicky Sheehan 10 May, 3:02 pm

    I had a call at the door from someone regarding cavity wall insulation. I allowed him to carry out a survey despite the face that I have a no cold callers sign at the door. He gave me a price and I Signed when he told me I had 28 days to cancel. I want to now cancel but having checked the paperwork he left me it says I only have 7 days to cancel which I have now missed. Can I Still cancel without having to pay them anything? I am very angry that he seems to have lied to me in order to get my business.

    Reply
  • Paula 30 May, 6:48 pm

    Did you ever get this sorted? Im having the same problem with an advertising agency who want to take my £150 deposit as an admin fee to cancel even though I cancelled within the 7 days.

    Can this be legal?

    Reply
  • Nicola Richardson 13 September, 12:41 pm

    A sales person came to my place of work not at my request and spoke with my husband.he was selling advertising space in the 2013 police federation diary for my sandwich bar. The advisor briefly spoke about the alternatives but my husband clearly stated he needed to discuss the proposition to myself his wife and partner. My husband signed a document which he was informed said he was interested and the salesman said he would return the following week to discuss the matter further. A week later we recieved a bill for £400 for a page of advertising. I informed them we had not agreed to this to which they said I have no right to cancel even though I have dispute the sale as we believe the product was mis-sold. I see that advertising is something that may not be covered but what can I do now??? I don’t want this advert or to pay £400 for an advert I don’t want!

    Reply
  • simon 5 March, 8:53 am

    i ordered new guttering from some one who came round my house six weeks ago but now iv changed my mind, can i cancel it, i have not paid a deposit but i did sign a contract even though the piece about the seven day cooling off period is written on the back in small print

    Reply
  • Joyce 17 May, 1:36 pm

    hello,
    Over the phone, I entered into a contract with YPC Your Property Club, paying a £1,000 reservation fee plus £4,000 finder fee, for a property off plan. The fee had to be paid within 7 days for exchange within 21 days and was not refundable. However their terms& conditions stated that there was a 7 day cooling off period after the payment of fees and before exchange. I did have to search extensively through the small print to find it. The solicitors papers revealed information about the property and environment involved which I had not been told about and some information contrary to what I had and decided against investing. I claimed a refund of fees paid within the seven days by e-mail and letter. YPC phoned me to say they would return the £1,000 reservation fee but not the £4,000 finder fee. Am I within my rights to insist on the full amount.?

    Reply
  • Pea 28 June, 7:06 pm

    Hi,
    Does this law apply if you asked a tradesman to come to your house – he quoted by email, then you agreed after seeing the quote by phone. There is nothing in his contract about cancellation rights. Not sure if this still stands because we didn’t agree to the actual work during his actual visit. He couldn’t quote us there and then because he had to go away and work it out. We agreed to the work when we saw his quote on email?

    thanks

    Reply
  • Eamonn 1 October, 12:08 am

    Hi, I recently purchased a kitchen!
    We was told verbally that we had a 14 day cooling period. So we paid the a £1000 deposit. However some events have taken place and we cannot afford the kitchen. I called the company who now say its only 7…(and on the back of the plan which I did not look at it says 7 days). I/we really need this money back as anyone would do. Can you advise if there is anything I can do or quote to get my refund? The order was cancelled within 12 days. We also took finance out with the above order which has 14 days this will be cancelled but no refund. How can company’s give 7 days to cancel order but 14days on finance. Thanks in advance

    Reply
  • MarK Lewis 10 June, 4:52 am

    Hello. Companies that call themselves ‘Business transfer Agents’ rather than estate agents. Are they exempt from the doorstep regs? I remember the salesmen saying they were exempt from offering a cooling off period, but I cannot remember the reason. Thank you

    Reply
  • Mark Harris 27 August, 11:41 pm

    My parents ( they both old n didt understand the jargon ) signed a contract to sell there business with an agent but didn’t realise the amount of costs involed I rang the agent to discuss the matter and was told as its a business sale the contact is binding and they don’t get a cooling off period therefore must pay the set fees , is this correct ?

    Reply