The UK Rules
Doorstep Selling

Door to Door Sales Regulations

Often called cold calling, door to door selling is not illegal in the United Kingdom. Even so, canvassers must follow doorstep selling regulations to avoid penalties and prosecution.

DOORSTEP SELLERS: In fact, doorstep selling is a legitimate method of canvassing business. According to UK law, you can sell door to door.

But, as a salesperson making unsolicited calls, you would need to provide certain information to your customers.

Doorstep selling regulations would apply if you sell goods and services face-to-face to customers at:

Note: Traders must comply with the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. As such, that means following the general rules on accepting returns and giving refunds.

Law on Taking Orders from Doorstep Selling

Under door to door sales laws, before a customer places an order the salesperson must provide them with:

Note: The information must be intelligible and easy for the customer to understand. As a rule, the format must be one that the customer can save for future reference (e.g. a form, on paper, or in an email).

Customers Right to Cancel an Order

The seller must inform the customer of the 'cooling-off' term. The customer may cancel their order up to fourteen (14) calendar days after the conclusion of a contract. There is no requirement for them to give a reason for the cancellation.

Failing to inform the customer about their right to cancel means they may end the order at any time in the forthcoming twelve (12) months. Telling them about their cancellation rights during this 12 month period means they would then get fourteen (14) days to cancel.

Important InformationNot telling a customer their right to cancel can mean an unlimited fine and a prison sentence (up to 2 years).

Costs a Customer Would Not Have to Pay

There can be certain situations when a customer does not have to pay. For example, they would not need to pay for some costs if they do not get informed about them in advance, such as:

After a Customer Places an Order

After an order is placed, the customer would need to know when the contract gets confirmed. They would also need confirmation of previous information they received before placing the order. In most cases, confirmation in paper format would be acceptable.

Once a customer places an order with a door to door salesperson, the seller must also:

Note: As a rule, you would need a certificate to sell goods door to door as a pedlar. A different section explains how to apply for a pedlar's certificate at a police station.

Exceptions to Doorstep Selling Rules

There are some exemptions or exclusions to the Consumer Contracts Regulations 2013. The United Kingdom door to door sales laws do not apply to:

Doorstep Crime Advice

Rogue traders who come knocking on your door uninvited may be trying to commit doorstep crime. Often, they will try to pressure you into signing up for a service or buying something from them.

The general method used by bogus callers is one of intimidation. Often, they will try to sell their goods in a way that is frightening and menacing.

Doorstep Crime Definition

A simple explanation of how doorstep crime works would be traders who knock on your door and then:

How to Avoid Doorstep Selling Scams

In fact, not everyone who sells at the doorstep will commit a crime. But, there are several ways you can stay protected and try to avoid the scams used by doorstep sellers, such as:

Note: You can report the incident to Action Fraud if you have been the victim of bogus tradesmen fraud.

Door to Door Sales Laws in United Kingdom