Door to door sales

What is a doorstep sale?

A doorstep sale is when you buy something or sign up to something in your home, someone else’s home or where you work. Usually these types of calls are from salespeople representing a business like a gas or electricity company or they may be a tradesperson offering you services such as housekeeping or gardening.

What are my rights if I buy or sign up to something on my doorstep?

You have the same rights when you buy something at the door as you do when you buy in a shop. What you buy must be:

  • Of merchantable quality – it must be of a reasonable and acceptable standard.
  • Fit for the purpose intended – it must be capable of being used for its purpose, for example, a kettle should be able to boil water.
  • As described – it must match the description given verbally or in an advertisement. False or exaggerated claims must not be made by the business.

Generally with any service, you have the right to expect that:

  • The service you ordered is provided with proper care and attention.
  • The business providing it has the appropriate skills to do the job.
  • Any materials they use in the work are sound and fit for their purpose.
  • Any goods they supply to you as part of the service should be of acceptable quality too.

If something you bought is faulty, you have a right to a refund, repair or replacement.

What information should I be given?

As well as these consumer rights, you also have some other rights when you buy something at the door. If a salesperson representing a business calls to your home (or workplace) uninvited, and if the goods you buy cost €50 or more, then you must be given a written cancellation form and a cancellation notice. In most cases you have the right to cancel the contract within 14 days. This is known as the cooling-off period. There are some exceptions when the cooling off period does not apply. For example, if you want the service to begin immediately you give up your right to the cooling off period.

The cancellation notice must:

  • Be clear and easy to read, and not hidden away in small print.
  • Include the name of the business.
  • Give the name and address of a person that the cancellation form should be sent to.
  • Give a reference number or other details that makes the contract or offer easily identifiable.
  • Indicate that you have the right to cancel the contract, and that you can do so by delivering or sending a written cancellation form to the person named within 14 days of agreeing to the contract.
  • State the date that the notice was given to you.

 

What should I watch out for before if I buy or sign up to something on my doorstep?

Ask for identification

This should include their name and the name of the company they are representing.

Make sure you are satisfied that the sales person is who they say they are. Many reputable businesses sell door to door but there is also the chance that the caller is bogustrying to defraud or steal from you.

If you are not happy they are from the company they claim to be from check by ringing the company using a number you look up yourself – don’t use a number they give you.

If you feel threatened or think the caller is not genuine you should immediately report them to the Gardaí.

Tradespeople offering their services may not have identification. Ask family or neighbours for recommendations, check online discussion boards and look at our information on tradespeople.

Take your time

Salespeople may urge you to sign up now with one-day only offers or offering you a special discount if you sign up immediately.

Don’t be pressurised into making a decision unless you’re absolutely sure and if you feel pressurised ask the salesperson to leave.

Make sure that the offer is good value for you and suits your needs. Shop around for similar products or services to see if you are getting the best deal available.

If you’re not sure if you want to sign up to a service, ask for some written material you can read later and don’t sign anything until you have had time to read over the offer and understand it.

Make sure you are aware of the total cost to you, the length of any contract you are signing and the other terms and conditions of the contract.

Get the offer in writing

Remember – if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.

Compare any new offers with your current service, and fully understand the new offer, including any restrictions. Ask for a copy of the offer or a brochure so you can review the details properly.

If you buy something or sign up to a contract, get a receipt or a copy of the contract and keep it safe.

If you are getting work done in your home, get a written quote detailing the work to be done and how much it will cost. Avoid paying for the service until the work has been completed and you are happy with it.

If you feel that you were misled about the product or service afterwards, it is easier to follow up a complaint if you have written documentation.

Know how to cancel the contract

Don’t agree to buy or sign up until you are satisfied about how and when you can cancel.

The salesperson should treat you fairly and give you the full and correct information about the product or service being sold. They should not harass you or make you feel under any pressure to buy.

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