Did a door-to-door salesperson ask you to refer a friend to get some money back on your purchase? You may have inadvertently cost your friend their consumer protection rights.
While many door-to-door sales companies are legitimate, we’ve been hearing about a troubling trend that’s causing problems for BC consumers.
A worrying trend
If you buy a product or service from a door-to-door sales company, you may be offered a “kickback” or discount as an incentive to refer friend or family member to the business.
What you may not know is that if your friend arranges to meet the salesperson more than 24 hours in advance, they may be waiving the cancellation rights they would have normally been entitled to under the law.
Why it matters
When people agree to buy a product or service from a door to door salesperson, they’re entering into a door-to-door sales contract. These contracts are valued at more than $50 and are entered into at home during an unplanned visit from a salesperson.
Under BC law, you have specific cancellation rights with these types of contracts. We oversee these contracts and help consumers exercise their right to cancel in certain situations.
However, the problem we’re seeing happens when someone invites the salesperson to their home more than 24 hours in advance. When this happens, the transaction may no longer be considered a door-to-door sales contract, essentially blocking the consumer from exercising certain rights.
What rights have been waived?
The cooling off period. Consumers have 10 days to cancel their purchase for any reason. This provides an opportunity for people to change their mind – this is especially important if the sale involved high pressure sales tactics or if there’s a significant amount of money involved.
A down payment limit. With these contracts businesses can’t require a down payment that’s more than $100 or 10% of the total price (whichever is less).
The need to be provided key contract information. By law, these contracts must include specific information (like the terms of payment, the total price, and the date the contract was entered into). This helps to ensure the consumer knows what to expect from the contract and isn’t surprised by the total cost or timeline.
Tips to ensure your rights are protected
- Take your time before making a decision
- Don’t feel pressured to buy something you don’t want or need
- Read reviews about the business before committing to a purchase
- Research other options to see if there’s something more affordable available
- Do your due diligence before referring a friend to a door-to-door sales company
- Read the fine print in your contract
- Make sure you understand the total cost under the financing agreement
- Always ask about the return, refund, and cancellation policies
- Learn more about your rights and responsibilities with door-to-door sales contracts
If you run into any problems with these types of contracts, please submit a complaint online.
Check out our video below to find out what we’ve been hearing from consumers about this issue. We’ll also share some tips to help you avoid problems with these kinds of contracts.
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About Consumer Protection BC
We are responsible for regulating specific industries and certain consumer transactions in British Columbia. If your concern is captured under the laws we enforce, we will use the tools at our disposal to assist you. If we can’t help you directly, we will be happy to provide you with as much information as possible. Depending on your concern, another organization may be the ones to speak to; other times, court or legal assistance may be the best option. Explore our website at www.consumerprotectionbc.ca.