New protection against door-to-door scamsGovernment unveils plans to tackle rogue traders

08 September 2006

The has stepped up the fight against rogue door-to-door traders by unveiling new protection against dodgy sales tactics.

In the past consumers had different levels of protection depending on whether the visit was a pre-arranged appointment or a cold-calling visit.

If you were cold-called there was a seven day cooling-off period during which you could cancel your contract. But householders who'd pre-arranged visits had no right to cancel the deal.

That distinction will now be removed and all consumers will have the safety net of a seven day cooling-off period when buying goods or services in their home.

Aggressive sales tactics

All contracts will have to have clear cancellation clauses so that consumers are more aware of their rights.The government says it wants to introduce these proposals as soon as possible.

At the same time, separate legislation will crack down on aggressive sales techniques such as refusing to leave a consumer's home until the contract is signed.

It will also ban rogue salespeople from preying on elderly people’s fears in order to sell burglar alarms, or exploiting vulnerable consumers, such as those who have been recently bereaved.

Salespeople will also not be able to falsely claim consumers will get a better deal if they sign up immediately to prevent them buying elsewhere.

If you've been misled by a door step seller, take a look at our guide

Con artists

Consumer Minister Ian McCartney said: ‘The message we are sending today is that dodgy doorstep sellers have no right to target the vulnerable and elderly into buying things they don't need at rip-off prices.

‘We are not talking about the Avon Lady or Betterware agents. We are targeting the con artists who use bully boy tactics.

‘This is why we are introducing new powers to clamp down on unscrupulous con artists preying on the vulnerable and house-bound whilst improving the rights of consumers buying from reputable traders in the home.’