Most traders who call at your door will be honest and genuine – however, there are some who may not be and can seem extremely convincing. Even if they are real salespeople, be aware that some callers will try pressure-selling, or provide over-priced products or poor-quality items. Others may be offering bogus services or claim to be collecting on behalf of bogus charities.
Genuine door-to-door callers should only call between 8am-8pm (with discretion to be applied during hours of darkness) and always present a clear identity card. This should display their name, the company they represent, a photograph of themselves, and an expiry date of the card. The information is to be presented clearly so that it doesn’t require close examination.
Callers know they should identify themselves, the company they represent and the purpose of the call, along with the expected duration of the call. They should also provide a landline telephone number to the company that they are representing. Where there is sheltered housing, nursing homes or residential-care facilities, they should have contacted the warden or other person in authority first.
Good door-to-door salespersons know they can’t engage in any sales or marketing activity with those who are under the legal age for entering into contracts. They will not expect an on-the-spot decision, and should undertake to cease contact with any person who indicates that the contact is inconvenient, unwelcome, inappropriate or too long. If you do sign anything, remember your consumer rights to cancel within a ‘cooling off period’. For more guidance and help on consumer information and you rights visit www.consumerdirect.gov.uk
What precautions should I take?
Do not allow anyone entry unless you have established their identity and that you feel safe to do so. If you have a door chain you should use it. Keep the caller outside when checking their identification.
If necessary, ask for their identity card and then phone the company stated on it to verify the holder. Do not automatically use the number provided by the salesperson, but consider using directory enquiries. Be more wary of callers who refuse to allow you take their identity card to closely examine it.
If you’re unsure, it’s safer to ask someone you trust like a neighbour or family member to be present with you during the visit. Be wary of callers who can’t provide a landline telephone number for the company they represent.
Keep purses, wallets, cheque books and credit cards safe and never keep large amounts of money in your house. If you do pay for something, always ask for a receipt and check the receipt contains only what you have agreed to purchase. It should be clearly attributable to the represented company, contain the details of the sales agent and outline how much you have paid and what you will receive.
If you do not understand something – ask. A genuine caller will be happy to explain
It’s not illegal for traders to sell goods through knocking on doors, and many genuine companies do business this way. The large proportion of salespeople will be courteous, professional and honest. The most important thing is just to be aware and take sensible precautions. If the offer seems too good to be true – it just might be!
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