Know what to do with door-to-door sales Stay smart and informed when a salesperson comes knocking

I have had several unsolicited visits at my house from door-to-door salespeople. You probably have, too.

I have seen salespeople offering energy contracts, newspapers, alarm systems, and even furnaces. While being interrupted during dinner may be annoying, contracts can have lasting implications.

Some people find it intrusive to have salespeople come to their homes. Others feel being forced to make a decision immediately is intimidating, confusing and overwhelming. Door-to-door sales can present unique challenges when assessing the legitimacy of a business’s operations or product quality.

It’s useful to know some of Alberta’s consumer protection legislation, tips to prevent you from entering into a regrettable contract, and best practices for dealing with unsolicited visits to your home.

According to the Government of Alberta’s pamphlet “Dealing with Door-to-Door Sales”, the Fair Trading Act and the Direct Selling Business Licensing Regulation provide measures to protect consumers. The pamphlet also includes a checklist to help you decide whether making a purchase is in your interest.

Below is an overview of the information:

Licensing

Some companies selling door-to-door are required to have a licence and salespeople must carry identification with the business licence number. While licensing isn’t required for every company, ask the salesperson to show a business licence and contact Service Alberta to confirm the business is licensed.

Contracts

If you decide to make a purchase, always request a signed contract. The contract must include a statement of your cancellation rights, description of the goods and services, dates by which the goods or services must be delivered, and the name of the salesperson.

Cooling-off period

According to Fair Trading Act, you can cancel a contract if the purchase was over $25, if the purchase was made in person, away from the seller’s place of business, and if the product is for personal, family, or household use.

If the salesperson didn’t have the licence, or the contract didn’t contain the required information, you may have up to a year to cancel the contract.

Cancellation

You can cancel a contract several ways, but you must prove the cancellation date. Keep copies and records of how and when you cancelled the contract in case there is a dispute.

Edmonton Police Service’s webpage “When a Stranger Comes Knocking” includes these tips:

  • You do not have to open the door to anyone. Ask for identification before opening the door. A wide angle door viewer allows you to see people without opening your door.
  • Address the person to let them know someone is home. Otherwise, they could see it as an opportunity to break into an empty house. If possible, speak to them through the door. Ask what they want. If they need help, you can place a call without letting them into your home.
  • Report suspicious visits by calling 780.423.4567 or #377 from a cell phone in the Edmonton area. Record or remember as many details as possible.

Remember, if it is too good to be true, it probably is. You never have to give your personal information to someone at your door. You never have to let a salesperson into your home and can insist they leave. If you are interested in what is being sold, ask for details and offer to contact them after you have done research. Do not feel pressured to make a decision.

Header Image: It’s important to know your rights before signing a contract. Credit: Pixabay


Learn more

edmontonpolice.ca

search “stranger knocking”

servicealberta.ca

search “door to door”

Nicole Malenczak

Nicole lives in Alberta Ave with her husband, dog and chinchilla. She is a former board member of Edmonton Youth Justice Committee Society.

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