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What is an off-premises sale?

An off-premises sale is where you buy something or sign up to something in a place which is not trade premises, for example in your home or in the street. When you buy in this way, you may have a right to cancel the contract if you change your mind. Examples of things often bought off-premises include:

  • double glazing
  • burglar alarms
  • equipment to help disabled people
  • gardening services
  • repairs to your house (for example roof repairs)
  • gas or electricity supplies
  • items bought from home parties - for example jewellery or clothes.

This page tells you more about when you can cancel your off-premises sales contract.

Top tips

Cold callers

If you want to deter doorstep sellers, you can have a ‘no cold calling’ sticker put near your front door. If a trader ignores this, it could be a criminal offence under the Consumer Protection from Unfair Trading Regulations 2008. If a trader keeps ignoring your sticker you can report them to Trading Standards.

Your right to cancel an off-premises sale

If you buy something in an off-premises sale that costs more than £42, you usually get a period of time to cancel the contract. This is called the cooling-off period.

The trader must give you

  • a cancellation form
  • specific information  about your right to cancel.

The cooling-off period usually lasts for 14 days.

More about when you don't have a right to cancel

What counts as off-premises?

A sale will count as off-premises if it happens away from the trader's business premises. This includes:

  • in your home
  • at your workplace,
  • in the street, for example, when a salesperson approaches and persuades you to buy something or sign up for a service. This counts even if they immediately take you to a business premise to sign the paperwork or send you an email to complete the contract
  • in someone else's home – for example, at a jewellery or underwear party
  • at a sales event or campaign organised by the trader, for example, in a hotel
  • on a trip that aims to sell or  goods or services, for example, when a trader meets you on holiday and invites you to go with them to a different venue to sell you something like time-share.

Telephone sales

If you make an appointment over the phone for someone to call at your home or workplace and then sign up for something when they visit, this is an off-premises sale.

If you buy something over the phone without someone calling at your home or workplace, this is called a distance sale. Distance sales also give you a right to cancel.

More about cancelling a distance sale

Illegal off-premises traders

It is illegal for an off-premises trader to trick or pressurise you into buying or signing up for something. If this happens, report the trader to Trading Standards.

Next steps

Citizens Advice

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