Why is this important?
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.
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.
- More on how to get a ‘no cold callers sign', at: www.moneysavingexpert.com
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.
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.
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.
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.