If you sell products and services worth over £42 to a customer at their home you must provide certain information for your customers, including their right to cancel. Failure to provide this information is a criminal offence.

This includes the sale of products and services to customers at:

  • their home
  • their workplace
  • another individual’s home

Before an order is placed

You must follow certain rules before and after an order is placed. You must display information such as:

  • your business name and contact details
  • a description of your goods or services
  • the price, including all taxes
  • how a customer can pay
  • delivery arrangements, costs and how long goods will take to arrive
  • the minimum length of their contract
  • conditions for terminating contracts
  • information about the customer’s right to cancel within 14 days

You must tell the customer if they will be responsible for paying for the return of goods if they cancel. If you don’t, they’re not liable for the costs.

After an order is placed

You must get in touch with your customer in writing after an order is placed and before the goods or services have been delivered.

You must tell them:

  • details of what they have purchased
  • the total cost
  • arrangements for delivery
  • the minimum duration of any contract and arrangements for terminating the contract
  • how and when they can cancel an order and who pays for returning goods
  • an address where complaints can be sent
  • any guarantees or after-sales services you offer
  • conditions for terminating contracts
  • any helpline call charges that are more than calling an 01, 02 or 03 number, or a mobile or free number

Sale of Goods Act

All businesses that supply goods, including online and distance sellers, must follow the rules on selling and supplying goods.

These rules apply whether you visit a customer with or without an appointment, or agree the sales contract verbally or in writing.

Who the rules apply to

The rules apply if you sell goods or services such as:

  • home improvement, extension work, repair and maintenance services
  • gardening services
  • personal items such as cosmetics, clothes, jewellery and toiletries
  • household items
  • books and leisure items
  • nutrition and health products
  • energy supplies (eg gas and electricity)
  • disability aids and mobility products such as stair lifts, scooters and buggies

Exceptions

These rules don’t apply to:

  • financial services eg mortgages, pensions, insurance
  • contracts for the construction of new houses and flats, sale or rental of property (but they do apply to estate agents’ marketing services, extensions, patios, conservatories or driveways and to repairs, refurbishment and improvement of property)
  • contracts for food and drink supplied by regular roundsmen, like a milkman
  • contracts worth £42 or less

Penalties

Failure to inform a customer of their right to cancel is a criminal offence. If convicted the trader and/or their business could be fined up to £5,000.